The Show shines on event center's new stage
Over 1,200 people were treated to their first look inside the FEMA Event Center this past weekend when HomeTown Sound and The RedHots performed in The Show.
"We're very excited to have our 21st annual show here at the FEMA Event Center building," said Mindy Artherton, director of the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce. "We appreciate the school being so accommodating by allowing us to use this facility. It gives us a great chance to show off all the work that our volunteers are doing with the time they put in all year preparing their music."
Greg Beck, music director of the event, was very pleased to perform in a space that was designed to showcase the talent of his performers. Beck believes that the elevated seating and intimate setting will bring even more people to future events.
"I think the elevated seating here is really going to help build our crowds -- now everybody's going to be able to see better," said Beck. "The closer gap between the front of the stage and the audience makes everybody a little closer now."
The Chamber sponsors The Show each year to give interested singers in the area an opportunity to follow their dream and sing in front of a live audience with the support of a band and backup singers. There was no theme for the event this year so songs ranged from bluegrass to ballads.
Bob Allen once again served as the master of ceremonies for each of the three performances -- a role he has assumed for the past six years. Allen provides a short and interesting introduction to each song with little known facts about the artist who originally recorded it and other unique details. He sees The Show as an important part of community life in Cassville.
"It's been such a tradition for the last 20 years that people look forward to it and it's become part of their introduction to the holidays," said Allen.
Kristin Stettnisch works at the same company as Beck who overheard her singing one day and suggested she become part of the event. This was her first time singing in front of a live audience and she practiced in front of family and friends to prepare for her performance. Stettnisch, a product of the Cassville school system, started singing in the Kit Kat Choir and was part of Center Stage directed by Mary Richmiller while in high school
"I was originally nervous when I first showed up here," said Stettnisch, "but Mary Richmiller taught us to use our nerves to push through and perform."
John Lueckenhoff is a returning performer who sang as part of the Kiss tribute "Rock n' Roll All Night" to end the first act. He also had the opportunity to sing with his sons Bradley and Jordon Bailey near the end.
I'm very happy to have kids more talented than me," said Leuckenhoff. "To get to perform with your own kids is a dream."
Leslie Smith has been a part of The Show off and on for it's 20-year run. Her rendition of "Independence Day" by Martina McBride drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd -- a response that was deeply appreciated.
"If you're ever feeling down, just come to The Show because these people make you feel good," said Smith.