Kathy Turner-Jeffries, longtime NPT Master Control Operator (1953-2014)

Kathy Turner-Jeffries, left, with her Pastor, The Reverend Dr. Judy D. Cummings, for the New Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Nashville, TN.

Kathy Turner-Jeffries, who worked as a master control operator at NPT for 37 years, died earlier this week at the age of 60.  She was a "sunshine in the cave" as one NPT employee phrased it, a bastion of optimism and brightness in an area of the building most would consider cave-like.  Anyone who's ever volunteered for our pledge drives as a phone bank operator or on-air talent would have likely met her coming out of master control, and certainly would have heard her assured voice telling us it was "ten" or "five minutes to the break."

"Television is often a chaotic business where lots of things can go wrong at any second and tempers often flare," said Beth Curley, NPT president and CEO. "But not Kathy’s. She was the calm in the storm and her peace was infectious. And she kept us calm too."

Kathy will be greatly missed. But we are fortunate that we have so many fine memories and stories that will help us through our daily grief.

You can read Kathy's full obit in the Tennessean.

 

 

`The Trials of Muhammad Ali` Screens February 19 at Community Cinema in Studio A.

The Trials of Muhammad Ali

Community Cinema in Studio A, presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and Nashville Public Television (NPT), with presenting partner Nashville Film Festival (NaFF), offers an advance screening of The Trials of Muhammad Ali on Wednesday, February 19 at 11:30 a.m. at the NPT Arts Center. The film, by Academy Award-nominated director Bill Siegel (“The Weather Underground”) explores the extraordinary and complex life of the legendary athlete outside the boxing ring. From joining the controversial Nation of Islam and changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, from his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War in the name of protesting racial inequality to his global humanitarian work, Muhammad Ali remains an inspiring and influential figure. Outspoken and passionate in his beliefs, Ali found himself in the crosshairs of conflicts concerning race, religion, and wartime dissent. The Trials of Muhammad Ali premieres on “Independent Lens” on Monday, April 14, 2014, 9:00-11:30 PM CT on NPT and PBS stations nationwide. (check local listings.)

WHAT: FREE preview screening of The Trials of Muhammad Ali, with complimentary lunch. This will be the theatrical version, which runs 94 minutes and includes a few extra scenes not in the broadcast version.

WHO: Presenters: ITVS Community Cinema, Nashville Public Television (NPT), Nashville Film Festival (NaFF)

WHEN: Wednesday, February 19 at 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: NPT Arts Center Studio A, 161 Rains Ave. Nashville, TN 37203

RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-cinema-in-studio-a-tickets-9398510197.

For more information, visit: http://www.nptinternal.org/mediaupdate/2013/11/18/communitycinemastudioa/

About the Filmmaker
Bill Siegel (Director) has more than 20 years of experience in documentary filmmaking and education. He co-directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Weather Underground; was a researcher on the films Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story and Hoop Dreams; and a writer on One Love, a documentary on the cultural history of basketball by Leon Gast (When We Were Kings). Siegel is Vice President of School Programs for the Great Books Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to literacy and lifelong learning.

Trailer:

The Real Countess of Downton Abbey: Whether You Live in a Castle or House, It`s All About Community

article-1374866-0B8B0CC300000578-962_634x428

Photo: Matthew Lloyd, Getty Images.

Lady Carnarvon, the Countess of Highclere Castle, the setting for Downton Abbey, was in Nashville this week to provide the keynote address at the 24th Antiques & Garden Show, this year held at the Music City Center.   In addition to her duties at the castle and numerous philanthropic projects, she’s the author of two books, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle, and Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey.

Lady Carnavon had a busy week,  with press conferences, keynotes and book signings, but en route to an invitation-only high tea, after delivering her keynote at the MCC to more than a thousand people, greeting many of them and signing books,  she had a few minutes to chat with us at NPT Media Update about the role of women at Highclere/Downton, philanthropy, the role of community and just how much she knows before each episode.

Lady-C-low-res-196x300On the difference between Lady Almina and Lady Catherine:

“I think Almina and Catherine are two very different women, certainly enough, and Almina IS inspiring,” says Lady Carnarvon. “She was well ahead of her time.  She had the money, and because of that, was in some ways more independent than her successor. She could do what she wanted. So they were very different and have different stories to tell about the positions of women and what we can and cannot achieve.”

On what people can learn from her experience:

“It’s all about people in life isn’t it,” she says, when asked what people who do not live in and maintain a castle — which is all of us — can learn from her  experience.  “It’s about getting on with people.  People find their own role, I suppose, and what’s important is having a job you enjoy and being part of the community and creating a community, which is how I like to  live. Family is very important to me. I have five sisters  and we’re all very close together and that’s what’ s important.  Whether you’re in a castle or a house doesn’t really matter. It helps you. When you feel down or get depressed, if you’ve got people around with whom you work and who support you then you can get better.  People help you get through the challenges of life. And I hope that’s how we live at Highclere.”

On how much she knows about the plot of Downton Abbey:

“I usually see some of it being shot,” she says. “The main thing is a try not to talk about it. Otherwise I get muddled about what’s been on in the UK or the U.S.  (Regarding Matthew’s death) we were discussing which trees to take out along the road where Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) runs his car off, so you do know about it, because we have to be involved. We see the scripts as they go because they have to tell us what they want to do.

“I think we try never to be leaky, and never to talk  about it, which hopefully safeguards the plots, which are so incredibly important and valuable and allow Downton to roll on. And allows us to carry on with our lives. We’ve got our own things to talk about.”

On Philanthropy:

“Everything we’ve done for the last ten years, we’ve always tried to share our home and our fortune with charity. It’s just a part of it, rather than some new departure. The more you give out, the more you contribute. It’s a good way to live. In some ways, it well predates Downton, and is a fantastically positive way to market it.”

The Nashville Antiques & Garden Show runs through Sunday, February 9, at the Music City Center.

Downton Abbey,  season 4, episode 6 airs this Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. CST.

Behind the Scenes at Emmy-winning ArtQuest: Artist Jairo Prado`s Mosaics

ArtQuest: Art is All Around You, fresh off winning a Midsouth Regional Emmy Award for best children’s program, is working on its next season. Producer Linda Wei gave us these photos from a shoot with local artist Jairo Prado focusing on mosaics.

From Linda:

“This past Saturday, we visited artist Jairo Prado in his studio so he could talk to us about mosaics — Migration at Casa Azafran in particular. The third image is one of my favorites. It’s a map of the mosaic Interlude which he created for Music City Center.”

2014-02-01 10.03.22

2014-02-01 10.04.10

2014-02-01 10.05.46

2014-02-01 10.04.48

2014-02-01 11.12.10-2

NPT Videographer Matt Emigh, Jairo Prado and ArtQuest co-host Dajiah Platt.

2014-02-01 11.45.36

2014-02-01 11.48.27

2014-02-01 11.48.40

2014-02-01 12.29.02

2014-02-01 12.31.08

2014-02-01 12.31.54

 

 

NPT Productions `ArtQuest` and `Looking Over Jordan` Grab 2014 Midsouth Emmy Awards

emmy

NPT Productions, ArtQuest: Art is All Around You and Looking Over Jordan: African Americans and the War, picked up Emmys on Saturday night when the Midsouth Regional Awards were announced at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

ArtQuest: Art Is All Around You won for best Children’s Program, with statuettes going to producer and writer Linda Wei and editor Matthew Emigh from NPT, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts’ Samantha Andrews and Anne Henderson and co-host Dajiah Platt.

Looking Over Jordan: African Americans and the War was tops in the historical/cultural program category, with awards going to NPT producer and editor Ed Jones, NPT associate producer LaTonya Turner, NPT composers Joey Hodge and Joe DelMerico, and associate producer Clarence Ball.

Additionally. Joe Elmore, host of Tennessee Crossroads, was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences prestigious Midsouth Silver Circle. The Silver Circle Award is given to an individual who began his or her television careers at least 25 years ago, either in a performing, creative, technical, or administrative role within the industry, or in a peripheral area directly related to television, such as commercial production, journalism, or education, etc. Candidates must also have made a significant contribution to the community and to Midsouth television and for a least part of their 25-year career. Congratulations, Joe!

NPT productions went into the awards with 10 nominations.

ArtQuest: Art Is All Around You, produced by Nashville Public Television in collaboration with educators from the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, is a series of short broadcast segments focusing on developing children’s creativity and fostering a love for the visual arts through an interdisciplinary approach. Titled after the Frist Center’s interactive learning gallery for children of all ages, the segments are geared toward viewers ages 7-9 and will air on NPT between 4-6 p.m. around the popular children’s programs “Arthur,” “WordGirl,” “Wild Kratts” and “The Electric Company.” You can watch all the series segments at the ArtQuest website or by visiting the NPT Arts Youtube Channel.

Through in-depth interviews with Civil War scholars, historical reenactments, and moving songs of faith and hope that made life bearable,  Looking Over Jordan: African American and the War highlights the African American experience in Tennessee during and after the war. The Civil War began as a means of preserving the Union. But to nearly four million African Americans, it held a much more personal promise.  As Northern armies swept south, self-emancipated slaves sought refuge behind Union lines.  Determined to claim basic human rights, former slaves turned soldiers helped defeat their oppressors.  But the road to freedom would be a rocky one.  Despite continued oppression and violence, African Americans worked tirelessly to rebuild families torn apart by slavery, to educate themselves, and to claim their rightful place as American Citizens. Looking Over Jordan: African American and the War is part of the Tennessee Civil War 150 series, a collaboration between NPT and the Renaissance Center.  Learn more, and watch all the docs in the series at wnpt.org/civilwar.

For a full list of winners please visit the NATAS-Nashville Chapter website at http://emmynashville.org/.

From left. Nominees and winners at the 2014 Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards: Linda Wei, Daijah Platt, Matt Emigh, LaTonya Turner, Joe Elmore, Beth Curely, Joe Delmerico, Clarence Ball, Joey Hodge, Suzy Hence and Greta Requierme.

From left. Nominees and winners at the 2014 Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards: Linda Wei, Daijah Platt, Matt Emigh, LaTonya Turner, Joe Elmore, Beth Curely, Joe Delmerico, Clarence Ball, Joey Hodge, Suzy Hence and Greta Requierme.

 

New Ken Burns Film on Country Music Scheduled for 2018

ken_burns_longKen Burns and his longtime producing partner and writer Dayton Duncan have been spending a lot of time in Nashville lately. Burns even presented at the 2013 Americana Honors and Awards show. Now it’s official as to why. News today from the Television Critics Association Winter Tour in Pasadena that Burns will deliver to PBS stations in 2018 a new documentary on country music. From the release, Country Music “will chronicle the history of a uniquely American art form, rising from the experiences of remarkable people in distinctive regions of our nation. From southern Appalachia’s songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith to the rollicking western swing of Texas, from California honky tonks to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, the series will follow the evolution of country music over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music.”

Full release below.

PASADENA, CA; JANUARY 20, 2014 – PBS today announced at the Television Critics Association a new addition to the Ken Burns pipeline, COUNTRY MUSIC. The film will air in 2018. Later in the day, Burns will preview a clip from the film at a panel discussion focusing on several of his films, including THE ADDRESS, THE ROOSEVELTS, JACKIE ROBINSON and VIETNAM.

Directed and produced by Burns, and written and produced by Burns’s longtime producing partner Dayton Duncan, COUNTRY MUSIC will chronicle the history of a uniquely American art form, rising from the experiences of remarkable people in distinctive regions of our nation. From southern Appalachia’s songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith to the rollicking western swing of Texas, from California honky tonks to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, the series will follow the evolution of country music over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music.

“For over a century, country music has been a pivotal force in American culture, expressing the hopes, joys, fears and hardships of everyday people in songs lyrical, poignant and honest,” said PBS President Paula A. Kerger. “It is fitting that we have two of America’s master storytellers, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, tell the story on film of an art form that for generations has told America’s story in song.”

COUNTRY MUSIC will be a multi-episode series, exploring the question “What is country music?” while focusing on the biographies of the fascinating singers and songwriters who created it — from the Carter family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more — as well as the times in which they lived. Like the music itself, COUNTRY MUSIC will tell unforgettable stories — stories of the hardships and joys shared by everyday people.

The series will trace the origins of country music in minstrel music, ballads, hymns and the blues and chronicle its early years when it was called “hillbilly music,” played across the airwaves on radio station “barn dances.” It will explore how the Hollywood B movies instituted the fad of “singing cowboys” like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, and how the rise of “juke joints” after World War II changed the musical style by bringing electric guitars and pedal steel guitars to the forefront.

COUNTRY MUSIC will follow the rise of bluegrass music with Bill Monroe and note how one of country music’s offspring — rockabilly — mutated into rock and roll in Memphis. It will show how Nashville slowly became not just the mecca of country music, but “Music City USA.” All the while, it will highlight the constant tug of war between the desire to make country music as mainstream as possible and the periodic reflexes to take it back to its roots.

Burns and Duncan are the Emmy-award winning creators of PBS’ most-acclaimed and most-watched documentaries for more than a quarter century, including The Civil War, Lewis & Clark, Baseball, Jazz, The War, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and many more.

COUNTRY MUSIC is a production of Florentine Films and WETA Washington, DC, and is directed by Ken Burns. Funding for COUNTRY MUSIC is provided by Bank of America; the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation; Public Broadcasting Service; Corporation for Public Broadcasting and members of the Better Angels Society.

 

Watch `Downton Abbey` Like You`re Watching `Antiques Roadshow`

A pair of Staffordshire spaniels as an example of the various antiques spotted on “Downton Abbey.” This pair is currently at GasLamp Antiques in Nashville. (Karen Parr-Moody/Clarksvillenow.com)

A pair of Staffordshire spaniels as an example of the various antiques spotted on “Downton Abbey.” This pair is currently at GasLamp Antiques in Nashville. (Karen Parr-Moody/Clarksvillenow.com)

 

Karen Parr-Moody does not watch Downton Abbey like the rest of us. While she’s likely not immune to saying, “Oh, Edith” several times an episode, and reveling in the evilness that is Thomas, she’s more likely to say, “Oh, look at those teacups!”

The Nashville-based writer and former New York fashion reporter is also a collector of Victorian antiques. So while we’re wondering why Robert can’t dress himself, she’s wondering where the Crawleys picked up those Staffordshire pottery spaniels. She’s gathered some of her observations, and provided some historical context and shopping tips, in an excellent post for ClarksvilleNow titled, “Downton Abbey” is a visual scavenger hunt.” Click over and give it a read, and let her and us know what you find next time you’re watching.

Join Us January 19 in the Studio for an NPT Community Town Hall on Education

communitytownhallThere has been a lot of talk and media attention about how to address the high school dropout crisis in America. As a member of the Nashville community, we think you probably have something to say.

In partnership with the American Graduate initiative, Nashville Public Television is hosting a televised Teacher Town Hall on Sunday, January 19 at our studios in Nashville by the Nashville State Fairgrounds. The Town Hall will focus on factors that impact high school graduation rates. We want to capture your perspective and amplify your voice as a teacher, a parent, a grandparent, a student and a stakeholder. What do you want the community to know about your thoughts on how to raise our graduation rates?

We’re trying to generate understanding and engage the broader community in conversation and action around this important set of issues. We also encourage you to share this invitation with your colleagues and neighbors and encourage their participation.

Please join us by RSVPing now.

American Graduate Community Town Hall on Education

Luncheon Reception and Television Taping

Town Hall moderated by LaTonya Turner

Sunday, January 19th, 2014
1:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.

1:00 P.M. – 1:30 P.M Registration
1:00 P.M. – 1:45 P.M. Luncheon Reception
2:00 P.M. Television Taping

Nashville Public Television
161 Rains Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203

RSVP with Eventbrite

Please arrive promptly at 1:00 pm to enjoy a lunch reception and studio event! Seating will not be available after we start taping. Additional details will be available after you have registered.

Participation is limited to 100 and we expect the Town Hall will fill quickly, so please reserve your space immediately.

Great NPT Docs from 2013 You Might`ve Missed (That You Can Watch Online Now)

header_docs

It was a great year for public affairs and history documentaries at Nashville Public Television. We brought you two new installments in our Tennessee Civil War 150 series, the first installment in our new NPT Reports: Aging Matters series, as well as new American Graduate and Children’s Health Crisis episodes. We even gave you a new cultural documentary, as we walked you through the Bruce Munro exhibit at Cheekwood. Many of these that premiered in the eligible period have been nominated for regional Emmys. And these productions were in addition to Town Hall specials, new episodes of our weekly series Tennessee Crossroads, Volunteer Gardener and A Word and Words and so much more. If you missed some of these documentary specials, we’re happy to inform you that they’re all online, right now, for you to watch for free. So end the year, and start the new one, informed and inspired, with some great NPT produced documentaries, made possible by, and for, you.

Happy New Year!

Looking Over Jordan: African Americans and the War (Emmy nominated)
The Civil War began as a means of preserving the Union. But to nearly four million African Americans, it held a much more personal promise. As Northern armies swept south, self-emancipated slaves sought refuge behind Union lines. Determined to claim basic human rights, former slaves turned soldiers helped defeat their oppressors. But the road to freedom would be a rocky one. Despite continued oppression and violence, African Americans worked tirelessly to rebuild families torn apart by slavery, to educate themselves, and to claim their rightful place as American Citizens. Through in-depth interviews with Civil War scholars, historical reenactments, and moving songs of faith and hope that made life bearable, “Looking Over Jordan” highlights the African American experience in Tennessee during and after the war.

Rivers and Rails: Daggers of the Civil War (Emmy nominated)
As Charles Dickens might have described it, rivers and rails brought the best of times and the worst of times to 19th century Tennessee. “Rivers and Rails: Daggers of the Civil War,” the latest episode in the “Tennessee Civil War 150” series, a joint venture between Nashville Public Television (NPT) and The Renaissance Center, explores how transportation by water and steel brought great prosperity to the state just before the Civil War, only to give the invading Union Army a highway directly into the Deep South, eventually helping force the Confederacy to its knees.

“Rivers and Rails: Daggers of the Civil War,” co-produced by the Emmy Award-winning team of Stephen Hall and Ken Tucker of The Renaissance Center, is the seventh episode in the “Tennessee Civil War 150” series, a multi-part project coinciding with the Sesquicentennial anniversary of the Civil War. Previous installments include “Secession,” “Civil War Songs and Stories,” “No Going Back: Women and the War” and “Shiloh: The Devil’s Own Day” and “No Looking Back: African American and the War.” All have either won or been nominated for regional Emmy Awards.

Aging Matters: End of Life
Most Americans say they prefer to die at home. However, 70% of deaths occur in a hospital, nursing home or long term care facility. “NPT Reports: Aging Matters: End of Life” weaves personal stories of families alongside interviews with scholars, doctors, and medical ethicists to explore the complicated experience of dying, and why so few live the death they say they want. Produced and presented by Nashville Public Television (NPT), the program explores how the culture of death and dying in America has been radically transformed by medical science, how the medical system reinforces our culture-wide unwillingness to face death, as well as efforts to change how Americans understand and talk about dying. Among the topics addressed in “Aging Matters” are the roles of advance directives, palliative care and hospice in an end-of-life strategy. Kathy Mattea, the Grammy® and CMA® Award-winning singer-songwriter and advocate for a number of causes, including AIDS awareness and research, global warming and Appalachian mining practices, hosts the show.

American Graduate: Graduation by the Numbers
Take an in-depth look at efforts in Nashville to keep students in school until they graduate in “NPT Reports: Graduation by the Numbers,” part of the national “American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen” initiative. In Nashville Public Schools in 2012, one in 11 students dropped out — 8.8 percent — which is almost four times the previous year’s dropout rate. But a student counted as a dropout is not necessarily someone who does not graduate. The result is that the graduation rate can go up—even as the rate of dropouts goes up.The NPT report, produced and narrated by LaTonya Turner, looks at why the numbers for graduates and those for dropouts often don’t add up.

NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis: Family Health (Emmy nominated)
“NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis – Family Health” explores the role families play in the health of Tennessee’s children. Family Health acknowledges that changes in family structure over the last fifty years have changed the roles many parents play. Focusing on early childhood, Family Health shares stories of non-traditional families overcoming challenges and demonstrates the importance of parents in child development. More children than ever are living with a single parent. With fathers statistically the most likely to be absent from their child’s life, increasing the involvement of fathers may lead to improvement in the overall well-being of Tennessee’s children. NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis – Family Health is the eighth program in the series.

NPT Reports: Domestic Violence: Living in Fear (Emmy nominated)
The number of incidents and severity of domestic violence has been a public safety crisis in Tennessee for a decade, and the staggering statistics show there is no typical victim. Tennessee ranks third in the nation for the number of women killed by men, and fifty-two percent of the reported violent crimes in the state are related to domestic violence. In “NPT Reports: Domestic Violence: Living in Fear,” we learn about the survivors, the perpetrators, and the witnesses to these criminal acts of violence. Produced by Emmy Award-winning Greta Requierme (“No Going Back: Women and the War”), “NPT Reports: Domestic Violence: Living in Fear” includes candid interviews with Nashville domestic violence experts and survivor advocates. Those interviewed include Captain Kay Lokey, Head of the MNPD Domestic Violence Division; Valerie Wynn, Founder and CEO of Mary Parrish Center; Emily Nourse and Lani Ramos, both with Family and Children’s Services; and Pamela Sessions, YWCA.

Light : Bruce Munro at Cheekwood (Emmy nominated)
Using an inventive array of materials and hundreds of miles of glowing optic fiber, light artist Bruce Munro transformed Cheekwood’s beautiful gardens into an enchanting, dream-like landscape in the summer of 2013, and NPT was there to capture it with our own documentary, Light: Bruce Munro at Cheekwood. This beautiful profile of the exhibit by the British artist, only his second in America, includes gorgeous photography and in-depth interviews.

Christmas at Belmont (Bonus Videos)

Christmas at Belmont, the NPT original production of traditional and classical holiday music and carols performed by students of Belmont University’s School of Music at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, premieres locally tonight, Thursday, December 19 at 8:00 p.m. on NPT, and nationally tomorrow night, Friday, December 20 at 9:00 p.m. on PBS stations nationwide (including NPT again). Airing again on Christmas Eve on NPT and around the nation, the show this year is hosted by internationally renowned mezzo soprano Denyce Graves.

The show that is taped is over 90 minutes, and to create an hour-version for broadcast, some performances must inevitably be cut. But we have an early Christmas gift for you. We’ve taken most of the performances that we couldn’t fit and put them on our YouTube channel for you to enjoy and share with friends and family around the country. Watch them all here, and be sure to tune in tonight or during one of the additional broadcasts in the days ahead.

Merry Christmas!