Danny & the Juniors was the first of six acts to hit the stage at the Emporia-Greensville Performing Arts Center Saturday for the Doo Wop Live show to wrap up the Meherrin River Arts Council’s 2019 Music Concert Series. Belting out classic hits “At the Hop”, “Rock ’n Roll is Hear To Stay” and others quickly drew in an audience that remained engaged throughout the evening.
“I was 11 when a lot of these songs came out,” Janet Arrington said. “This is great. I love it.”
Though the music bouncing over the air waves in the Emporia-Greensville Performing Arts Center were songs that became hits approximately 60 years ago, they were familiar sounds that crossed generational lines.
The “Sock Hop” sounds of the 1950s and early 1960s came from The Crystals, Jay Siegel’s Tokens, Joey Dee & the Starliters and the Flamingos followed Danny & the Juniors. The performers had no problem interacting with an audience that sang along with the tunes they have heard for years.
Siegel arguably had the song that crossed generational lines more than others heard throughout the show with the 1961 smash “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. Siegel said it was a song he would sing in Brighton Beach, N.Y. as a kid. About six years after he began singing the tune he recorded the song and it went to No. 1.
Three decades later the tune was a big part of the movie “The Lion King”. The song became a hit once again. On Saturday the audience helped Siegel and his band sing the song once again.
“I have three kids,” Cindy Flanagan said. “They are 25, 15 and 5. Everyone of them know the song by heart. This is really a lot of fun.”
Mother and daughter Star Newsome and Lovicia Newsome, respectively, were both familiar with the songs they were hearing. Star grew up in Harlem and was a faithful fan of American Bandstand. She said Saturday’s show brought her back to those days.
Though Lovicia was not alive when the songs performed Saturday first became hits, it still brought back memories of her childhood when her mother and grandparents would play their records of the same songs. The music was familiar to both, but attending a Meherrin River Arts Council Concert Series show was not.
“I’m absolutely amazed,” Star said. “This is an impressive venue. There is some really great talent here. I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”
Lovicia looked at her mother and replied, “I’m having a great time.”
When the final act left the stage Saturday, it marked the end of the 41st season of the MRAC Concert Series.
It was yet another show that people left with a smiling face after having a great time.