The 30th annual and final Tina-Avalon Country Music Show will be presented this weekend — Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, at 7 p.m. — at the school's gymnasium.
Admission to the show is a freewill donation. Funds raised by this show (usually $4,000 to $5,000 per year) are used to help fund Alumni scholarships, as well as to do special projects for the music department at the school. Three scholarships of $500 each will be offered this year. Since 1997, 41 scholarships have been awarded, financed primarily by proceeds of this show.
"After 30 years, this show is still fresh and exciting," said Mary Jones, who was part of the original group and has served as show director/coordinator each year.
Showcasing only local talent, the show is performed with a live band, comprised of some of the best musicians in the area. Again this year, Terrie Henry, keyboard artist and music teacher, is joined by Tim Dungan, Rick Phillips, Lee Jones, John Batson, Carl Walby, Bailey Phillips, and Jaime Hesler to perform as the T-A Country Band.
Rehearsals begin in late January, and the performers and their songs are set by mid-February. Rehearsals every Sunday afternoon create a show that is well-prepared.
"This show is a fascinating combination of young and old, as well as traditional and contemporary country," Jones said.
The variety keeps the show fast-paced and entertaining for all.
Performing in the show this year are: John Batson, Michelle Brockmeier, Riley Churan, Angel Dennis, Ava Dennis, Terryn Dodson, Tim Dunagen, Khloey Forst, Laney Forst, Konner Gilson, Kris Gilson, Hannah Guilford, Kimberly Guilford, Rachel Guilford, Jake Henry, Kayla Henry, Terrie Henry, Jaime Hesler, Kim Jones, Kody Kennebeck, Molly Kennebeck, Penny Kennebeck, Bailey Phillips, Rick Phillips, Dylan Rucker, Ben Savage, Clayton Savage, Parker Savage, Beverley Seig, Emma Suchsland, Ashley Venable, Carl Walby, and Jackie Wooden.
Norma Venable will, again, serve as the emcee. Alan Crisswel of Vox Box is in charge of the sound. Renee Trussell has been in charge of video recording the event for several years, and will have DVDs available for sale following this final show.
The T-A Country Music Show originated in 1983, when then-Tina-Avalon Superintendent Merl O'Neal observed that the T-A community had an unusual amount of musical talent and a real interest in country music and live performance. He convened a group of residents and alumni to put together a community talent show.
The original group included Carolyn Maberry, Carl Walby, and Mary Jones. Jones has served as director/coordinator every year. Walby has been involved in every one of the shows, as a performer. Carolyn Maberry and her accordion performed in 28 out of the 30 years. Penny (Huff) Kennebeck sang in every show but one.
Terri (Potter) Henry joined the show in 1990, when she was hired to teach music at the Tina-Avalon School.
Page 2 of 2 - "Her talent and willingness to continue to work with this show through the years has made it possible for the show to be high-quality entertainment," Jones said. "From the very amateur beginnings, the show and the group quickly grew and changed into a show that has been eagerly anticipated by both performers and audiences from far and wide for 30 years."
Thirty years brought lots of changes, Jones said.
"Many friendships have been forged and many friends have moved away or passed away." Jones said. "The personnel in the band has changed as needed. The show has served to showcase experienced and familiar performers, and has been a training ground for many young people who quickly grew into polished performers."
"The show has been the result of true community cooperation, with many people working in the background every year," the director stated.
Suzanne Stark, Rick Phillips, Jackie Wooden, Larry and Evelyn Kerby, Mary and Robet Maasdam, and Susan Rucker, as well as all Tina-Avalon administrators, have been essential in the operation of this show. The sophomore class has always been in charge of parking cars, and the junior class provides the concession stand, which serves dinner for those who arrive early to get their preferred seating.
The concession stand will begin serving at 5 p.m., so arrive early for close parking and have dinner before the show. Professional video and audio recordings of the show will be available to order following the show.