The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts observes a half century of bringing Broadway and Vegas-style shows to Valdosta this week.

The Presenter Series is 50 years old this season and the 2017-18 season opens with “Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & Roll” Friday evening.

The show celebrates iconic rock stars such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Frankie Valli, The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, The Who, Janis Joplin, Carole King, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Linda Ronstadt, Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Journey and many others.

It also looks at the music that formed the roots of rock and roll. The show focuses on the era from 1931-81, ending with the death of John Lennon and the arrival of MTV.

The show cast blends Berg’s Broadway and rock pedigrees by starring performers who have had roles in Broadway rock musicals such as “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Rent,” “Hair,” “Rock of Ages,” etc.

To start the new season, organizers host a pre-show event, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, in the multi-purpose room of Mathis City Auditorium, prior to the “50 Years of Rock & Roll” show. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the 2300 N. Ashley St. facility.

It marks a rare Friday Presenter Series show. The show will be followed by an “Encore’ gathering at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts.

But there’s nothing rare about the Presenter Series which was bringing nationally touring, professional shows to Valdosta decades before there even was an Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts. It started with the Lowndes/Valdosta Arts Commission, which is the umbrella organization for the arts center.

The shows have become long-standing traditions for some families. These families keep the same seats year after year through their season tickets.

Others discover a full season they would like to see each year.

Some may love to see one or two shows while having no interest in the other productions.

We commend the arts center board and staff for its continued efforts in bringing the Presenter Series to life each season.

It is only one facet of the many artistic programs initiated by the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts.

The Presenter Series is one of the numerous parts of the Valdosta-Lowndes County arts and cultural scene.

It’s easy to take for granted that few cities the size of Valdosta can boast a premier arts center such as the Turner Center, or an orchestra, or a university providing plays, art exhibits, concerts, readings, etc., or community theatre, two children’s theatre organizations ... not to mention the arts programs available in area schools.

Valdosta is blessed to have such a wide variety of artistic presentations and such a large number of talented people.

More information: Visit the arts center at 527 N. Patterson St.; or the website, www.turnercenter.org; or call (229) 247-2787. The Valdosta Daily Times is a Presenter Series sponsor.

 

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