Oldies Show Rocks Rector

Thursday, September 5, 2013
Shannon "Elvis" Freeman greets a young fan on his way to the stage

A crowd of around 300 gathered Friday night to enjoy the smooth sounds of The Ultimate Oldies Show at the Rector Community Center. There was an unmistakable energy in the building, as the crowd anxiously awaited the talented ensemble.

The cast certainly did not disappoint.

Craig Morris, Donna Rhodes, Shannon Freeman, Ryan Fisher, Suzie Freligh, Chandler Gill, Sam Morris, Savannah Morris, Lori Dial and Richie Williams astounded the audience with their incredible vocals.

Musicians providing the music which set many toes to tapping and had the large crowd enthralled from the opening beat included Ken Wadley on piano, Mark Owen on guitar, Brad Owen on bass, Teddy Hoke on drums, Josh Mobley on trumpet and Michael Newsom on saxophone.

Beloved songs received new life through a steady stream of amazing performances, distributed one after another in individual and group performances like the cars on a passing train. As one memorable performance ended another quickly began with singer and emcee Williams welcoming another member to the stage and providing brief notes on the featured artist and song.

The audience showed their delight with cheers and applause to renditions of classic cuts like "Old Time Rock and Roll," "Crying," "Cat's in the Cradle," "I Only Want to be with You," and many, many more. Even "The King" made a special appearance, doing his best Shannon Freeman impression for a trio of some of his biggest hits, "Hound Dog," "All Shook Up" and "Suspicious Minds." Donna Rhodes and the rest of the Morris Family joined in for backing vocals, a song in which Rhodes originally performed backing vocals in its original studio recording.

Each artist performed multiple times during the flashback feature, providing outstanding solos, duets and group medleys to an energetic and appreciative audience.

The crowd was made up of Rector natives as well as visitors from Piggott, Corning, Jonesboro, Paragould and even out-of-state fans (many in town for Rector's Labor Day Picnic) from California, Texas, Illinois and Michigan and others.

"It was absolutely incredible," community center director Linda Robinson said. "The show was amazing, the response was amazing and the effort of everyone involved was amazing! We just felt so honored to have The Ultimate Oldies Show here in Rector. It was a great show and I've heard so many wonderful compliments from everyone who attended."

The show and the efforts of The Ultimate Oldies crew and local volunteers transformed the Rector Community Center into a worthy concert hall. The Ultimate Oldies returned to Rector after performing at the center a year ago.

"It was another fantastic performance by everyone in The Ultimate Oldies Show," Robinson said. "We are just so honored to have the opportunity to have them here. Everyone here tonight knows how wonderful this show is, as does anyone who's ever seen them perform. It was just outstanding!"

Robinson isn't alone in her assessment of the talented group. A lively crowd applauded throughout the show with many in attendance singing along with their favorite tunes.

New lighting installed at the center helped set the ambience for the event. Dimmable lighting and improved air conditioning are two of the upgrades the center has made through hosting special events and concerts over the past year. Robinson and an active group of volunteers hope to make more improvements, and host more exciting events, in the near future.

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