Elizabethton residents to learn about the ‘Thrill of Hope’ Thursday

For this month’s Artist Spotlight series at the Bonnie Kate Theater, local artists Tony Marr and Steven James will arrive Thursday evening to give viewers the “Thrill of Hope,” telling the story of one of the most well-known Christmas carols in history.

Tom and Karen Hitchcock with Blue River Studios said they have been hosting artists like Marr and James since May.

“I have tapped many talented musicians,” Tom Hitchcock said. “We are trying to get interest in the theater.”

Marr said he has been doing professional story-telling for a while, and the joy of telling these stories to people never gets old.

“I love stories,” Marr said. “I want people to discover their own stories.”

Marr described a “Thrill of Hope” as a variety show, because even with the main storyline surrounding “O Holy Night,” several other layers come into focus, including a telling of the Nativity story and a few comedy bits sprinkled throughout.

Marr, a resident of the tri-cities region for the last 15 years, said he loves his work.

“Stories are the greatest resources we have,” he said.

Marr has performed story-telling activities all over the region, including a Veterans celebration a few months ago. Most recently, he put out a new story-telling album for fans to purchase.

“The message behind our program is, wherever people are in the holiday season, you will leave with a sense of hope for life,” he said.

This month’s event, Hitchcock said, is important because it will most likely be their last for a while, saying a lack of turn-out for this and other Bonnie Kate events is part of the decision.

“We are just trying to get artists out here,” Hitchcock said.

He said people in the community often do not know what is happening at the Bonnie Kate, even despite recent community outreach for the past several months.

“They still do not know what is going on there,” he said.

In the meantime, Blue River Studios is encouraging as many people to attend Thursday as they can, so the community can witness their local talent in action.

“The story is really phenomenal,” Marr said. “We get to see the impact this song has had all over the world.”

The Thrill of Hope will take place Thursday, Dec. 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bonnie Kate Theater, located at 115 South Sycamore St. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Beverages from the Riverside Taphouse will be there, though participants will need to bring their own food.

For more information, contact either Blue River Studios or the theater.

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