By Brent Brown Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — GREENSBURG – Visitors to Greensburg Community High School (GCHS) the evening of Nov. 5 may not recognize every face they see on the stage of the school’s auditorium, though the numerous guests’ voices and instruments are bound to ring a bell or two.
This fall’s evening Chautauqua finds its focus firmly directed upon the musical talents of several familiar personalities as well as some up and coming stars ready to make their mark in the industry. Taken as a whole, this year’s fall Chautauqua is an eclectic blend of performers who’ve appeared at Woodstock, the Grand Ole Opry and essentially everywhere in-between.
GCHS history teacher John Pratt is once again the architect of the program, which is set to include a smorgasbord of musical genres all under one roof. And as the case has been since Pratt first began the twice-a-year program during his tenure at North Decatur High School, there’s likely to be something for everyone.
As much a marriage of history and culture as one is likely to see at any given moment in the Tree City, the biannual Chautauqua promises visits from artists who’ve made their respective marks in nearly every facet of entertainment.
Bluegrass musician Rodney Dillard is likely a well-known face for fans of the Andy Griffith Show. One quarter of Denver Pyle’s slightly uncouth group of fictional sons known as “the Darlings,” Dillard’s appearances in Mayberry often led to headaches for Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife. In the real world, however, Dillard and his musical brethren have been nominated for a Grammy and are well known among bluegrass aficionados. Dillard was originally scheduled to perform at this past spring’s Chautauqua, but circumstances prohibited his appearance.
If Rodney Dillard reminds listeners of bluegrass and country’s past, up and coming country singer/songwriter Katie Armiger may well become the genre’s future.
Armiger’s debut album reached the top 10 on the Country Billboard Charts and featured 14 tracks written by the artist. Armiger has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and has been an opening act for country music stars such as Darius Rucker and Brad Paisley.
Katie Armiger may soon become a staple of radio, though her Chautauqua co-performer Terry “Buzzy” Johnson has been there for decades. Johnson was the lead singer of the Flamingos, famous for their ‘50s hit, “I Only Have Eyes for You.” Johnson’s career has been spent in the presence of Motown legends such as Smokey Robinson and The Temptations. Johnson and the Flamingos also made numerous appearances on American Bandstand and were awarded the prestigious Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 1996.
“Buzzy” will be joined at the GCHS auditorium by the lead singer of the popular ‘80s group The BusBoys. That group, led by Brian O’Neal, found their biggest hit with “The Boys Are Back in Town,” which was used in 48 Hours starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. O’Neal and his group also added a track to 1984’s Ghostbusters soundtrack and spent much of the early ‘80s touring with Murphy, which included being a part of the comedian’s famed “Delirious” comedy concert tour.
Following up any of those acts might be difficult for a performer of lesser caliber than Nancy Nevins, but the former front-woman of Sweetwater may well be up to the task. After all, Nevins and her group were the first individuals to perform at the original Woodstock concert in 1969. Sweetwater once toured with the Doors and is perhaps best known for their hit, “Motherless Child.”
Another famous band of yesteryear, Orleans, made a name for itself in the 1970s with songs such as “Still the One” and “Dance with Me.” The group’s bass player, Lance Hoppen, is scheduled to appear at the Chautauqua concert performing some of his original works.
This year’s Chautauqua, in addition to stars whose works have been part of radio playlists for years, also features a few performers who made their marks in music on the stage.
Emmy-winner Liz Callaway has been a Broadway star for years, appearing in the first production of Miss Saigon and singing “Memory” from Cats for several years. Callaway later lent her vocal talents to animated films such as The Swan Princess and Disney’s The Lion King 2.
German-born Jann Klose is no stranger to the stage either, having appeared in productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Tommy. Klose has four albums to his credit and a Grammy nomination, in addition to touring with the likes of Suzanne Vega and Roseanne Cash, according to the Chautauqua website.
The evening will also feature the talents of pianist Jacqueline Schwab, who played the somber melodies heard in the background of Ken Burns’ famous “The Civil War” documentary series.
John Pratt expressed excitement for the evening concert, which follows a day of presentations to GCHS students. The show begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5. Tickets are $5 in advance from the school or may be purchased at the door for $7.
For more information, contact John Pratt at 812-663-7176, ext. 1222, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More details are also available at the Chautauqua’s website at http://mattrust.us/greensburgchautauqua/
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056