There are just two shows left in this year’s Community Concerts season. If you missed Earth, Wind and Fire, Manneheim Steamroller and Honor Flight, there is still time to enjoy two outstanding shows. Kenny Loggins comes to the Crown Feb. 4 and Joan Rivers closes out the season on March 22
.Community Concerts is in its 78th season. Each year the all-volunteer organization strives to bring “the finest in top-notch entertainment to Fayetteville, N.C., and the Fort Bragg/Cumberland County Community.” While the organization does just that each year, its reach goes far beyond the stage.
Michael Fleishman, attractions director for the Community Concerts, is excited about this season. “It has been a fantastic season. Everyone has had a good time and we’ve had great audiences.”
With Earth, Wind and Fire, Community Concerts hosted its biggest show on record. Honor Flight, while unconventional, was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event for many in the audience.
Since 2004, Community Concerts has awarded scholarships to local high school graduates. Twenty-two scholarships have been awarded since the inception of this program.
“We are most proud of Honor Flight,” said Fleishman. “We ended up having a lot of people come to this, and more importantly, a lot of World War II vets attended. The star of the show was the Honor Flight movie about what it means to be an American. It tells the stories of Worl War II vets.”
This is significant because a lot of veterans are very reluctant to talk about their war-time experiences.
“This captured it in a real way,” said Fleishman. “We had an a capella group and the all county band perform that night as well. This show fired on all cylinders. The stars were the vets that were able to attend. We just lost Dr. Ed Garber. I met him for the first time at the show, and that was probably one of the last things he did with his family.”
In addition to some amazing World War II vets that attended, N.C. Governor Pat McCrory was there to present a $125,000 check to the Friends of the Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery. This presentation was on behalf of the N.C. General Assembly, which pledged in July to match funds for the cemetery. Local business professionals, Ginny and Dean Russell, donated $125,000 to the cause as well.
“It has been an unbelievable season so far. We have heard nothing but compliments on Honor Flight,” Fleishman said.
Always looking for ways to promote the arts and connect local talent with opportunity, the organization showcases local artists as a way to involve the community in musical endeavors. During the 2012/2013 season, local music group Voices of the Heart opened for Gladys Knight, the Linda Kinlaw School of Dance performed with Martina McBride and Trae Edwards performed with country legend Ricky Skaggs.
Fleishman is excited to have Kenny Loggins as a part of this season but this particular concert is special for another reason, too. There will be a new induction to the Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame just before the concert kicks off. “This is a very different year — our Hall of Fame inductee is very special. It is our first group to be inducted. It is the 82nd Airborne Chorus,” said Fleishman. “It is kind of different, this year. We wanted to pay special tribute to them because they bring a lot to this community.”
You may not consider yourself a fan of Kenny Loggins, but chances are that you are probably familiar with his work. For well over three decades, Loggins has entertained on a variety of levels. He has written songs, and performed them, too, and covered several genres along the way. In the early 1970s, Loggins was a guitarist for the Electric Prunes. He wrote songs for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, one of which was “House at Pooh Corner.”
In 1972 he released Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin’ In. The album was a big hit and Loggins and Messina spent the next several years recording and touring together. The pair split in 1976, but Loggins set out on his own, recording the albums Celebrate Me Home, and Nightwatch featuring “Whenever I Call you Friend” with Stevie Nix, Keep the Fire, which included the hit “This Is It” and High Adventure.
Blending jazz, rock and pop, Loggins made a name for himself in the industry winning Best Male Pop Vocal Grammy for “This Is It.” He continued to write songs as well and won the Song of the Year at the 1979 Grammys for co-writing “What a Fool Believes” with Michael McDonald, of the Doobie Brothers.
Loggins really hit his stride in the 1980s writing movie theme songs including “I’m Alright” (from Caddyshack), “Footloose” (from Footloose), “Danger Zone” (from Top Gun), and “Nobody’s Fool” (from Caddyshack II). In the 1990s he released Leap of Faith, which included “Conviction of the Heart,” a song that Al Gore claimed as the “unofficial song of the environmental movement.”
He released two children’s CDs in 1994, The Unimaginable Life in 1997, a Christmas album in 1998 and It’s About Time in 2003.
“Kenny Loggins is a great entertainer and he always puts on a good show,” said Fleishman. “You are going to know every single song this guy sings. This is a favorite — he plays all his hits and is very engaging.”
Find out more about Community Concerts and purchase tickets at www.community-concerts.com.
Photo: Community Concerts brings musician Kenny Loggins to the Crown on Feb. 4, as the fourth production in a five-show season.