After Dark at All Saints readies for new season

By on December 31, 2022

Angel Dobler has taught After Dark cooking classes for several years and is back this year- teaching Groovy Finger Foods- Formulas & Techniques.
Trio's Wine Tasting- this year Sharon Hutterman will do a wine tasting class - Tour de France.
Amanda and Randolph Sprinkle, chefs & owners of Salt Box Cafe are presenting 2 courses each seating 20 guests. They have in recent years offer 2 classes since their class fills so quickly.
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Course offerings range from wine tasting to surf casting, proceeds go to nonprofits

When the All Saints Episcopal Church designed its new facilities in Southern Shores in 2009, the church added a large building next to the sanctuary for the purpose of looking after the children on Sundays. When the building was completed, church members knew it had the potential to be used for more.

“We knew we were going to use it on Sundays for kids, but during the week it sits idle,” said Tom O’Brien, former Chair of the After Dark at All Saints program. “So it was a question of, ‘How can we make this thing more available to the community?’”

O’Brien and other members of the church put their heads together to figure out what they could do to give back to the greater community. A parishioner named John Tucker, who was on the board at Saint Patrick Catholic School in Norfolk, Virginia, mentioned a program Saint Patrick had been running each year to raise money for their school. It consisted of a series of extracurricular classes provided over a period of months to adults in the community in areas ranging from cooking to music to wellness.

The All Saints members decided to try it, but instead of raising money for the church, they would donate all the proceeds to local nonprofits and charities, particularly ones that focus on shelter, food and health. Over the course of 11 years, the program has raised $156,000 for organizations such as Beach Food Pantry, Community Care Clinic of Dare, Food for Thought, Children and Youth Partnership, Room at the Inn, Outer Banks Relief Foundation, and many more. But that’s not the only way they see it benefiting the community.

“There’s two purposes of After Dark,” said Steve Hotchkiss, current chair of the program. “One is the outreach and giving to the community. And the other is to provide something for the community in the middle of the winter to do in the evening and socialize.”

That’s how the program got its name. According to Tim McKeithan, an After Dark committee member, many have come to rely on the classes to beat the winter blues and have fun: “You know, at night, after dark, in the middle of the winter, to get through the long, dreary winter nights.”

All Saints Episcopal Church(Log onto to the After Dark at All Saints site. Help is available by emailing Classes take place in the evening and generally run in the $24-$40-dollar range.

After beginning their first year in 2010 with 32 classes, that number has grown, with a peak of 82 classes in 2017 and 75 classes in 2020 before being canceled the following two years due to the COVID pandemic.

That first year, two teachers came down from Saint Patrick and showed the After Dark committee the ropes, and even taught two of the cooking classes. “And we learned, and we stole shamelessly, but we figured if we’re going to give it all away, we can do that,” noted O’Brien.

They found people from the community to teach classes by simply asking their congregation if they or any of their friends would be interested in teaching classes. Fortunately, according to O’Brien, former Blue Point owner John Power was a member of the church at that time and taught a class with former Blue Point co-owner Sam McGann that continued for the next five years.

“So when you can advertise those two guys, you’ve got a good start,” he said.

Word grew fast and before long there were plenty of interested teachers. According to Hotchkiss and O’Brien, organizing the series is a year-long affair, with the summer being dedicated to looking at the possible instructors, making contacts, and getting yeses or nos. All of the teachers are volunteers and are not paid for the classes.

“They’re doing it primarily for helping out in the community and giving back to the community. They get some publicity for what they do, but it’s not a huge amount for the time that they put in. And we’re grateful for all the people that volunteer and particularly the ones that volunteer year after year,” said Hotchkiss, adding that the most popular classes are the cooking classes and the most popular course is taught by the owners of Salt Box Cafe, Randolph and Amanda Sprinkle, who run their class twice to accommodate the popular demand.

Once the teachers and classes are confirmed, next comes the curriculum and getting all of the details together to publish the catalog, which until this year has been a printed version which they had to have them printed by Christmas. Next comes the registration phase and once they see how classes fill up, they assign classrooms and begin recruiting volunteers to make sure things run smoothly, lights are kept on, doors are unlocked, and so on, during the program.

The most notable thing about the program is the sheer variety of classes. Although the worker shortage led to less chefs being available for cooking classes this year, there are still nine classes ranging from learning healthy gourmet food from local celebrity chef Wes Stepp of Red Sky and NC Coast to spanakopita making with Kiki Kiousis of Stack ‘Em High.

Depending on whether you prefer wine, beer, rum, coffee, or honey, After Dark has a tasting class for each, including The Ancient and Biblical Roots of Wine from Trio sommelier Sharon Hutteman, Rumology from Scott Smith and Matt Joyner of Kill Devil Distillery, and Wake up Your Tastebuds with Coffee Cupping with Ashley from Ashley’s Espresso Parlor.

If you’re more in the mood for music, local musician Robert Jacobs, who’s played at the White House, and presidential inaugural events, will be teaching his class New Orleans Jazz with a focus on Louis Armstrong, featuring a variety of digital accordion, piano and trumpet playing.

For those more interested in history, there is the course called Reconstruction, Jim Crow and Me. Taught by Wayne Barry, Lloyd Brinson, and Spottswood Graves, this course focuses on US history and black/white relations after the American Civil War to understand how the past unconsciously influences present-day race relations.

“Our church is very fluid,” said McKeithan, adding that it now holds dance classes, a shag club, yoga classes, and a surf casting class all within their sanctuary building. “We’re pretty flexible and we’ve got a fair amount of space. So we can accommodate about anything.”

All Saints Episcopal Church (Log onto to the After Dark at All Saints site to view class offerings. Registration starts Saturday, January 7 at 8 a.m. Classes begin January 30 and continue to February 17, 2023. Help is available by emailing Classes take place in the evening and generally run in the $24-$40-dollar range.

See what people are saying:

  • Kathy

    I would like to read this story on After Dark, but the page won’t stay still! The screen moves quickly up and down…

    Tuesday, Jan 3 @ 7:07 pm