Concerts conclude in fine fashion

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 3, 2006

It was two nights filled with music, ‘maters – the fried green variety, of course – laughter, and glorious weather that was more or less made to order.

The &uot;Spring Concerts in the Park&uot; series, sponsored by Greenville Main Street, came to an end last week, and went out a winner.

Locals were given not one, but two free concerts to enjoy back-to-back in beautiful Confederate Park, courtesy of a young pageant title holder and a group of musically-inclined baby boomers.

No rain on this parade

On Thursday night, Miss Greater Greenville 2006, Kimberly Kirby, traveled down to perform in Confederate Park. Her two biggest fans, parents Herb and Denise Kirby of Hueytown, accompanied Kirby, who is a junior at the University of Montevallo.

It was Kirby’s first true concert performance, giving the vocalist the opportunity to share the variety of musical genres she enjoys.

Songs ranged from &uot;Don’t Rain On My Parade&uot; and &uot;Hit Me With A Hot Note,&uot; to &uot;Hound Dog,&uot; &uot;This Girl Can Rock&uot; and &uot;Gimme, Gimme (That Thing Called Love)”, her chosen tune for the Miss Alabama competition in June.

&uot;I really love music – all kinds of music. I’ve been singing all my life,&uot; Kirby told a small but appreciative audience.

There’s always been a touch of the performer in the education major, it seems.

&uot;My parents tell me I used to sing standing on a stool in front of my house in my diaper – now I don’t remember that, but they say it is true.&uot;

The Miss GG Board members and their families were out in full force to support their &uot;girl.&uot; Hot-off-the-grill burger and hot dog baskets, sweet treats and drinks were supplied by the busy board members, the sales adding to the coffers of the Miss GG Scholarship Fund.

Kirby dedicated a love song by American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson (&uot;I admit, I like love songs because they are fun and mushy, and, hey, I’m a girl&uot;) to one of her youngest fans, Jennifer Grace Arnold, daughter of Miss GG Director, Sue Arnold.

A positive impact

Arnold praised Kirby for her positive impact on the children of Greenville during her reign as Miss GG.

&uot;We couldn’t have a more wonderful representative for our town. One of the things we most appreciate about Kimberly is her Christian influence through her Character Education platform,&uot; Arnold said.

&uot;Children need strong mentors and role models…they don’t always get that at home these days. If a pretty young lady in a tiara can play that role, there’s nothing wrong with that.&uot;

Kirby said while she enjoyed speaking to civic groups in the city, her favorite moments were times shared with area children.

&uot;Those kids at FDA and W.O. Parmer, just being around them – I get so much more back than I could ever give. I really love being with the kids.&uot;

After her concert, Kirby signed autographs for some of those young fans, including Lucy Bates, who proudly posed for a photo with Kirby.

&uot;It takes time…Kimberly is growing, she’s building her confidence. Every experience in front of an audience builds that,&uot; Arnold said afterwards.

&uot;Kimberly’s a sweetheart…a great Miss GG,&uot; Miss GG board member Carol Connally-Walters said.

‘Dog Daze’ of spring arrive

On Friday night, the park once more filled with concertgoers bearing blankets and lawn chairs, ready to enjoy a live band and more of the Miss GG board’s tasty treats.

Miss GG &uot;guys,&uot; including Drew Gaston and Ronald Burkett, helped prepare the group’s famous fried green tomatoes, along with burgers and nachos for the crowd.

Fragrant hickory smoke billowed through the air, children turned somersaults in the green grass, teens flirted; a celebratory mood prevailed.

As the sunlight faded, candelabras on tables covered in red-and-white checked cloths provided a romantic touch.

&uot;Dog Daze&uot; took the stage at 7:30 p.m. performing a two-hour concert.

Two members of the six-man band – Bruce Bennett of Pine Apple, a Greenville native, and Tim Wright of Greenville – had plenty of local supporters on hand to cheer them on.

The band played Buffett

– Jimmy, that is – blues, country and classic rock hits like &uot;Jumpin’ Jack Flash&uot; and &uot;Proud Mary&uot; for the crowd.

Little Stirling Hamilton bounced his blonde head to the beat of his great-uncle’s band, as his grandmother, Jean Bennett Katz, wheeled the toddler around the park in his little red wagon.

&uot;It’s a beautiful night,&uot; Katz said with a smile as the band played on.

&uot;This has been a great night, gosh, the weather has been ideal for all the concerts this year,&uot; Miss GG board member Jill Stallworth said as she counted the till at the concession stand.

And it looked like a beautiful night for the board, too.

&uot;I’m trying to tally this up – it looks like we did really well tonight,&uot; Stallworth said as she shuffled the generous quantity of bills collected that night.

Main Street Director Nancy Idland was all smiles as she swayed in the mild April night to an up-tempo tune by Dog Daze.

&uot;It’s been a great evening, hasn’t it?&uot;