Community Concerts “Is Back”

            With an off-Broadway musical tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and a performance by The Oak Ridge Boys, a holdover from 2020, Community Concerts returns for its 86th season and is buoyed by two new Masters of Ceremony sponsors in Cape Fear Valley Health System and CityView Magazine.

“We’re honored to be a part of this,” said Mike Nagowski, CEO of Cape Fear Valley Health. “Community Concerts is important to the community. It’s a cornerstone. We’re happy to participate.”

CityView publisher Tony Chavonne agreed.

“CityView is proud to partner with Community Concerts to help celebrate their 86th year of creating exciting and memorable concerts to Fayetteville,” he said.

The Isley Brothers kick off the season at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 in the Crown Coliseum.

            “Every season is a challenge, and our 86th season a challenge all the greater for our board of directors in the wake of the COVID 19 health pandemic,” said Bill Kirby Jr, president of the oldest arts organization in Cumberland County. “Yet, the board remained steadfast in its efforts to bring musical entertainment back to the community as we return to normalcy following the health crisis.”

            Other concerts, scheduled for The Crown Theatre, are Rick Springfield at 7 p.m. on Oct. 2; Straight No Chaser at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4; The Jersey Boys at 7:30 p.m. on April 28, 2022; and The Oak Ridge Boys at 7:30 p.m. on May 13, 2022.

            A fifth concert to be announced, Kirby said, is awaiting confirmation.

            The concerts are presented in association with The Crown Complex and Spectra Venue Management.

            “And our board is most proud of securing Cape Fear Valley Health and CityView Magazine as our Master of Ceremonies and lead sponsors in reaching out to assure that we could continue in our efforts to serve the Fayetteville, Cumberland County and Cape Fear Region with concerts that engage our patrons and concert-goers,” Kirby said. “Our Community Concerts board of directors cannot express its gratitude to CFVH and CityView Magazine, and it is our hope that CFVH and CityView Magazine will be our Master of Ceremony executive sponors for seasons to come.”

Kirby added that this year’s nominee for Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame also will be announced at one of the concerts.

The Season

            Michael Fleishman is attractions director for Community Concerts and says the 2021-2022 concert has something for everyone.

            “We are excited to begin the season with The Isley Brothers, who are Grammy legends and Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famers,” he says. “Special guests will include Leela James, who is a rhythm and blues powerhouse, and comedian MC Lightfoot, who will have you laughing from the get-go. The Isley Brothers is a dynamic concert too big for the theater, so we’re moving it to a 3,000-seat setup in the Coliseum.”

            You’ll remember Rick Springfield from his 1982 Grammy Award-winning “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers” in 1983 and “Affair of the Heart” in 1984, “I’ve Done Everything for You,” “Love Somebody” and “Human Touch.”

            “And don’t forget that Rick Springfield was a regular as Dr. Noah Drake on the ‘General Hospital’ soap opera from 1981 to 1983 and a cast member in 1995 with the original Broadway production of ‘Smokey Joe’s Café,’” Fleishman says.

Springfield is a Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and musician, who has sold 25 million albums and scored 17 U.S. Top 40 hits. He’s an accomplished actor who has starred opposite Meryl Streep in the feature film “Ricki and the Flash,” gave a chameleonic performance as the creepy Dr. Pitlor in HBO’s prestige drama “True Detective,” earned great reviews for his portrayal of Lucifer on the CW hit “Supernatural” and most recently played Pastor Charles on “American Horror Story.”

            Fleishman calls “Straight No Chaser” an evening of “pitch-perfect hits and Christmas favorites from the a cappella group that has become a world-wide sensation.

            “Name a song,” Fleishman says, “and this group of talented singers can sing it. Our audience will not be disappointed.”

            And, Fleishman says, he long wanted to bring The Jersey Boys to the Community Concerts stage.

            “Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons,” he says. “It’s the Tony Award-winning true-life musical phenomenon.”

            The 2021-2022 Community Concerts season concludes with The Oak Ridge Boys, a concert rescheduled as a result of postponement from the 2021 season because of the COVID-19 health pandemic.            

            “True to their commitment, The Oak Ridge Boys will be here to close out our season,” Fleishman says. “New season tickets will be mailed to 2021 season members, and news season members can add this show to make your 2021-2022 season even bigger.”

            Season memberships will go on sale next week, Kirby said, and the Community Concerts of Fayetteville website, community-concerts.com, also will be active next week. To purchase season tickets or for other inquiries, call Becky Spell at 910-303-3513 or Michael Fleishman at 910-323-1991.

“Community Concerts is back,” Bill Kirby Jr. says. “We would not be back, however, without Mike Nagowski and Cape Fear Valley Health, Tony Chavonne and CityView Magazine, our anonymous benefactor and the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County, and surely Jim Grafstrom, chief executive officer at the Crown Complex. Or without our board members of Donna Vann, Flo Edwards, Bernadette Bogertey, Richard Bradford, Mark Parsons, Mark Lynch, Dr. Jerry Fonke, Carolina Fonke, Glenda Britt, Al Cardenas, Cindy Nobles, Bill Drewry, Ann Lewis, Carl Piraneo, Glenda Britt, Larkin Pfeffer, our operations manager Becky Spell and our attractions director Michael Fleishman. They stayed the course in the face of countless hurdles. We are grateful to all, and grateful to our patrons, who fill our seats and attend our concerts season after season after season.”