In the Spring of 2010 I had the honor to work as an editorial intern for Our State Magazine in Greensboro. The staff are a group of extremely talented and fun individuals who took time out of their busy schedules to teach and encourage me during my time there. It was a wonderful experience. Check out their magazine and site! Below are the articles posted on their site that I wrote with persisting links.

Musical Military Honor
By Casie Leigh Lukes

The North Carolina Symphony pays tribute to the United States Armed Services with a Red, White, and Blue Tour of our state’s military installations in June 2010.  

In honor of the more than 104,000 troops and 120,000 civilian employees, retirees, veterans, and families connected to the military installations in our state, The North Carolina Symphony is dedicating the first week of June to a Red, White, and Blue Tour that will present an inspiring collection of music that celebrates our nation’s military heritage.

The two-part show, which kicks off at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, features Wilmington composer Steven Errante’s musical homage to the Battleship North Carolina, “From Sea to Shining Sea” by Robert Wendel, and music that will stir memories of World War II. The symphony will also feature guest artists and music ensembles from the military installations.

The symphony has performed previously at North Carolina military bases, but this tour is the first to salute the men and women who serve. “It’s a terrific honor to perform for our men and women in uniform,” says Scott Freck, orchestra general manager and vice president for artistic operations.

Tour StopsDebden Park at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Goldsboro — June 1Theatre at Cherry Point Marine Base, Havelock — June 2
Riverwalk Crossing Park, Jacksonville (Camp Lejuene) — June 3
Main Parade Field, Fort Bragg, Fayetteville — June 4
Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park in Cary (as part of the Symphony’s Summerfest Series) — June 5

Casie Leigh Lukes was an editorial intern at Our State during spring 2010.
Serious About Music
By Casie Leigh Lukes
Photography by Joey and Jessica Seawell

The passionate female duo Amelia’s Mechanics draws inspiration from everyday life to set memories to music.

Originality, honesty, and grittiness seep from the Greensboro duo Amelia’s Mechanics. Molly McGinn and Molly Miller’s debut album, North, South, produced by Jim Avett, is fun and soothing. It immediately demands your attention. The lyrics reach beyond the surface, examining the heart and root of the tumultuous human experience.

“Every song has a completely different process, mantra, something I need to hear myself, remind myself of,” McGinn says. “A time and place in life you don’t want to forget, like a photograph, feelings, words you want to say to someone but are safer to put into music…”

As you listen to the mixture of McGinn’s softer voice and Miller’s sultry, sassy tone, you slip into their world. It’s almost like stepping into their living room rehearsal. Their sound is self-described as “vintage country with a moonshine concerto.”

Magic happens when the duo hits the stage; their talents feed off each other. The women are serious about music but don’t take themselves too seriously. Some songs explore mundane struggles that often resonate deeper.

“I write about what’s going on in life, which scares me because that’s a dependency you don’t want to have as a writer,” Miller says. “Life isn’t always a series of big things, but more boring. I need to learn, for writing, that it doesn’t always have to be a big thing.”

The writing process continues to progress as the women of Amelia’s Mechanics work on producing a new album. But no matter the words, they maintain their signature sound.

Get out and Tune inOctober 7-10
Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance
1439 Henderson Tanyard Road
Pittsboro, N.C. 27312

October 15
Piedmont Land Jam, Carolina Theatre
310 South Greene Street
Greensboro, N.C. 27401

Casie Leigh Lukes was an editorial intern at Our State during spring 2010.
Remember When
By Casie Leigh Lukes
Photography by Bert Vanderveen

One man’s hobby grew into a haven for serious music collectors and a bright spot for many who just want to plug into their past.

Comfortable in a pair of khakis and a short-sleeved Polo shirt, with his tousled salt-and-pepper hair falling over his forehead, John Hiatt stands behind a desk examining an unopened copy of the The Beatles’ “White Album.” A customer has brought it into his store hoping Hiatt will buy it. He probably will.

Hiatt is a collector. That’s how he came to own Remember When Records, a Greensboro store that he’s pretty sure is the largest of its kind in the state. His 3,200-square-foot retail shop on High Point Road holds more than 150,000 albums, singles, CDs, and DVDs, and that’s only the beginning. He also has two warehouses full of several hundred thousand more items.

When he was a teenager, he estimates he owned nearly 500 45s. But that was many collections ago. In between that obsession and this business, there have been automobiles; he still owns an impressive fleet — a 1969 Cadillac convertible, ’69 Cadillac hardtop, ’94 Mustang, ’69 Cadillac, ’77 Cadillac, ’71 dump truck, ’76 El Camino, and a Lightning Pickup. And in the late ’60s, it was jukeboxes, which triggered the quest that evolved into a business like few others in this era of Internet-driven music sales.

Natural course of things“It was never a plan to open a record shop,” says Hiatt, who has worked at a trucking company and in real estate. He began collecting jukeboxes as a hobby in the late 1960s and searched for the perfect one for the next 20 years. “I had a picture in my mind what I wanted, but the bubble machines all played 78s,” John says. “I was looking for one that played 45s.”

After purchasing his first jukebox, Hiatt pulled out his 45s from high school — singles by Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, and the first slice of vinyl he remembers buying, “The Green Door” by Jim Lowe.

“We would sit on the floor together and listen to them,” he says. “They’d get shuffled around like cards. … You didn’t know they were going to be valuable then.”

When he had to throw most of them out, he started collecting again. He was flipping through 45s at a store in Summerfield about 20 years ago when he learned the store was closing. He bought part of the share and moved it to a location in Greensboro. In 1995, Hiatt purchased the rest of the inventory and moved the store to its current location.

Stepping into the modest brick-and-glass storefront on High Point Road, you recognize right away you’re someplace special. For one thing, it’s light. “It’s the opposite of every store I went in,” Hiatt says. “Other stores had posters on the windows, which made the inside very dark and unable to see the records.”

Remember When is also as orderly as a library. Merchandise is organized in neat, if jam-packed, rows on shelves, in crates, and in boxes. Items are arranged alphabetically by artist, genre, and type — all graded, cleaned, and priced. And you can find treasures here: Masters, wax, picture, and shape discs.

Part of the fun of the store is flipping through the stacks to see what you can find. But if you’re looking for something in particular, just ask Hiatt or his wife, Brenda, who may not share her husband’s encyclopedic knowledge of music or the store’s inventory but is happy to help track down a coveted song or artist.

Quality controlRob Rierson makes weekly visits to Remember When. A collector of music and turntables, he’s on a constant search for records he used to have in the ’60s and ’70s. He comes here for the well-organized collection and the high level of quality he finds at the store.

“Care goes into the product,” he says. “That differentiates them from other places.”

On average, only one out of every 10 LPs and one out of every 20 45s make it to the Remember When shelves. Records are graded: VG+ down to VG-, but even a VG- is in pretty good shape; it has no skips, no needle-stick, maybe only some light scratches.

“I don’t have to worry about buying something of bad quality here,” says Bo Boughton, a monthly customer. Boughton has a current collection of 500 records and has been coming to the store steadily for a year.

Remember When has many local regulars, but its appeal reaches as far as England and Japan. Some are collectors, but many just want music from their childhood.

Collectors come back to Remember When not only for the physical quality of the individual items, but also for the depth and breadth of Hiatt’s collections. The store carries 40,000 to 50,000 rock titles alone.

A casual glance among the labels reveals a huge Elvis Presley collection, row after row of Michael Jackson, and a sizeable selection of The Who, not to mention offerings from the more obscure artists, such as the Chocolate Buttermilk Band.

It’s easy to lose track of time in here. Hiatt and his staff are happy to let you wander for hours or to chat with you about what’s playing in the store, which artists are in high demand, or how much they’ll pay you for that album you might be willing to part with for the right price.

Remember When Records
2901 High Point Road
Greensboro, N.C. 27403
(336) 297-1999

Casie Leigh Lukes was an editorial intern at Our State during spring 2010.


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