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Column: Oakland Cemetery to host Special Topic Tours
by Sally F. White
Neighbor Newspapers Columnist
March 12, 2014 03:16 PM | 5561 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally F. White
Sally F. White
The Historic Oakland Foundation, the fundraising arm of Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta’s Grant Park community, is announcing its annual series of guided Special Topic Tours on selected weekends, starting Saturday and running through Oct. 11.

In good weather on Saturdays and Sundays, volunteer guides will tell the stories of the famous and not-so-famous permanent residents of the picturesque Victorian cemetery.

In the meantime, the foundation will also supervise year-round, daytime self-guided tours with maps and information for visitors and host special events celebrating holidays with stories, entertainment, music and food.

This year’s Special Topic Tours will feature more than a dozen titles including: Pioneers of Atlanta, Love Stories, Civil War, Epitaphs, Masons, African American History, Arts and Architecture, Jewish Grounds, Margaret Mitchell and “Gone With the Wind,” Women and Baseball.

Located less than a mile from the heart of downtown Atlanta, the garden-style cemetery was founded in 1850 and is the final resting place for many of Atlanta’s original settlers, builders and notable residents such as golf legend Bobby Jones, author Margaret Mitchell and former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. It is a significant example of Atlanta’s rich and fascinating history, a showplace of sculpture and architecture and a botanical preserve with ancient oaks and magnolias.

In 1976 the foundation was started by residents — many of whom are descendants of those interred — and volunteers who took on the mission of registering the 48 acres as a historic place while working with the city of Atlanta to stabilize the grounds and buildings. It has become a successful ongoing program to ward off normal deterioration and weather hazards. The nonprofit foundation sustains its work with many hours of hands-on volunteer caretaking, generous financial donations and ticket sales to tours and events hosted on the historic property.

Schedule details, tickets and information: (404) 688-2107 or

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Fine Art + Fashion will hit the runway at Neiman Marcus at Lenox Square in Buckhead March 20 to spotlight and benefit the National Black Arts Festival.

Now it its eighth year, the annual fashion preview is orchestrated by Neiman Marcus Fashion Director Ken Downing. It will not only parade an exciting lineup of newsworthy spring and summer ensembles, but also present the festival’s 2014 Emerging Talent Awards to participating students from Clark Atlanta University and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

The evening will include a pre-show cocktail reception, the awards and fashion presentations plus a post-show celebration.

Honorary co-chairs for the benefit are Billye and Hank Aaron. Brooke Jackson Edmond and Jack Sawyer are co-chairing the event.

Founded in Atlanta in 1987, the festival is a cultural leader worldwide. For the past 27 years it has showcased the best of black art and culture. It is the oldest multidisciplinary arts organization in the U.S.

The nonprofit festival’s mission is to engage, cultivate and educate diverse audiences about the arts and culture of the African Diaspora and provide opportunities for artistic expression across all disciplines — music, dance, theater, film and literary and visual arts.

Other festival highlights to be presented in July and August will be announced later this month.

Tickets and information: (404) 730-6369 or

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Herbert W. Benario, historian, author and Emory University history professor emeritus, will be the featured speaker at the Atlanta World War II Round Table meeting March 20 at Petite Auberge restaurant on North Druid Hills Road in DeKalb County.

Benario has brought his insight into history and military encounters at previous round table meetings. At this one he will reveal little-known, but highly significant facts about a German military atrocity in Italy in 1944 where resistance and revenge led to the death of 33 German SS Police and 335 Italian residents. The site is now an Italian National Cemetery and Monument.

The nonprofit round table was originated in Atlanta in 1986 and now numbers more than 250 veterans. Its goal is to offer retired and active servicemen a chance to visit and share memories as they hear inspirational speakers review military experiences and patriotic deeds to pass along love of country to the next generation. Lee Weinstein is the commander.

Reservations are not required. Interested veterans and friends do not need a formal invitation, just come to the restaurant for a $15 lunch at 11 a.m.

Information: (404) 843-0779 or

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Two inaugural collaborative public concerts March 22 and 23 will star the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra and the Georgia Boy Choir.

Titled “Bach Birthday Bash” to celebrate the life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach on his 329th birthday, the Saturday evening concert will be at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Buckhead. The Sunday afternoon concert will be at Roswell Presbyterian Church.

The unique concerts will feature choral and orchestral masterworks by Bach performed on original instruments with boys’ voices, as originally conceived by the renowned composer.

The collaborative performances are initiated by orchestra Artistic Director Julie Andrijeski as part of the organization’s Playing With Others – A Year of Collaboration programs. They aim to bring audiences and other musicians into their historic purpose: “The intention of music is not only to please the ear, but to express sentiments, strike the imagination, affect the mind and command the passions.”

The orchestra is a combination of professional musicians from around the U.S. who came together in Atlanta in 1998 to perform on period instruments and recreate the stylistic music of Baroque period composers. Today the nonprofit is the first and longest-running professional Baroque-style orchestra offering public concerts in metro Atlanta featuring period music by composures such as Bach, George Frideric Handel, Georg Philipp Telemann, Antonio Vivaldi and Georg Muffat.

The choir was founded in 2009 by Artistic Director and Conductor David R. White. The Atlanta-based nonprofit is widely regarded as one of the finest musical organizations for boys in the U.S. The young ensemble operates a five-tier system of musical education for boys ranging from age 5 through high school, has performed in such venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall and has toured in China, England and Scandinavia.

Funding for the orchestra is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under guidance of Fulton County Arts Council.

Tickets and information: (404) 402-4083, or

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All things Southern will be celebrated March 22 at the Legacy Ball, themed “Georgia On My Mind,” at the historic Piedmont Driving Club in Midtown to benefit the nonprofit Circle for Children’s programs.

The elegant black-tie affair will feature a four-course dinner with wine pairings, dancing to the Moxie Band and live and silent auctions, all to support the Center for Children and Young Adults.

Ball co-chairs are Sally Davis, Betts Fisher and Kristin Harbison. Auction co-chairs are Nancy Flaherty and Maureen Lok.

The nonprofit circle is a 100-percent volunteer organization of self-motivated women who provide both financial and emotional aid to children and youth in Georgia who are victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment.

As the oldest women’s charity related to children in Georgia, the circle was founded in 1927 to provide funding for the Tallulah Falls School for rural children in the north Georgia Mountains. The nonprofit still funds scholarships to Tallulah graduates. This year’s benefit is dedicated to the Center for Children and Young Adults, a private nonprofit residential facility located in Atlanta and overseen by the Georgia Department of Human Resources. It provides a therapeutic, nurturing home environment for the state’s youth with heart-wrenchingly abusive backgrounds.

“For generations, the circle has strived to provide a foundation of hope for Georgia’s most neglected and abused children,” circle President Linda Pace said. “Our fundraisers have served to unite many generous and passionate patrons in support of our state’s at-risk youth. An important by-product of the circle is friendship, which forges camaraderie among members through uplifting social events around an agenda of service for needy young ones.”

Tickets and information: (404) 295-9510 or

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The Candlelight Ball, a sparkling evening at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead March 22, will symbolically light the way for individuals living in the shadow of autism and will benefit the Autism Foundation of Georgia.

Star 94 radio personalities Cindy Simmons and Heather Branch will act as co-mistresses of ceremonies. The black-tie event will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by a three-course dinner and dancing to the high-energy music of Terry Lee & the GT’s playing songs of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex disorder of brain development characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. The most obvious symptoms tend to emerge between ages 2 and 3, but some children are diagnosed at an earlier age. Each individual with autism is unique. Many of those on the autism spectrum have exceptional abilities in visual, musical and academic skills.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified about one in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum — a tenfold increase in 40 years.

Proceeds from the event will go to the nonprofit foundation to support programs benefiting individuals with autism. For 29 years, it has been a leader in supporting local programs. In 2012, it changed its name from CADEF: The Childhood Autism Foundation to the Autism Foundation of Georgia to represent the broader statewide programs of awareness and services benefiting children, adults and families affected by autism.

Tickets and information: (404) 712-2384 or

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Organizers of the Atlanta Science Festival are giving everyone in the metro region a chance to “get in touch with their inner scientist” during an eight-day series of science-related events March 22 through 29, culminating in a free all-day public Exploration Expo March 29 at Centennial Olympic Park downtown.

Fifty locations will host more than 100 performances, exhibits, lectures, demonstrations, workshops, guided walks and more to bring local scientists, experts, teachers and entrepreneurs into contact with communities of young people, adults and families who are interested in the role science and technology plays in today’s world.

The free expo will offer non-stop, big-bang activities; out-of-this world experiments; pop-up interactive exhibits; mind-bending games and a full lineup of science-oriented entertainment.

In support of the festival collaboration, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said, “Science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] education is vital to the future of our state, our city and our children.”

Festival co-founder Meisa Salaita, Ph.D., director of education, outreach and diversity for the National Science Foundation/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution, added, “The Atlanta Science Festival aims to encourage people to relate science in their daily lives and build an appreciation for its importance.”

Her fellow co-founders are Jordan Rose, associate director for the Center for Science Education at Emory University, and Sarah Peterson, PhD, program coordinator for Emory’s Laney Graduate School for arts and sciences.

Salaita has forged a creative collaboration of scientific, educational, corporate, civic, cultural and community organizations led by founding partners Emory, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

Most of the separate events are free to the public and created to inspire and educate people of all ages. The festival‘s full agenda with ticket and reservation information is listed on its website.

Tickets and information: (770) 322-4992 or

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