Christmas Concert Kicks Off Holiday Arts Events

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Act of Congress, a bluegrass band from Birmingham, Ala., is consistently voted one of the “Must See Live Acts of Alabama.” Local residents will have a chance to hear their “must see” sound at a Christmas concert Thursday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Marysville High School auditorium.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased online at Tickets are also available at CJ Express East and West, Marysville, and My Sister’s Kitchen, Waterville. Children twelve and under are admitted free; a ticket is not needed for children.

The performance is sponsored by the Marshall County Arts Cooperative.

The group’s founding members, Chris Griffin and Adam Wright, met in college. Wright, a pianist, and Griffin, a guitar player, were interested in blending the sounds of progressive bluegrass with softer pop melodies. Tim Carroll, an upright bass player, joined the group in 2006. A few years later Connie Skellie was added to play the fiddle and incorporate her unique voice to the mix.

Thursday’s holiday concert features a combination of Act of Congress’ unique Christmas arrangements, originals, and a few covers of Christmas classics. The program is diverse appealing to all ages and backgrounds.

Act of Congress was selected as the 2016 artist for “Keep Alabama Beautiful,” and is currently performing original music at live venues, festivals, and with national symphonies; including four performances with Alabama Symphony Orchestra. The group has backed up country music star, Sara Evans, and American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks. They have also been the opening act for Toby Keith and John Mayer.

“I’m really looking forward to the concert,” said Sally Oliver, a board member for the arts cooperative. “It’s a chance to go out with your family and friends and get in the Christmas spirit.”

The concert is the final performance for the arts cooperative’s 2019 season of artists. The cooperative will announce its 2020 season at their annual musical revue fundraiser January 17, 18, and 19 at the American Legion, Marysville.

For more information about the concert visit

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.