Alfredo Hurtado was about 10 minutes into his speech when his mind drew a blank. In the silence, he rapped on the wooden podium top for a few seconds, and then leaned into the microphone to reconnect with the audience.
“Please give me a second. Sometimes, I lose my thoughts,” he told them. “I have a Traumatic Brain Injury.”
Last week, Hurtado, a composer, musician and dancer for Black Box Dance Theatre in Raleigh, spoke at the Cabarrus Arts Council’s Annual Celebration, sharing his deeply personal story about the healing power of the arts on his life.
Today, he’s a happy, successful artist, husband and father, but a few years ago, Hurtado was a disabled war veteran struggling to find a reason to live.
His narrative isn’t always pretty. It’s raw in places, but it has a happy ending and the audience in the Davis Theatre waited for it patiently as Hurtado unfolded the story at his own pace.
In late 2000, Hurtado had formed what he thought was a solid career path: Enlist in the Army, receive training to become a federal marshal and return to civilian life with a good job that would provide for his wife and daughter.
But the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed everything, and instead Hurtado’s path involved deployment, war, a roadside bomb, Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and attempted suicide.
There are a lot of ways to cope with stress. Some are healthier than others.
Hurtado had tried both varieties, and for him, tapping into the arts was the hand that finally pulled him out of the depths of despair.
A large body of medical studies touts the healthy benefits that can come from participating in arts-related activities. They can relieve stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and reduce the need for pain medication.
Hurtado’s experiences during deployment had left him with a host of medical issues, including PTSD. He was afraid to leave the house. He was unable to be touched by anyone.
His road back to healing started with a leather journal his wife had given him to write music lyrics in.
“They were dark, very dark,” said Hurtado, a musician before he had enlisted. “I was in a very bad place, but it was my outlet.”
War changes people. It’s hard to make sense of neatly trimmed backyards in suburbia or shopping at the mall or small talk when you’ve witnessed explosions and seen friends, purple and lifeless, on the dusty ground.
Hurtado exorcised all of those dark experiences, capturing them into lyrics, putting them to music and eventually recording the songs onto a CD.
That CD ended up in the hands of members of Blackbox Dance Theatre, a Raleigh troupe. It wasn’t long before Hurtado was composing, performing as a musician and eventually even dancing with the group, something he never thought he would do.
The experience has had a profound effect on him, he said, and for that reason, he likes to share his story, especially with other veterans.
“It saved my life,” he said. “It really helped me, as far as being human again.”
Interested in learning more about Black Box Dance Theatre? Visit www.blackboxdancetheatre.com.
Ten – An Anniversary Exhibition – Now through Friday, October 21; The Galleries of the Cabarrus Arts Council celebrates its 10-year anniversary with an exhibition featuring the new works of 25 artists who have previously exhibited in The Galleries. Ten is sponsored by Corning; Free; The Galleries’ 2017-2018 season is sponsored by PSNC Energy; 65 Union Street South, Concord, NC; Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm; CabarrusArtsCouncil.org.
ClearWater Artists: New Work 2017 –Now through September 30, 2017; the first group exhibition of new works by tenant artists in over a year; free and open to the public; ClearWater’s Gallery is open Wednesday –Friday, Noon-5pm, every 2nd Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.223 Crowell Dr. NW, Concord; minutes from Historic Downtown Concord; ClearWaterArtistStudios.com.
The 26th Annual Black & White Exhibit, “Photographer’s Choice” – Now through September 30th; presented by The Vintage Photographers Guild of North Carolina; Main floor of the Cabarrus Art Guild Gallery, 11 Union Street South, downtown Concord. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 4:30 pm; CabarrusArtGuild.org.
Improve Your Drawing Skills with O’Lynda Walker – Saturdays, August 26, September 30, October 21, November 11, December 9, 10 am - 4 pm; From beginners to advanced artists, there’s something for everyone in this drawing workshop. It’s for anyone who wants to improve their drawing skills.$40.00 per class, $150.00 for all five; To register, visitCabarrusArtGuild.org, call 704-795-1901 or stop by the Cabarrus Art Guild, 11 Union Street S, Suite LL-202, downtown Concord Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am-3:30 pm.
Kaleidoscope Art Festival & Zombie Walk – Saturday, August 26, 4 – 8 p.m. Downtown Kannapolis.
Artists Opportunity – Now through September 15; Concord Downtown Development Corporation is accepting entries for its 2nd Annual Create the Connection event; Creative artists, inventors and members of the greater community are invited to develop and design concepts to activate the sidewalks of Downtown Concord; Inventions will be placed along Union Street for a one-day viewing by the public to be held on Saturday, October 21st from 10 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. The top design, as selected by the public who come out the day of the event, will be awarded a cash prize of $500. There will also be a Judges' Choice prize of $1000 with the potential for one design to be built out for permanent installation in Downtown Concord! Submit a sketch of your idea by September 15th ; A great opportunity for an individual, team, organization or even a class project. No fee to enter. Visit http://www.concorddowntown.com/ for more information.
Cinema Club for Adults – Monday, August 28, 5:30 pm; Join this new movie club for adults. This month’s movie: Arrival. Rated PG-13; Free and open to the public. Harrisburg Library, 201 Sims Parkway, Harrisburg. For more information, contact Davey Beauchamp, 704.920.2080, email@example.com.
Sharpie Coasters – Tuesday, August 29, 11 am; Personalize a tile with sharpies, then watch the ink spread with rubbing alcohol to make your creation unique! All supplies will be provided, but registration is required. Kannapolis Library, 850 Mountain St., Kannapolis; 704-920-1180 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harrisburg’s Rockin’ the Burg Concert Series – Saturday, September 9; 6:30 – 7 pm, Eric Maynor; 7-9 pm, Natural Wonder – Stevie Wonder Tribute Band; Saturday, October 14, 6:30 – 7 pm, Mitch Hayes; 7-9 pm, Part Time Blues Band; 6:30 – 9 pm, Beer & Wine Garden; 5-9 pm, food trucks on site; 6:30 – 7 pm; IDs checked;Bring your lawn chairs and blankets. Leashed pets are welcome. No smoking, please. Concerts are free and open to the public.
Endless Embroidery with Susan Edmonson – Wednesdays 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 9/20; Hand embroidery is beautiful as well as fun and relaxing. Each month we will explore a set of embroidery stitches that are similar in techniques; $30.00 per class. To register, visitCabarrusArtGuild.org, call 704-795-1901 or stop by the Cabarrus Art Guild, 11 Union Street S, Suite LL-202, downtown Concord Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. -3:30 p.m.
Seeds and Pods of Creativity with Susan Edmonson – Wednesdays, 1:30-3:30 pm, September 20; This class is Susan's newest monthly hand embroidery class. It's going to be a fun journey seeing what unique ways we can make hand stitched seeds and pods inspired from nature.
$30.00 per class. To register, visitCabarrusArtGuild.org, call 704-795-1901 or stop by the Cabarrus Art Guild, 11 Union Street S, Suite LL-202, downtown Concord, Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. -3:30 p.m.
Art on Tap – 90s Kick-Off Party – Thursday, September 21, 2017, 6-9 p.m. Celebrate Art on Tap’s new season with a 90s-themed party; live music provided by Gump Fiction and The Ultimate 90s Experience; Admission is free for members and non-members; Beer, wine and other refreshments will be available; Art on Tap, a group for young professionals; must be at least 21 to join; IDs required; sponsored by the Kannapolis Intimidators; For more information, visit www.CabarrusArtsCouncil.org.
Music on Means Concert Series – September 21 and October 19, 6-9 p.m. – Enjoy live music on Means Avenue beside the Historic County Courthouse lawn for the 2017 concert season. Music on Means will offer a variety of regional talent with music genres for all tastes! Gump Fiction, The Ultimate 90s Experience will kick off the fall season in September and October will feature returning favorites, The Tams!
The Suffers On Stage at the Davis – Tuesday, September 26, 7:30 p.m.; $35; Funky and cool, The Suffers brings retro soul and a 10-piece horn and rhythm section to the Davis Theatre; www.thesuffers.com. Tickets on sale 24/7 at www.cabarrusartscouncil.org, or by stopping into the arts council, 65 Union Street, South, downtown Concord, or calling the Box Office at (704) 920-2753, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Jeff Whittington – Thursdays, October 12, 2017, April 26, 2018, 7:30 pm; $16; North Carolina Banjo Champion Jeff Whittington returns to the Davis Theatre for his Christian traditional bluegrass show. Tickets on sale 24/7 at www.cabarrusartscouncil.org, or by stopping into the arts council, 65 Union Street, South, downtown Concord, or calling the Box Office at (704) 920-2753, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Family Day – Saturday, October 14, 11 am – 2 pm; Make your own artwork at creation stations spread throughout The Galleries, and see a movie in the Davis Theatre; Designed for preschool through elementary age; sponsored by Vulcan Materials; CabarrusArtsCouncil.org.
North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony – Thursday, October 19, 7:15 – 10:30 pm; The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Inductions Ceremony is an annual event wherein North Carolina’s finest musical talents are honored and recognized with by their home state, a monumental milestone in any artist’s career. It will be a night of elegance and glamour where music fans across the nation come together to celebrate these all-time legends. $35 – General; $80 – VIP; To Purchase Tickets go to www.2017induction.eventbrite.com or call (704) 934-2320.
Raul Midón On Stage at the Davis – Friday, October 20, 8 p.m.; $35; A virtuoso who has been blind since birth, Midón’s voice and guitar lay down the beat, the melody and the harmony with a syncopated pulse and a jazz-influenced flair; www.raulmidon.com. Tickets on sale 24/7 at www.cabarrusartscouncil.org, or by stopping into the arts council, 65 Union Street, South, downtown Concord, or calling the Box Office at (704) 920-2753, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Art Walk – Friday, November 17, 6-9 pm; Enjoy visual art vendors and entertainment all over downtown Concord as well as opportunity to see Ten, The Galleries’ new exhibition; 65 Union Street South, Concord, NC; sponsored by Waste Pro. CabarrusArtsCouncil.org.
The Barefoot Movement Christmas Show – Saturday, December 16, 2017, 8 p.m.; $30; a holiday celebration for the whole family, the barefoot movement perform season favorites. Audiences won’t ever find shoes on the band members, but they will find out why they were named Band of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association; www.thebarefootmovement.com. Tickets on sale 24/7 at www.cabarrusartscouncil.org, or by stopping into the arts council, 65 Union Street, South, downtown Concord, or calling the Box Office at (704) 920-2753, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Martha Redbone Roots Project On Stage at the Davis – Saturday, January 20, 2018, 8 p.m.; $35; Influenced by her Native American and African American heritage, Redbone’s music is a stunning culmination of Native American, funk, Appalachian folk and Piedmont blues; www.martharedbone.com; sponsored by WFAE 90.7 FM; tickets on sale 24/7 at www.cabarrusartscouncil.org, or by stopping into the arts council, 65 Union Street, South, downtown Concord, or calling the Box Office at (704) 920-2753, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Hillbenders’ TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opry On Stage at the Davis– Saturday, February 17, 2018, 7 p.m., $35; 9:30 p.m., $30; You’ve never heard The Who’s classic rock opera, Tommy, played this way! Listen as The Hillbenders re-create the entire 1969 album about a pinball wizard with their trademark bluegrass style; www.hillbenders.com. Tickets on sale 24/7 at www.cabarrusartscouncil.org, or by stopping into the arts council, 65 Union Street, South, downtown Concord, or calling the Box Office at (704) 920-2753, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Jim Avett – Friday, March 2, 2018, 8 p.m.; $20; Cabarrus County native Jim Avett travels across the country performing gospel and country, but he always makes time for Davis Theatre audiences; www.jimavett.com. Tickets on sale 24/7 at www.cabarrusartscouncil.org, or by stopping into the arts council, 65 Union Street, South, downtown Concord, or calling the Box Office at (704) 920-2753, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Malpass Brothers – Saturday, March 17, 2018, 8 p.m.; $30; Following in the tradition of legends like Merle Haggard and Hank Williams, The Malpass Brothers perform classic country songs reminiscent of a bygone era; Sponsored by the Kannapolis Intimidators; www.themalpassbrothers.com; Tickets on sale 24/7 at www.cabarrusartscouncil.org, or by stopping into the arts council, 65 Union Street, South, downtown Concord, or calling the Box Office at (704) 920-2753, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Mike Farris On Stage at the Davis– Friday, April 13, 2018, 8 p.m.; $35; 2015 Grammy Award Winner Mike Farris, the first recipient of the Best Roots Gospel Album, performs his soulful blend of modern and classic gospel that’s paired with southern rock and soul; www.mikefarrismusic.com; Tickets on sale 24/7 at www.cabarrusartscouncil.org, or by stopping into the arts council, 65 Union Street, South, downtown Concord, or calling the Box Office at (704) 920-2753, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Pour, Splatter and Finger Paint in Watercolor with Robin Poteet – November 7, 8 and 9, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Putting those first brushstrokes on a blank piece of paper is intimidating for many artists. This workshop helps students get that first stage over quickly — in a fun and freeing way. $120 for CAG members; $150 for non-members; To register, visitCabarrusArtGuild.org, call 704-795-1901 or stop by the Cabarrus Art Guild, 11 Union Street S, Suite LL-202, downtown Concord Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Dancing for the Arts – Saturday, November 11, 6 pm to midnight; A Dance competition that puts local stars on the Davis Theatre stage, Dancing for the Arts begins with a cocktail buffet and ends with dancing under the stars; $125/ticket; CabarrusArtsCouncil.org; 704-920-2753; Cabarrus Arts Council, 65 Union Street South, Concord, NC.
Art Box – Boxes full of art materials and instructions provide guided art projects for children of all ages when they visit The Galleries. The projects relate to the current exhibition, and the artwork can be made right here in The Galleries, on the front steps, or outside on the lawn.
I Spy Scavenger Hunt – Get a scavenger list at the front desk, then search the art in The Galleries for everything on it. It’s a fun game for all ages, and a great way to pick up the details of artwork.
Think about it – Our guided questionnaire is full of colorful pictures of artwork accompanied by conversation starters such as, "What questions would you ask this artist if he or she were here right now?" This activity is great for anyone who wants to examine artworks in a new way.
Mon-Fri, 9 am – 5 pm, All ages, Free
Cabarrus Arts Council, 65 Union Street S, Concord, NC, Cabarrusartscouncil.org.
Auditions for The Listening Room – The Davis Theatre’s local talent night gives creatives the opportunity to perform in a casual atmosphere. Interested in auditioning? Send your act via a YouTube link or digital recording to email@example.com.
Voice and Performance Lessons –Teacher and professional singer/performer Daniel Truhitte, from The Sound of Music fame; available for students of all ages and skill levels; ideal for those interested in singing professionally, for school and church performances, or just for fun; for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704-791-9100.
Open Mic Night/Live Music – Enjoy open mic night every Wednesday, and live music every Friday and Saturday at Lil’ Robert’s Place Taps, 25 Union Street South, Downtown Concord. Free. www.facebook.com/LilRobertsPlace.
Actors of Tomorrow – a non-profit children’s theatre organization for youth of any theatre experience, 6012 Bayfield Parkway, Ste. 370, Concord, NC 28027. For more information, visit actorsoftomorrow.org.
Artist Opportunity – Kannapolis Arts organizes rotating exhibitions of local artwork in store windows in Kannapolis. Contact mknoxatmodernfilmzine.com for more information.
Open Studio, Art Guild Gallery – Tuesdays, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Artists are invited to bring their projects and work with other artists at the gallery or just stop by to visit. This event is offered each week on an on-going basis. Cabarrus Art Guild, 11 Union St. S, Concord. For more information, call 704-795-1901 or visit cabarrusartguild.org.
Art Classes at Brenda’s Art Studio – Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays – Youth classes, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Activities include drawing, painting, collage, pottery and sculpture. Adult classes, 6-8 p.m. Activities include drawing, painting, pottery or sculpture. For more information, call Brenda Hardin at 704-786-8570, or email Brendahardin1@windstream.net.
Artist Demonstrations and Open Studios –ClearWater’s Gallery is open Wednesday –Friday, Noon-5pm, every 2nd Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. or by appointment. The ClearWater Gallery, 223 Crowell Drive NW, Concord. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit clearwaterartists.com or call 704-784-9535.
Creative Connections; A new group meant to bring together all the arts and culture advocates in our community to discover who is here to work with and build our creative community in Cabarrus County; open to all artists, from belly dancers to writers, jugglers to quilters, art event organizers welcome as well; For more information about the next meeting, visit www.facebook.com/CreativeConnectionsCabarrus/
The Cabarrus Arts Council contributes The Arts and Entertainment column, which highlights the arts in Cabarrus County, to the Independent Tribune each Wednesday. Please use the contact information provided to confirm the details of events. If you would like your arts information to be considered for inclusion, please email Lisa Thornton at email@example.com.