One local music minister is celebrating the achievement of a life-long dream by opening his very own performing arts center this month in Lincolnton.
Brian Jackson has always been intrigued by the arts, participating in musical theatre and songwriting since a young age, he said.
He plans to use his new business, Encore Performing Arts Center, which started its first day of classes on Tuesday, as a place to educate and develop the talents of both local amateur artists as well as individuals interested in competition.
Open for classes Monday through Thursday, Encore not only offers instruction in voice, drama and dance, but also provides private one-on-one lessons, also known as “intensives,” two days a week.
Jackson said the center uses Friday and Saturday to host private lessons along with Encore’s competitive or “company” rehearsals. In order to participate in Encore Competitive Company, students must audition.
While the arts center currently only maintains two full-time instructors, including Jackson and local 19-year-old dance teacher Sabrina Wilson, Encore also brings in part-time instructors to offer students more specialized lessons in areas like acoustic guitar, drums and mandolin.
Jackson’s sons, 13-year-old Wells and 10-year-old Brooks, are two of Encore’s nearly 25 child and adult students. The brothers specialize in dance and recently won a national tap championship using choreography Wilson created, Jackson said.
Encore also offers ballet and lyrical dance styles.
Encore serves its students in a Christian-based environment.
“We are Christ-centered business, and we are proud of that,” Jackson said.
Jackson, a High Shoals resident, said he believes dabbling in the art field should be a part of every person’s life. For him, art provides unique opportunities to showcase his creativity.
“It has really broadened my mind and perspective and allowed me to go places and do things that I may not have been able to experience (without it),” Jackson said.
He feels art additionally unites people from all backgrounds.
“It doesn’t matter your socio-economic condition or stature,” he said. “None of those things matter in the arts. You can just have a wonderful experience…just by humming a tune or tapping your foot.”
For years, friends and family have approached him about teaching voice lessons.
“I love music, and I love to share music with people,” he said.
The 42-year-old spent several years traveling as a contemporary Christian musician and has an album available on iTunes.
It wasn’t until he discovered Wilson and her dancing abilities, and offered her a full-time job with Encore, that his vision for the business expanded into a complex arts center.
“We moved from just a vocal center to a fine arts facility by having her on board,” he said.
Jackson’s wife DeRee also works at Encore, teaching piano lessons.
For the last eight years, Jackson has headed Boger City United Methodist Church’s music ministry, serving in the same role previously at Faith United Methodist Church in Gastonia.
Encore is looking to enroll more students.
“There are so many opportunities for children to be a part of something that doesn’t build them up and encourage them,” Jackson said. “Art opens up their minds to use their creativity to impact society for good. It’s limitless. You can go as far as you want to go in it.”
Encore also features an area where parents and other guardians can relax — sip coffee, surf the Internet or read a book — while children practice.
Jackson also installed a closed-circuit TV inside the room for people to watch lessons. He said he thought of the idea after thinking of his own children.
“If I could have been a fly on the wall, I would have loved to have been there and be involved,” he said. “Maybe they (parents) can get inspired themselves by watching.”
For more information on Encore Performing Arts Center and tuition prices, contact (704) 748-4775 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit encoreartsonline.com.
“We are looking forward to being a part of the community, performing in the community and bringing arts education to Lincoln County,” Jackson said.
Encore’s competitive groups plan to showcase their talent at this month’s Apple Festival in Lincolnton.