Play it again Sam

Published 10:48 am Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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By:  Leila Case

We were in our favorite seats at the historic Rylander Theatre for last Friday night’s musical comedy, “Three Red Neck Tenors: Broadway Bound,” that was “over the top” wonderful. The very talented tenors’/comedians’ performance, to quote my friend Jimmy Poole “knocked it out of the park.”

Indeed, they did. The threesome, Matthew Lord, Blake Davidson and Jonathan Fruge, sang and joked and interacted with the audience for two full hours. They were awesome and they had everyone laughing long after the final number. The sell- out show was among the 2019-2020 season series presented by the Friends of the Rylander and booked by Heather Stanley, managing director of the theatre. Kudos to Stanley and the staff for Friday’s great evening. Everything was perfect.

Afterwards, the performers were swamped at a meet and greet in the lobby, where they sold CD’s, posed for camera phone photos and chatted amiably with everyone who stopped by. Unfortunately, my phone had no power – so no photo for me but I did buy their CD and it’s great.

Incidentally, Stanley was in the theatre’s main lobby as we arrived, meeting and greeting patrons. She was in New York City earlier last week for the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Conference that she described as an amazing experience.

Attending the conference was made possible through a grant from the APAP Family Showcase Group and the Fox Theatre Institute. Heather has served as the President of the Georgia Presenters, a statewide block booking consortium, since 2015. Among conference highlights were meetings with other state consortia leaders, participating in professional development, and attending over 50 individual talent showcases –what fun.

The conference had over 4,000 attendees that included presenters like Stanley, agents, and performing artists. While she was there she enjoyed a very special impromptu reunion with three former colleagues. She commented that when she began her professional career 10 years ago these three people guided her in their own way and even though they aren’t all together in Georgia anymore they will always be like family to her.

By the way Stanley told me she rubbed shoulders with celebrities Chubby Checkers, comedians Yakov Smirnoff, Jen Kober and saw a showcase by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson (sons of Ricky Nelson), and a showcase featuring former members of The Village People. (Can you book them into the Rylander?)

I don’t know but she drop a hint that Rylander patrons can expect more family and children’s programming, some fun tribute shows, and some new up-and-comers for the 2020-2021 Friends season.

Our weekend of roller coaster fun actually began last Thursday night at the debut performance of “Beer and Hymns” at Pat’s Place.  It was a great night of singing by everyone and if you missed the initial presentation, no worries – this is a monthly sing-along featuring a mix of old hymns, folk songs and a mash up of the two with a bit of contemporary throw in and everyone joining in the singing.

Beer and Hymns was initiated and planned by the Rev. Richard Nelson, rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, and his wife, Deacon Geri Nelson, and feature a band of local musicians dubbed “The Low Flying Angels.” The talented group is comprised of Fr. Nelson, Deacon Geri, guitarists and vocalists; Barry McConotha, keyboard; Sam Peavy, guitarist; Jennifer Fowler, guitarist; John Michael Rowe, vocalist; Bill Harris Jr., harmonica; Ralph Cornwell, bass guitar, and Colton Mims, guitarist.

Pat’s was packed from front to back – and in between and we all had a great time singing and munching on goodies from Pat’s vast menu. The next Beer and Hymns is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, February 20. Everyone is welcome so plan to attend and enjoy some good old fashioned singing.

Meanwhile, we learned a bit of history at the monthly meeting of the Council of Safety Chapter, DAR, when Phyllis Tucker of Leslie, assisted by Gay Sheppard and Nancy Hayes gave an interesting program about the 21 flags that have played a significant role in our American history.

Also we had a mini history lesson at the Americus Town Committee of the Colonial Dames meeting at The Carnegie and led by Town Chairman Jane Arnold. We learned about the four museum houses owned by the National Society The Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA): Dumbarton House in Washington, DC, Gunston Hall, home of George Mason, author of the bill of rights, in Gooseneck, Virginia, the Andrew Low House, headquarters of the Georgia Society, NSCDA in Savannah, and Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington just outside of London. The presenters were Ann Harris, Wilma Kinslow, JoAnn Pope and Jean Wheeler.