Yay, Home Team! Community Unity Part I

Goldsboro seal

Goldsboro is just the little place I’ve called home since April of 1996. If you have never seen a dogwood in bloom? You’re missing out. 🙂

I’ve lived in Goldsboro, North Carolina since April of 1996. This is almost as long as I lived in Santa Clara, California before I moved away when I was eighteen years and seven months of age. Of course, my memories of Santa Clara only reach as far back as age five or six, so technically, my memories have lived in Goldsboro longer than anywhere else I’ve lived previously. I did a one month stint in Wichita Falls, Texas, six years in Lubbock, and six years in Clovis, New Mexico before finally settling down here. (If you math-loving types think about it long enough, you can probably figure out how old I really am, ha ha.) I was a military spouse for the first eighteen years of my adult life, and never saw beyond US soil. 😉

At any rate, this is home to me, and I am proud to call Goldsboro that. I’m not going to lie; we’re small-town in many ways, but we’re growing. Geographically? We’re in a really good place. The state capital, Raleigh, is less than an hour away with its shopping, diverse dining, and professional hockey team (go, Canes!). There are a few universities within an easy drive from here, as well. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; North Carolina State University; and Duke University.  Oh, and let’s not forget East Carolina University in Greenville! We are also a short 90 minute drive from the Crystal Coast, which is where I like spending time when I need to get my ocean fix. I’ve seen our town grow in so many ways in the years that I’ve lived here, and it’s really a neat place to be. A brief history can be found here, at the City of Goldsboro website.

Ok, so with that out of the way, welcome to Goldsboro,y’all!

In my last post, I described my first American Idol viewing party, and promised some pictures and a few details. This mini-series, if you will, has taken an unexpected turn because unexpected turns are kind of what my brain does. I did, in my last post, mention the pictures on my phone, which I promised to share with you. Except that I still haven’t quite gotten used to the intricacies of using the camera on my new (okay, it was December, but it’s still new to me) phone as opposed to the one on my old iPhone 4. Not the best images I’ve ever taken with a cell phone. Sorry. 😦 Next time? You can cool believe I’m bringing the big guns!

I met up with Lesley at the Family YMCA at 7:15. The weather was kind of bad. Not snowpocalypse-bad, but cold, windy and rainy, nonetheless, and I was just happy to have made it in one piece. (Never volunteer to ride with me at night in the rain…Just sayin’.) We headed upstairs to the multi-purpose room. The entryway was filled with food. I so wish I’d taken a picture of it, because it’s almost hard to describe the number of stacked pizza boxes, trays of wings, veggie trays, chips, dips, sodas, bottled water, etc, all from local vendors. Of course, I’d eaten before I arrived, and you know I’m calorie conscious, soooo…Lesley and I grabbed a bottle of water and headed in to find seats.

I ran into an old friend of mine who is a videographer that I hadn’t seen in a while, and aside from him? Lesley was the only other person in the room that I knew…but you’d never know it. We saw that Mayor Al King was in the room, and I asked Lesley if she thought he would mind if I asked to have a picture taken with him. She told me to go for it, so I mustered up a little courage (because in new situations I am the wallflower…no, really, I’m THAT shy!), approached him and asked if he minded if Lesley took a picture of the two of us because I’m doing a blog. Mayor King was just as nice as the day is long! He gladly let Lesley take our picture, and while we were all talking about how proud Goldsboro is of Majesty, I stepped back and shot one of Mayor King and Lesley. Now, I’ve photographed my fair share of community events, but I’d always attended them as a photographer and not a participant, so this was a little different terrain for me.

I learned some things about my community last night. For example, I had no idea that the Goldsboro Family YMCA has a drum line. Oh, and they’re good, too, just so we’re clear. I shot some video of a portion of their performance last night, but I’m still in the process of learning how to get phone videos over to my youtube account, so bear with me. For someone who used to be a web server administrator (and yes, that WAS back in the early 2000’s, thank  you), I’m having a hard time with all this new-fangled stuff, LOL.

I also learned that when there is a common interest, people will gather together and raise great gobs of really good energy for that interest. It didn’t matter that we didn’t know each other. It didn’t matter that we came from different backgrounds, socio-economic places, education levels; what mattered was that we were there as a community. I think if we could have bottled the sense of community that we experienced out there last night? We could pretty much kill off the national debt if we could sell it to the rest of the world.

Below you will find a collection of images shot last night and at the National Day of Prayer downtown last May. If someone would please shoot me a note at julie@wall2wallphotos.com to give me the names of Majesty’s friends in these pictures, I would greatly appreciate it!

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When I got to work this morning I was sharing my experiences last night with the girls, and I am so hoping they’ll be able to join us next week.

There is nothing better than a community pulling together to make something like this simply feel like a neighborhood.

Until next time…

Supporting Home Grown Talent

Goldsboro fans making posters supporting Majesty Rose.

Goldsboro fans making posters supporting Majesty Rose.

I have not been an avid American Idol watcher in several years. This season, however, two noteworthy items have piqued my interest.

The first is Harry Connick Junior. I’m sorry. I find him ridiculously good looking, and …yeah… I think he sings, too, or something, right? 😉 To see that he is a judge this season? Okay. I’m always down with twice-per-week eye candy.

The second is Majesty Rose. She’s a local girl from right here in little old Goldsboro, North Carolina. Now, some of you may remember a kid named Scotty McCreery? He won Idol a few seasons ago, and he came from a little town right up the road from here, and that town, Garner, made a big ol’ hairy deal out of their local guy, which is terrific. Supporting the arts is great. Supporting local artists is wonderful!

This young lady is known in certain circles at work because a lot of people either go to church with her, or have visited her home church. My girlfriend, Lesley, works at an assisted living facility where a group of young people would come to sing for the residents. One of the girls in the group was Majesty. This group also performed at our local National Day of Prayer downtown last fall, and I had the privilege of grabbing my camera and joining my photography-bestie to shoot the entire event. I’m sitting on a ton of images of Majesty and her group singing on the square that night. I may dig those out and share them with you. 😉

That said, last night I wandered out to the local college, where our local celebrity had been a student, for my first ever fan-girly experience. I met up with Lesley and proceeded into the atrium for my first of (hopefully) many viewing parties.

Raleigh news guy Ken Smith.

Raleigh news guy Ken Smith.

Cameras were everywhere! Lesley, who had gone to the results viewing party at the YMCA last week, told me under no circumstances should I scratch my butt, pick my nose, or do anything that I might not want to be seen all over the local area because one never knows when they might show up on the local news or in the paper. We saw a local news personality out of Raleigh, photographers from the Goldsboro news outlets, and more DSLR’s than you could shake a stick at. Of course, the photographer in me drooled over a lot of the cameras out there!

Taking a trip down Memory Lane...

Taking a trip down Memory Lane…

It was a pretty healthy turnout, considering how big Goldsboro is and I had a lot of fun while I was there. It’s really a neat thing when a community comes together to support one of their own. After the initial “pep-rally” we all moved into the Moffatt Auditorium to watch the live show on the big screen. During commercial breaks there were interviews with college faculty, former classmates, and friends who talked about how they knew Majesty.

After the show was over, Lesley and I agreed to meet at the YMCA for the results party, which I am about to go get ready for (I’m still sitting here in my work scrubs), but will be back later this evening to let you know how that went.

In the meantime, I will leave you with THIS LINK that goes to our local CBS affiliate. There should be a video from their site of the piece they did last night. If you pay close attention, you might see me. I make a cameo appearance at about position 0:39. I’m the one in the teal scarf in the upper right-ish area. Good thing I kept my hands in socially acceptable places, LOL…

9:50 p.m. update: We spent the evening at the YMCA to see if Majesty was going to go on to the next round. She did. I also met the mayor, who is a very nice man. I took lots of pictures, though they are still on my phone, and will publish a post on this tomorrow. I’m going to start a “Community Unity” series that focuses on the coming together of residents from all walks of life for a common interest, so be on the lookout for that.

Until next time…