Barbara and Tollis Johnson Jr. needed to hear only a few opening notes of the song “People Get Ready” to feel inspired.
Holding their hands high while standing and swaying to the music, the wife and husband were in full spiritual mode by the time The Impressions sang the tune’s opening line, “People get ready, there’s a train a-coming. You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board.”
The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers performed the song they made famous in the 1960s as part of their concert on Dec. 19 at the Mooresville High School auditorium. The show, which drew about 125 fans, was part of The Town of Mooresville’s Music on Main series.
Music on Main is hosted by Mooresville’s Cultural and Recreation Services department. Special Events and Marketing Coordinator Alli Goode contracts Charlotte’s Imagine Music Group, which is owned and operated by Mooresville native Tina Gibson, to book the acts.
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The series’ wintertime indoor sessions, the sister to the series’ popular outdoor summer concerts at Mooresville’s Town Hall lawn, will run through March. Next up is Majesty Rose, a season 13 American Idol finalist from Goldsboro, who will perform Jan. 2 at the Charles Mack Citizen Center. Town leaders expect the series to grow over the next few years.
“I was excited to see The Impressions were coming,” said Barbara Johnson. “I think tonight is going to be the beginning of many, many great acts coming to Mooresville. Of course this music is for everybody. I just had a great time of music and fellowship.”
The center will host two more shows before giving way to the outdoor concerts starting in May. Stephen Freeman: “A Tribute to Elvis” will perform Feb. 5 and Poor Boy Revival, which plays Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogarty songs, will appear on March 11.
Johnson is especially looking forward to the Majesty Rose concert. Johnson is the supervisor of Mooresville’s Winnie Hooper Center where she coordinates an after school program, among other things.
She plans to set up an outing of the 20 girls in the program, using it as a way to expose them to cultural events in the community. Two years ago, Johnson organized a similar outing to a concert by the Anitra Jay Trio, which was a hit among the Hooper Center’s attendees.
Enthusiastically anticipating the Tribute to Elvis show is 80-year-old, lifelong Mooresville resident, Don Parker. He’s widely known as “Dandy Don.”
Parker proudly says he and the real Elvis were born in the same year (1935) and that he saw the King in concert four times.
Parker is a music fan. He attended The Impressions concert to support the Music on Main series and Goode’s work.
“I come to Music on Main mostly because there are people there,” he said. “This guy (Stephen Freeman) can really do Elvis. He does dinner theaters. He’s really good. Goode went right to the top.”
The move to host an act with the name recognition of The Impressions, the biggest name to appear as part of the series since it began in 2007, is perhaps a step to draw more nationally recognized acts.
Goode says the Charles Mack Citizen Center seats about 235 people. The Impressions show was moved to the 1,100-seat Mooresville High auditorium because organizers believed it would draw a larger crowd than it did. They viewed it as a practice run for when the department holds concerts in the coming years in a new 1,800-seat auditorium being constructed at Mooresville High School.
Town leaders are also anticipating having the ability to move the outdoor concert series to Liberty Park once the planned construction of an amphitheater is completed there.
“Since I’ve been on the Town Board of Commissioners, I have pushed, and some of the other commissioners have too, that (Music on Main) be a budgeted item,” said Bobby Compton, who attended The Impressions concert along with commissioner Thurman Houston.
“Having people come to our town and spend money here is something we want. The music series we have is an ideal avenue for that, it attracts people. We want this thing to grow and it has over the years.”
Joe Habina is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.