GREENSBURG – Tuesday evening’s Chautauqua program at Greensburg Community High School promised an appropriately eclectic show – and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
An enormous crowd gathered in the GCHS auditorium to take in the spectacle of seven performers as different as their musical genres. The varied productions ran the sonic gamut from bluegrass to rock, and the audience clearly loved every minute of it.
The show appeared to be everything to everyone, as audience members clapped, sang along with the performers and moved in their seats to the music. Perhaps more importantly, they all stayed – from the opening number to the final curtain some two hours later, spilling out into the aisles afterward for autographs and an opportunity to meet some very familiar faces.
One of the headliners of the evening, Rodney Dillard, a Grammy-nominated bluegrass musician known for his appearances on The Andy Griffith Show, complimented his audience and positively compared the citizens in attendance to those of the fabled Mayberry.
Dillard and his wife played “Dooley,” then performed a skit where a harmonica was shoved into Rodney’s mouth. A consummate performer, Dillard played an entire song on the harmonica with the instrument firmly lodged between his cheeks. The performance earned a loud ovation.
The musician also recounted a meeting with Francis Bavier, the late actress who portrayed Aunt Bea on the classic sitcom. Dillard’s malamute wound up “marking his territory” on the actress’ dress in the encounter, he said. Despite that embarrassing incident, the musician described Bavier as “very, very nice” to work with noting she often baked brownies for those on the set of the legendary TV show.
The Dillard’s performance was preceded by a well-received set by rising country music star Katie Armiger. The singer, who has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and had her debut album reach the Top Ten of the Billboard charts, led off the show and left the stage to thunderous applause.