Patsy Cline tribute show this weekend at AHS

Courtesy Photo Performing “Forever Patsy Cline - A Live Musical Tribute” are, from left, Amy Merrick, Nathan Myers, Kim Casey, Eric Dunckel, Don Jack and Dan Ager.

“Forever Pasty Cline – A Live Musical Tribute” comes to Alpena High School for two performances Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. The show will feature six area musicians offering up more than 25 of the legendary country singer’s famous songs.

While the music of Cline still draws decades after her death, the weekend event is more than just a concert. It’s also a fundraiser for refurbishment of the high school auditorium, where the concert will take place.

“The show in Alpena is being used as a fundraiser for the Alpena High School Auditorium. We’re trying to raise funds for new curtains and to give the backstage area a fix up,” said concert Producer John Parsons.

Last year the six-member band did the same show in Alcona County to help raise money for the reinstituted Alcona High School band program. The show did so well it raised around $8,000 for the cause.

It’s exactly the kind of work the band likes to do, said Parsons.

“The show, ‘Forever Patsy Cline,’ is a being used as a community outreach production,” he said. “We’re booked throughout 2017-18 at various venues in the Midwest. We try to locate an organization in the community doing good work that needs an opportunity to raise money, and then put on a heck of a good show.”

Considered a time capsule tribute show, “Forever Patsy Cline” will feature 27 songs and about 25 minutes of pre-recorded documentary footage interspersed throughout the production. The band and lead singer will be dressed in period costuming.

“Our goal is to have the look of the 1950s and portray Patsy Cline and her band the way they would have been back in the late 1950s,” Parsons said.

Performing the songs from Cline’s catalog of hits is lead singer Kim Casey. A long-time resident of Alcona County, she has enjoyed a long music career. She started out performing in England, then throughout New York, Pennsylvania and other parts of the United States. A recording artist, she’s shared the stage with James Taylor. Casey also has regularly performed in the two licensed Cline shows over the years.

The musicians include Dan Ager of Ossineke on electric guitar, Amy Merrick of West Branch on piano, Don Jack of Oscoda on drums, Eric Dunckel of Harrisville on bass and Nathan Myers of central Michigan on acoustic guitar.

“We are really working with an extreme amount of talent,” Parsons said. “All toll we have over 250 years of combined talent with all six band members.”

Ager, well-known in the Alpena area, has recorded in Nashville and toured through the Midwest for the better part of 40 years. Jack, formerly a drummer in a U.S. military band, currently performs around the Northeast Michigan area with various blues and jazz bands.

Merrick brings a 30-year history on the piano to the band, while Dunckel, a music educator, holds degrees in education and music. Myers also is a music educator who has spent the last three decades teaching at various colleges as well as performing.

According to Parsons, the group shares not just a love for music but also a sense of community activism in that they want to use their music to help causes in the communities where they perform. He said their charter lists programs that help the arts and youth as their first priorities, followed by those supporting civil servants.

They have played other licensed Patsy Cline shows together since 2009, but about a year and a half ago collaborated on writing their own production, which is the one they will perform this weekend.

Parsons said the group is tuned in to the fact Cline performed the way she lived.

“Patsy Cline was a philanthropist who believed in community outreach,” he said. “She not only believed in it, but she lived a life of community outreach. At the time when her plane went down, she was returning from a benefit for Cactus Jack Call and his family.”

Cline was killed in that plane crash in 1963.

Other upcoming performances for the band include Dec. 1-2 at the City Opera House in Traverse City, Jan. 26 at the State Theatre in Bay City and Feb. 15-16 at the Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater. Just like Alpena, nonprofit causes in all three locations will be supported by the proceeds from the concerts. The band is booked in nearly 20 locations throughout 2017-18.

Tickets for this weekend’s concert at AHS are $15 and available at the door. A meet and greet with the band members will be held after the show. Concessions will be available on site.

For more information about “Forever Patsy Cline,” go to foreverpatsycline.com. Anyone interested in helping to sponsor the show may contact Betty Thom of Statewide Realty at 356-2142.