The 30-piece professional instrumental ensemble, the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass, will be presenting their final concert of their 5th Anniversary season on Saturday, April 20, at 7 p.m. at the Central Baptist Church which is located at 1346 S. Main St. in Crossville. The SSSB has steadily grown their audience base over the past five years as the word has spread about their brand of "Premium Entertainment." Their loyal season ticket patrons now number almost 300 and when newcomers hear and see the Southern Stars in action, they come away amazed that Crossville has such a fine quality band with outstanding musicians who participate from across East and Middle Tennessee.
Typical audience size for their paid admission concerts is averaging 450-500, and their spring concert in 2012 with Bill Gaither Gospel Tour regulars Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor had nearly 900 in attendance. Clearly, they are supplying something about which the public is enthusiastic, so if you have not been to one of their concerts you need to come experience why they are so well supported by their business sponsors and the public.
Artistic Director Dwight Wages and Music Director Dr. Steven Sudduth have selected another blockbuster program of music and virtuoso instrumental soloists for their spring concert. And to make the concert a further hit, they are bringing Nashville's Pete Huttlinger to perform as a guest artist. Pete is an acoustic guitar phenom who is a previous national finger-picking champion and was in John Denver's band for four years until Denver's unfortunate plane crash. Pete is a recording artist with seven CDs to his credit and has a successful career as a touring solo artist, and has such Nashville icons as Vince Gill, LeAnn Rimes, John Oates and Buddy Greene raving about his outstanding skills. In fact it was Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor, last April's guest artists, who recommended Pete Huttlinger to Dwight Wages as a "great person and outstanding performer" to invite as a guest artist for a Southern Stars concert.
Cooper said, "They call Pete Huttlinger a musician, but really he’s in the delight and amazement business." Making it to the top in the music business is well known to require tremendous skill, and a good deal of luck to be in the right place at the right time. Pete also has an interesting human interest story which is further evidence of his overcoming huge odds. Pete is a young 51 years old, but over the past 2.5 years has suffered two significant medical setbacks which through his faith and perseverance he has recovered to perform again. In November 2010 he had a massive stroke which affected his ability to play guitar, though by late winter he’d recovered to begin playing again. But then his congenitally defective heart failed in March 2011 and in late April after being at Vanderbilt Hospital for over a month and with a pace-maker installed, he was life-flighted to St. Luke’s Texas Heart Institute in Houston. Doctors installed a battery-powered heart pump in May 2011 and he spent several months recovering from this ordeal.
For this concert, Pete will be performing two selections with the brass ensemble — the Beatles' Lennon and McCartney composition "Hey Jude" and the big band era hit made famous by Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa — "Sing, Sing, Sing." The latter will also feature Chris McCormick on jazz trumpet a la Harry James, and Kurt Snider on trap drum set for significant percussion licks throughout this selection. Pete will also be providing a separate 30-minute segment of the concert performing his solo selections.
The SSSB portion of the concert they will perform Henry Fillmore's "The Klaxon" march. Other selections will include: "Liberty Fanfare" written for the Centennial of the Stature of Liberty, "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables, "Little Fugue in G Minor," and two selections based on sacred hymns — "Make His Praise Glorious" and "Vitae Aeternum." Joel Tillman, principal cornetist, will be featured in a dazzling presentation of "Gypsy Airs." Brandon Jones will be featured with a euphonium solo of a distinctly Irish flavored composition called "'neath the Dublin Skies." This will be Brandon's last concert with the Southern Stars, as he has accepted the invitation to join the prestigious U.S. Air Force Band based in Washington, D.C. The SSSB is extremely proud of his contributions to the band during his four years with the Southern Stars, and know that he will have a successful military career serving in this prestigious band. So come and hear Brandon one last time and purchase one of his CDs as a memory of his outstanding musicianship.
Sponsors for this concert are: Season Sponsors — Bed & Biscuit Kennel; Concert Sponsors — Cumberland Eye Care (Dr. Stuart Galloway) and State Farm Insurance (David Bell); and Guest Artist Sponsors — Cumberland County Bank and the City of Crossville.
Tickets for the concert are adults $20 and students $5 and are available at the following locations: Cumberland Eye Care in Fairfield Glade, First National Bank of TN branches in Crossville and Fairfield Glade, Bed & Biscuit Kennel off Peavine Road, and at the box office and website of the Cumberland County Playhouse. For further details contact Dwight Wages at 931-484-6939, or check out the band's website at www.southernstarssymphonicbrass.com.