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Dave Lavender: High school reunion brings fun and different musical experience

May. 17, 2013 @ 12:22 AM

I had a fun and different music experience last weekend as I was helping with alumni events at my high school.

On Friday, I teamed up with the karaoke duo (Lora Grayson and Rick Suarez) who helped me DJ the Green High School Class of 1963's 50th reunion.

Suarez, a Houston native drummer whose bands have opened up for everyone from The Texas Tornados and John Sebastian to Joe Ely and April Wine, was a hoot to work with.

Suarez has pounded skins on the Scioto County scene and helped bring bands and live music into the Columbia Theater on Gallia Street, now the new Columbia Music Arena.

Go online at www.reverbnation.com/venue/columbiamusicarena to find out more about the Columbia.

Suarez is often the drummer for classic country indie artist, Donna Cunningham, who is playing the Southern Ohio Opry, 4459 Henley Deemer Road, McDermott, Ohio, on Saturday night with Georgette Jones. Tickets to the Southern Ohio Opry are $12. Call 740-259-4085 for more information.

A blast from Blanton

On Saturday, we were at Green High School for the annual All-Class Reunion and were treated to a great night of music from the Green's Got Talent contest that was hosted by GHS alum and basketball coach, Bobby Blanton, a mighty fine country singer.

Blanton, who won Huntington's Tri-State Idol contest in 2008, emceed the event that featured three finalists Kaitlin Hodson (who won), as well as Kasey Shafer and Nick Ranieri, who wrote and performed an original song at the event.

Blanton is still looking for more summer gigs but has a big one to top off the summer as he is booked at the River Days Festival in Portsmouth over Labor Day Weekend.

'Trace' around your TV

The one and only Trace Cherokee is back in action.

Cherokee's new biopic, "Trace Around Your Heart," will be shown on Huntington's public access channel 20, at 9:15 p.m. and 12:15 a.m. Friday through Sunday, May 17-19.

For fans of "Avenue Q," and such adult-humored puppet shows, you won't be disappointed.

Get a copy of the double-disc movie and soundtrack at www.tracearoundyourheart.com. The cost is $10 for the film and soundtrack that features guest appearances by the Boocephus, the ghost of Hank Williams, Jr., and Sasha Colette.

Speaking of Colette, she'll be playing at a 7 p.m. benefit for The Rolling Hills Folk Center on Friday, May 24, at the Fuzzy Duck in Ironton. Cost is $5 to see The Modock Rounders, Zach Couns, Sasha Colette and PB&J.

Proceeds go to help put on the Good River Gathering, a first time eclectic live music fest at the Duck on Friday and Saturday, June 21-22 featuring such acts as Bawn in the Mash and more.

Go online at www.goodrivergathering.com for advance tickets or call 606-571-0298.

Keeping that Bash boiling

The Coon Sanders Nighthawks Fans Bash took place in Huntington for 44 thanks to music men such as Dale Jones of the Backyard Dixie Jazz Stompers.

That Bash has moved to Chillicothe, Ohio, to the Christopher Conference Center (CCC) located at North Plaza Drive and Business Route 23. The schedule is still the same as the event kicked off Thursday night with a jam at the CrossKeys Tavern with Tom Burke's lively band, The GooseTown Astonishers.

The music then continues at the Conference Center with two big days and nights of tunes on Friday and Saturday, May 17-18 with such acts as Northside Jazz Band, Good Times Dixieland Seven, pianist, Larry Nusser and others.

Tickets to each evening of entertainment are $30 each. Tickets for the tea dance are $10. For reservations, call Larry Nusser at 740-654-4308 or email LNUSSER@ATT.NET.

The Black Diamond is booked

I was stoked this week to talk with biographer Scott Nollen, who happens to be working on a biography of West Virginia's the Black Diamond, the world's only black Neil Diamond tribute act now based out of Nashville.

I've been writing about that mighty little music man, Theron Denson, since 2001 and was happy to add my penny's worth of thoughts about Denson.

One thing I told Nollen, who hopes to have the book out in late August, is that Denson, no matter where he had moved or how tough a time he was having trying to get respect for his show, he always shone through love and always made me feel like he was here to do what music does best - bring joy to the world.

Best of luck to Nollen in putting together the book. Nollen is the author of 14 other books including the authorized bio of Jethro Tull, as well as books on Boris Karloff, Louis Armstrong, Laurel And Hardy, Robin Hood and others.

Go online at www.blackdiamondvocals.com.

Healing through music

Bob Hansen, the new Executive Director of the Cabell-Huntington Coalition for the Homeless, is looking for a few good, acoustic acts to come and play short (maybe 30 minutes or so) from time to time down at Vanity Fair, which is the Fourth Avenue complex of about 50 apartments for folks transitioning out of homelessness.

If anyone has a heart for ministering in song, whatever style you may be, email Bob at ch.hansenb@gmail.com or call him at 304-523-2764, ext. 101.

A Golden Reunion

I just got word a couple weeks ago that folks are on the look out for all Huntington East High School Choir members who sang under Janice Chandler-Gold for a reunion concert weekend Aug. 2-3 in Huntington.

All students of Chandler-Gold are invited to join her in the festivities, including a Friday night social at Guyan Golf and Country Club, Saturday morning rehearsal, and a Saturday night Reunion Concert.

Choir members interested in participating should email their name, year they graduated, email address, phone number and what they sing (Soprano I, Soprano II, Alto I, etc.) to hehschoir@gmail.com. Respond no later than May 31.

Dave Lavender writes about music for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at lavender@herald-dispatch.com.

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