On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Uptown Music Collective and UPMC will present Friends in Low Places: The Music of Garth Brooks & The Women of ‘90s Country at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport. The performance will feature the music of country music icon Garth Brooks, alongside the ground-breaking music of female country artists like
On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Uptown Music Collective and UPMC will present Friends in Low Places: The Music of Garth Brooks & The Women of ‘90s Country at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport. The performance will feature the music of country music icon Garth Brooks, alongside the ground-breaking music of female country artists like Shania Twain, Dolly Parton, The Chicks (formally the Dixie Chicks), Faith Hill and more. All music will be performed by the hard-working and talented students of the UMC’s Special Performance Group 1. This performance is additionally sponsored, in part, through partnerships with Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital and Hudock Capital Group.
“This is our ‘people’s choice’ performance, which has become an annual fundraising event for the Collective,” said Jared Mondell, assistant executive director of the Uptown Music Collective. “This year, a country/Garth Brooks tribute was the community’s top choice after several rounds of voting in the Collective’s 2022 People’s Choice online voting event, winning out by a narrow margin over a virtual who’s who list of modern and classic rock or pop performers. Our students are extremely excited to bring this music to life on the CAC stage while raising money for the school’s scholarship and financial aid funds.”
In the 1980s, country music was in decline. Although it continued to be popular in some areas of the country, it seemed like it was on its way out on a national level – that is until a new country sound emerged in the 1990s on FM Radio that brought country music back to the mainstream. This new brand of country music that mixed elements of contemporary pop music with the familiar country twang immediately had a big impact on the music business. Suddenly, artists like Garth Brooks were scoring hit songs one after another, filling stadiums and putting on shows that rivaled the production of large rock concerts.
In Friends in Low Places, the Collective’s students will pay tribute to these artists and the music that made them famous. Attendees will enjoy Garth Brooks songs like Rodeo, American Honky-Tonk Bar Association, Ain’t Going Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up), The Dance, and more, alongside hits like You’re Still the One, Fancy, This Kiss, and Strawberry Wine by female country artists from the same time period.
“This is a concert that is way overdue, and the students and I plan to make up for it by making this the best country music performance we’ve brought to the stage yet,” said Dave Brumbaugh, executive director and founder of the Uptown Music Collective. “The students have been tuning up their telecasters, pulling out the pedal steel guitar, putting on their boots and hats, and getting excited to bring this great music to the stage for everyone.”
Friends in Low Places will feature Collective students who have been diligently preparing for this event for more than three months. Along with the music, there will be a professional-grade light, sound, and video show, organized by the students, themselves, who will work alongside the professionals at the CAC. As with all Uptown Music Collective performances, the students are not only the performers, but also the directors of the show. A group of younger students, or “Tech Monkeys,” will serve as stage technicians and spotlight operators. The cast for the show is drawn from the Uptown Music Collective’s much-heralded “Special Performance Group 1.”
This show is directed by Uptown Music Collective senior students Leah Batman (Laurel Springs School), Calistra Mahoney (Pennsylvania College of Technology), and Issac Fluery (Canton High School). The show’s leadership committee consists of UMC students Matthew Bellino (Danville Area High School), Izzy Butters (Loyalsock Township High School), Abby Colone (Loyalsock Township High School), Chase Cowden (Loyalsock Township High School), Connor Evans (Williamsport Area High School), Ben Feuerstein (Lewisburg Area High School), Gabreon Godin (Williamsport Area High School), Grace Godin (Williamsport Area Middle School), Brendan Kuriga (South Williamsport Area High School), Duncan Larson (Loyalsock Township High School), Jossian Lilley (Loyalsock Township High School), Cassidy Lutz (Loyalsock Township High School), Stephanie Nappi (PA Cyber), and Luke O’Brien (Loyalsock Township High School).
“Country had never been a genre that grabbed my attention in any way,” Lutz said. “I could only name a handful of songs and they were never anything I was a huge fan of. Now that we have been rehearsing the Garth songs and the ‘90s female country hits, I have gained a new appreciation for the music I never had! All of the songs seem simple but have their own unique intricacies that make them all lovable. This show will be a blast and a great experience to be had for country fans and newcomers to the genre, like myself. I hope to see a full house for this epic, one-night performance!”
Additional partners and sponsors for this performance include Chartwell Hotels, KFC of Williamsport, Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships, The Kiessling Group of Janney Montgomery Scott, UPMC Health Plan, Lycoming College, Woodlands Bank, Williamsport Sun-Gazette, FASTSIGNS of Williamsport, Pennsylvania College of Technology, The Brickyard Restaurant and Ale House, The Stonehouse Wood Fired Pizza and Pasteria, The Hartman Group, Java Momma, Inc., and Beiter’s Furniture, Mattress and Appliance. Media sponsors include Backyard Broadcasting, Lamar Advertising, 92.1 WSQV, NorthCentralPa.com, The Graphic Hive and Engage Media.
Tickets for the performance, which are $20 in advance and $25 at the door (plus fees), are available through the Community Arts Center box office, 220 West Fourth St., and website, http://www.caclive.com. In addition to this show, tickets for the remainder of the Collective’s performance season are on sale now at the CAC, as well. Upcoming shows include Free Bird: A Tribute to Southern Rock on March 10 and 11, and The Show Must Go On: The Music of Queen on April 28 and 29.
For more details about Friends in Low Places, visit uptownmusic.org/country or call 570-329-0888. Check out the Collective’s official Facebook page, as well as other Collective social media outlets, for teasers, previews, behind-the-scenes info and more from the performance.
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