Category Archives: entertainment

Introducing new student intern reporter, country music artist Brittnee Lee Introducing new student intern reporter, country music artist Brittnee Lee

Popular, up-and-coming, local country music singer/song-writer “Brittnee Lee” Edmonds, a University of North Texas journalism student from Royse City, is now a reporter and summer intern for TheRockwallNews.com.

Having performed with and personally acquainted with such nationally-known musical artists as Bryan White, Ty Herndon, Paul Eason, Josh Gracin, Jolie Holliday and Star de Azlan, Lee will use her contacts and knowledge of the local and national entertainment scene to add a variety of entertainment stories not published anywhere else.

“Brittnee Lee” performs solo with her guitar plus with backup bands regularly at public and private events across the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, at such venues as Billy Bob’s, Poor David’s Pub and Lone Star Park.

Her next scheduled public performance is this Thursday, June 3, at the Big D Opry at Gilley’s Dance Hall in Dallas, where she has already performed several times.

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Congrats to teenage ventriloquist Laryssa Bonacquisti for winning $1,000 talent show prize

Congratulations to teenage ventriloquist Laryssa Bonacquisti who won the $1,000 first prize at the “Rockwall’s Got Talent” show last Saturday night at Utley Middle School, sponsored by the Rockwall Community Playhouse .

Laryssa won the prize, donated by Rockwall Coldwell Banker realtor Vicky Chesna, for the performance with her two puppets, Lucky and Lucy.

Congratulations, as well, to second place winner Cole Ragsdale, who won $500 donated by Heath Hair Day Spa owner Juana French for singing “Bring Him Home,” accompanied by Josh Miller.

One more kudo for the third place winner Dennis Guillon for his song, “This is the Moment.” He won $250 donated by Community National Bank.

“Rockwall’s Got Talent” show semi-finals, finals tonight, tomorrow

The Rockwall Community Playhouse will present over 30 talented singers, musicians and more at their production of “Rockwall’s Got Talent,” tonight and tomorrow night at 7 pm at Utley Middle School, next to the RISD football stadium.

The grand prize winner will receive $1,000. Second place will receive $500 and third, $250.

Tickets are just $10 each and everyone admitted will be able to vote for their favorite entertainer, according to a spokeman for the Playhouse.

The event is a fundraiser to help RCP build a larger theatre to accommodate more people out near the Rockwall airport.

Lakeside Civic Chorus event raises funds for upcoming Christmas concert

Lakeside Civic Chorus recently sponsored “An Evening of Wine and Song,” which included a silent auction to raise funds  for their Christmas Blessings Concert, Dec. 6, 4:30 pm, at Rockwall’s First Christian Church, 3375 Ridge Rd.

Vocal entertainment was provided by LCC members Shelba Gorham- Bell, Isiak Holiday, Jennifer Sanchez and James Williams, according to a press release from publicist Nancy Beaty. Artistic Director David Bush and accompanist Ken Frerichs accompanied several singers.

Hunter Hammett, sommelier from the Fairmont Pyramid Room Restaurant, paired wine with the country of the songs that were sung and offered his expert knowledge on each of his choices, she said.

Concert tickets may be purchased at the door for Adults $12, Seniors $10, Students-Free.

Beaty wrote that funds raised from the concert will benefit the Marilyn Miller Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides a $1,000 gift to a high school senior in the Lake Ray Hubbard area who plans to pursue a college degree in music. The 2009 Winner was Trevor St. John-Gilbert.

Th non-profit organization was founded in 1984, and the chorus’ success is directly dependent on audience and sponsor support, wrote Beaty.

For info, visit Lakeside Civic Chorus.org.

Over 8,000 fans jam Rockwall Cinemark to see New Moon

Over 8,000 crazy fans jammed into the Cinemark movie theatre in Rockwall this past weekend to see the supernatural heartthrob thriller The Twilight Series: New Moon, helping it shatter box-office attendance records nationwide.

Long lines began forming as early as 5 pm Thursday for the opening Midnight performance, starring Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen and Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen, according to Cinemark Theatres management.

Our daughter-in-law from Forney went to the Thursday Midnight showing and did not return home until about 3:30 am, I’m told.

The film, which is the sequel to Twilight and the second in a series based upon the four novels by Stephenie Meyer, smashed opening day and two day movie records nationwide.

Wish I would have thought to have someone take some photos!

For more details, see the story at TheRockwallNews.com.

Million-dollar boat docks at The Harbor a bad idea during tough economic times

I’ve heard a lot of talk around town between people questioning the Rockwall City Council’s decision Oct. 19 to invest nearly $1 million dollars into increasing the number of boat docks at The Harbor from the current nine to 35-40.

Construction is expected to be completed during the summer of 2010.

While I’ll admit that I haven’t taken the time to closely review the budget – which I’m about to do – I have to add my voice to those who think a million dollars for more boat docks is a bad idea right now, particularly during this time of economic hardship for so many families and organizations.

I’m personally disappointed with the Rockwall City Council for approving such a measure.

For example, the Rockwall Boys & Girls Club desperately needs $50,000 immediately to just keep its doors open. If the City Council really wants to invest where it’s needed, how about paying that amount and more to put the non-profit organization on better economic footing? Since opening here a couple of years ago, nearly 200 children daily now attend the Club after school. If the Club closes, where will these children go?

National crime statistics show the majority of juvenile crime is committed after school, when many parents are working. The Boys & Girls Club helps prevent crime by offering children a safe place after school to hang out with friends, do their homework, learn about a variety of things, plus develop their talents and interests – with the help of volunteer mentors. 

The Club even holds pizza parties and stays open late Fridays until 10 pm, so parents can go out on a date once in a while. That’s good for marriages and might just help prevent some divorces.

Another organization which needs funding is the Women In Need women’s shelter office in Rockwall. An average of five women a day – local domestic violence victims – seek counseling and assistance from WIN’s office in the Helping Hands medical facility. But WIN, based in Greenville, is paying about $50,000 per year to staff and operate it – including paying $500 per month for rent there.

No Rockwall funds are currently used to operate the office, from what I understand from WIN’s Executive Director Roger Robertson. And WIN generates most of its income by operating three resale shops in Greenville.

So Rockwall only has an office for domestic violence victims, thanks to the people who purchase items from Hunt Co. resale shops. That’s crazy! Rockwall can definitely afford to pay for an office to help abuse victims.

And then there’s always Helping Hands, the city’s and county’s designated agency for helping those in need. The food pantry is bare right now. How about taking at least a few thousand dollars to pay for some more food for city residents who are out of work or ill?

Yes, The Harbor probably does need more boat docks, so more boaters can party there during Summer concerts, and so more boaters can eat at restaurants there.

And I probably need to better understand what the City can and can’t do with tax dollars.

But I just think there are many better places to invest Rockwall’s tax dollars right now.

What do you think?

Local teen band semi-finalist in national battle-of-the-bands contest

A local teen band was recently selected as a semi-finalist in a national battle-of-the-bands competition sponsored by NAMM, the trade association of the international music products industry.

Jaci and Those Guys, composed of teens from the Rowlett, Royse City and Fate, was selected to move on to the semi-finals of the SchoolJam USA teen competition.

Jaci and Those Guys will be included in the online voting portion of the competition, which began Nov. 1, 2009 and ends Dec. 5, at www.schooljamusa.com.

The general public is encouraged to visit the site and vote for their favorite band. The top two bands in five designated regions that receive the most votes will be announced Dec. 19, and will be invited to the live SchoolJam USA battle of the bands finals held at the NAMM Show Jan. 16 in Anaheim, CA.

The winning band will receive $750 toward new musical equipment and could win a trip to perform at the SchoolJam Germany live finals in Frankfurt, Germany, at the MusikMesse trade fair.

The top band’s school music program will also receive $5,000 toward new musical equipment purchased at their local NAMM Member retailer of choice. The competition is sponsored with the help of MENC, the national association for music education; the Music Education National Conference; Music For All; the John Lennon Educational Bus; SchoolJam and InTune Monthly magazine.

Jaci and Those Guys consists of lead vocalist, Jaci Butler, a 13-year-old Rowlett teen; lead guitarist Matt Venhaus,  bass player Jason Savage, rhythm guitarist Chad Ragsdale and drummer Trevor Quiett, all 16-17 years old from Royse City and Fate.

The band has received local and national attention as they have performed throughout the Dallas Area.  Recent accomplishments include winning two local battle of the band competitions, playing at the House of Blues, and taking 2nd place in the nation in the slurpee.com BOTB contest sponsored by the 7-Eleven Corporation.  

They have also performed at such benefits such as Local Euphoria to help raise money and awareness for cystic-fibrosis, the Rowlett Relay for Life to raise money for the National Cancer Society, and the Living for Zachary Benefit in Plano, to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest in teens.  

To learn more about the band and hear their music, visit www.myspace.com/jacibutler.  

From this site you can go to the SchoolJam USA box, and click on “VOTE FOR US” to go directly to www.schooljam.com to vote.