Rector Concert a Big Success
From the first song played, a cover of Roy Orbison's "You Got It," to the familiar strains of "Sweet Home Alabama" which marked the finale, Saturday's performances by Chad Garrett, Ken Wadley and Lindsey Ford at the Rector Community Center was a bona fide success for all involved.
"It was a wonderful show," community center director Linda Robinson said. "There was a feeling of energy in the air and everyone just seemed to really enjoy the performances."
A crowd of approximately 250 people turned out for the evening of song. Garrett, known by many throughout the area for his performances and songwriting abilities, has performed at many of the top venues throughout the region. Wadley, a talented musician known widely for playing with The Ultimate Oldies Show, showed his skills can translate to any musical style. Hometown girl Ford, only 17, had a breakout performance, wowing any who were unfamiliar with her vocal talents prior to the start of the evening.
The artists performed around 30 songs, with each drawing enthusiastic applause. Some of the loudest ovations were heard for Garrett and Wadley's rendition of "Great Balls of Fire," with Wadley tickling the ivories and Garrett belting out the lyrics. Ford's rendition of Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" was as powerful as any performance shown around the globe. The combined effort on the Conway Twitty-Loretta Lynn duet of "Mississippi Woman, Louisiana Man" drew approving responses from those fans who fondly recalled the original, as well as those younger listeners unfamiliar with the song before Saturday night.
Ford admitted she was nervous before the start of the show, but any butterflies in her stomach must surely have flown away before the talented teen took the stage, as she carried herself like a seasoned performer.
"It was an incredible feeling," Ford said. "I'm happy to have been a part of it and I'm glad the crowd seemed to have a good time and enjoyed the show. I know we (the performers) sure did."
The reactions were almost overwhelmingly positive. Numerous attendees were heard commenting they would certainly be interested in coming back to another Rector event after enjoying Saturday night's offering.
"The response was even better than we'd hoped," Robinson said. "Everyone I heard from said very good things about the artists and the show itself. Several people said they want to come to any show we have here."
Visitors came from not only Clay County, but also Paragould, Jonesboro, Walnut Ridge and the Missouri towns of Kennett, Senath and Holcomb among other areas to enjoy an evening of country, gospel and rock and roll music.
"There were many people we didn't know who came to the show," Robinson said. "I tried to find out where they were from. We had people from all over come to Rector. It was really something."
Both Garrett and Wadley expressed an interest in returning to Rector in the future. Garrett is expected to perform in town again in June.
"I think they were pleasantly surprised by the turnout," Robinson said. "We're working hard to show just what a small town like Rector can offer people."
The concert was part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the Rector Community Center and raise funds for a matching grant to continue improvements to the site. With Saturday night's strong showing, the future for events at the Rector Community Center is bright indeed.
"We're already working on bringing more events to Rector," Robinson said.