Opening night for the 2008-2009 season of Brownwood Area Live On Stage arrives Monday, and that means the opportunity to subscribe for the coming year’s series of performers is coming to a close.
But area residents who have not yet enrolled will still be able to do so prior to the start of Monday’s performance by musical satirist Dale Gonyea.
Six concerts are scheduled between now and next spring, BALOS officials said, and the series will open with a bang and a belly-laugh. Gonyea is a skilled musician who is an equally gifted humorist. His act has been described by reviewers as being unique, but in the same vein as performers like Spike Jones, Tom Lehrer, Stan Freberg, P.D.Q. Bach and Victor Borge.
“Warning,” a reviewer for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner wrote about Gonyea. “A highly addictive personality. One shot of his humor and you’re hooked. Blends the musical virtuosity of Dudley Moore with the American social commentary of Garrison Keillor. Refreshing… a comic whirlwind!”
An Emmy-award winner, Gonyea has written songs for Disney’s Aladdin and Sport Goofy, as well as for Bette Midler, Ray Stevens and Rich Little.
“This is really great entertainment, and at $50 for the season it’s a bargain, too, considering you’re getting six concerts,” BALOS President Ed Golden said when he announced the line-up. “This is live entertainment, and it’s a great cultural event for our area.”
All performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. at Victory Life Church, a venue chosen last year because of renovations under way at the organization’s longtime performance hall at Howard Payne University. The convenient parking and ease of access have drawn praise from last year’s attendees.
Golden said during the season, the series will offer programs that will interest almost everyone, and the membership pricing is low enough that joining is worthwhile even if a member can attend only one or two programs.
“You’d spend that much or more driving to another city to see a comparable concert,” Golden said. “And we really don’t have any bad shows.”
Adult memberships covering all six shows are available for $50, and family memberships are $90. Senior citizens may enroll for $45, and student memberships cost $25.
A committee of Live on Stage board members attends an annual showcase of possible performers in Nashville, and Golden said choosing performers to invite to Brownwood is difficult because of the high quality of talent represented.
“We try to bring a diverse mix of concerts,” Golden said. “Anyone who thinks it’s all classical and doesn’t join because of that should look at the type of shows that are being offered.”
They range from the piano-playing humorist that opens the season, to a string quintet, a trio that features bluegrass and ragtime, plus a classical pianist.
Other concerts planned this season include Pavlo, a composer, guitar and singer whose style is best described as Mediterranean mixed with Flamenco and Latin influences. His show will be held at Saturday, Nov. 15.
The Mantini Sisters will perform on Friday, Jan. 9. The trio will offer a blend of music called “Ladies of Broadway” as a tribute to entertainers like Fanny Brice, Ethel Merman, Julie Andrews and Gwen Verdon.
Jade Simmons is scheduled for a show on Monday, Jan. 26, 2009. Conservatory trained at Rice University at the Foundation Bell Art in Brussels, Simmons is committed to broadening the boundaries of classic music.
Thuringer Salonquintett, a quintet in the European tradition composed of two violins and one doubling on viola, cello, double bass and piano, will play Thursday, March 5, 2009.
The season’s finale will be Pianafiddle on Friday, April 3, 2009. Pianist Lynn Wright and violinist/fiddler Adam DeGraff improvise with bluegrass, jazz, classical, ragtime and Celtic selections.