What's your favorite thing about the holiday season in the Chattahoochee Valley?
My favorite thing about the holiday season in the Chattahoochee Valley is the music and the variety of programs that are available for people to attend. Musicians who normally play a certain style of music are seen around town performing with groups that they rarely see or have never met because Christmas music has brought them together. The skill level it takes to play some holiday music is a challenge and it is so much fun to perform a really challenging piece. I love to see the audience reactions to the quality of shows we have here and be told years later that they remember it well, it touched them or made them happy.
I also love people's willingness to give during the holidays. Whether they are giving money for a cause or food at food banks or volunteering, the people in the Valley are very open-hearted this time of year.
Many people know you from your role in organizing Phenix City Amphitheater shows. What's your dream act to bring to the venue?
That is a difficult question, I would love to bring Earth, Wind and Fire, Chicago, Nickel Creek, Andrae Crouch or Harry Connick Jr. I couldn't narrow it down to one because I love so many types From an entertainment
standpoint, how has Phenix City grown in recent years?
Phenix City is blessed to have such a beautiful venue at The Phenix City Amphitheater. We have had some amazing shows there. I have stood on that stage many nights and seen rock legends, country legends and rising stars who have since then made it big, such as Luke Bryant and Jake Owen.
There are also other venues for music, such as the auditorium at the Central Activity Center where we have little tribute shows to the Grand Ole Opry, local pickers at "Let's Pick" on Thursday nights and special shows. The little wooden stage and the sweetness of the old high school auditorium is very special to me.
We also have entertainment out in the park at Moon Lake, including a Gospel Music Festival in the spring and holiday music as well. We are going to see more venues being built and more stages to fill. It is a very exciting thing for our community.
You're a musician. What was your most memorable performance this year?
My most memorable performance this year was opening for our last concert of the season. People often ask me why I'm not performing as much and why I don't open more often. So I called some of my music buddies and we came up with a show called PEACH JAM.
It was so much fun. We practiced once and it sounded like we play together all the time. We all picked our favorite songs from the '70s and the only requirement I added was that each selection had to have a lot of harmony so we could all sing together. We sang Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac and more. I want to make it a tradition and continue the PEACH JAM concept and each year perform jazz or country or classic rock or whatever is fun with different musicians each time. I can't wait to start working on the next show.
What's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
The amazing talent that is here. We are saturated with it. There are amazing songwriters and musicians from every genre. Poets, dancers, artists, writers -- you name it, we have it here. Some of them are not as visible and I am often surprised when I meet someone who is an attorney or a doctor or a pastor and discover that they are also musicians or have another very strong talent. I love to tell our national acts who perform at The Phenix City Amphitheater about our music scene here. It really makes me proud.