On Friday nights in April and October, many Hattiesburg residents can be found downtown setting up their chairs or blankets and settling in for a night of music and fun at Live @ Five.
Sarah Newton, former president of the Downtown Association, is the creator of the Hattiesburg concert series, which was named Best Local Music Festival in 2016 Best of the Pine Belt voting. (Finalists in the 2017 voting are named on Pages 32-35 and voting in the next round begins March 1).
Michael Simeon of Lumberton, who earned instant fame in 2014 when he danced with Jennifer Lopez during his audition for “American Idol,” is still staying involved with his music.
However, his attention is laser-focused on Saturday, May 13, when he graduates from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering.
So, how does the same singer/songwriter/producer go from being a Top 12 male finisher on “American Idol” to a bookworm with electrical engineering on his mind? For Simeon, the answer is actually simple.
Real Talk with Real People is an opportunity to highlight people in our community who are sometimes complicated and sometimes a beautiful mess, but at the very core, very real. This month, I would like to introduce you to Sid Collins.
I was raised by the uniform. With a large number of family members in both law enforcement and military, I’ve always been able to pick those folks out in a crowd. I can’t tell you the exact date I met Sid Collins, but I immediately knew he fell into that category.
“You don’t have to be crazy to work here, we’ll teach you.”
It’s a saying that rings true for Joyce Hicks, who started Blooms, A Gardening Shop in Hattiesburg in 2004. The saying was on a small plaque she sold in the store at one time. The staff, which has become part of her bigger family, would probably concur.
Adrienne Hicks Garanich, 38, is co-owner of Blooms A Garden Shop, The Bay Bed & Breakfast and Celebrations. She has a bachelor of Science in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and bachelor of arts in French from The University of Southern Mississippi. She and husband, Bill, have two kids, William (4) and Alexandra (21 months). She said travel looks a little different these days with two kids in tow, but it’s still what she lovesto do most, especially international travel. When she worked in advertising, honors and awards were important.
King Fabian II, Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis has been a member of St. Fabian Catholic Church and the Krewe of St. Fabian since its inception.
The Lewis family moved to Hattiesburg from Toledo, Ohio, in 2002 for Lewis’ job. With no previous exposure to Mardi Gras, he jumped right in and became one of the members of the team to convert an old school bus into a parade float. He also serves as the DJ on the float during parades.
Tori Banks and her husband, Nathan, are planning to make a couple of additions to their business and their family. The Bankses own The Barn at Bridlewood, which was voted the Best Venue in 2016 Best of the Pine Belt voting (The nomination process is underway for the 2017 competition. It ends on Feb. 15. Visit festivalsouth.org).
With the success of the local event site at 32 Railroad Road in Hattiesburg, they are working to open a second venue in the Jackson area.
Bridget Berry, an Oak Grove native, is working to make sure every woman or man who enters her store leaves with exactly what they wanted and certain that it makes them look as good as possible.
Berry is the owner of Alterations and Formals by Bridget in Oak Grove, where she sells wedding gowns, alters clothing and creates her own custom pieces.
Watching her mother and grandmother, Berry learned to sew as a child. She made her first dress at age 7, which she said had cap sleeves and four buttons. Berry was one of four girls.
Where we live is a special place. I know this, and I hope you know that. For that reason, the goal of this monthly piece is to give you a small glimpse into lives that are very real, sometimes complicated and a beautiful mess - all at the same time. This is Real Talk with Real People; and this month, I would like to introduce you to Scott Covington.
“Me? Are you sure you want to start off this whole thing with me?”