Dewayne Hodges – September 13, 2014

Dewayne Hodges, a Montgomery County native from Black Springs, brought his one man show to our Front Porch Stage Saturday night on the first really cool evening this season.
 A smaller crowd came out with their quilts and blankets and enjoyed a great concert.
 Dewayne came to our rescue with his Bose sound system when ours own sound system gave up the ghost.

Dewayne’s first set was filled with crowd favorites, with everything from “Rocky Top” to his 
great Elvis medley. Especially pleasing to our audience was Dewayne’s version of “A White
Sports Coat with a Pink Carnation”, which brought back memories for many of us. Dewayne
 also performed a great version of Stan Lafever’s “Ouachita Ladies”, a tribute to the Ladies of Montgomery County and the Ouachitas.

Dewayne Hodges performs on the Front Porch Stage.

Thank you, Dewayne Hodges, for another great evening of your music!
(Click on this image to view more photos from Sept. 13, 2014)

The second set started with a request for Floyd Kramer’s ” Last Date”, performed flawlessly. Dewayne then proceeded with his gospel set, which included the crowd favorite “Potters Clay”, an original song. Dewayne always gets more requests than he can play in
 one show but always gets requests for “Suppertime” and “Sweet Beaulah Land”. Dewayne
 closed the evening with verses of “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful”, to which we 
all sang along.

Dewayne has always been our most requested show, and he has always answered the call
 to play with great enthusiasm! Last night, Dewayne offered to come back to Mt. Ida to play 
a fund raiser for the Front Porch to help raise money for new sound equipment. Hodge Black 
followed up on Dewayne’s suggestion with an offer to host a show in the First United
 Methodist Church family center! 
Many thanks to you both!

We appreciate everyone who comes out to support Dewayne and our concerts! 
Thank you!

Possum Picnic Weekend – September 5-6, 2014

(Photos coming soon)

Our Possum Picnic weekend was an overall success! We added a Brown Bag Friday to our usual festivities and sold a nice brown bag lunch that was well received. John Talley and Mike Adams provided some great entertainment. We offered Janet’s fabulous award winning chicken salad or Jane’s buttered polish sausage with peppers and everybody loved both.

We want to thank everyone who bought a lunch and for your purchase of raffle tickets for one of two Daisy BB Guns. The proceeds from these sales will help us in the future to make some improvements around the ‘Stage and to replace some of the instruments in our ancient, ailing sound system.

These two Front Porch Stage Special Daisy BB Guns are being raffled off.  The drawing will be held Oct. 11 at our last show of the 2014 season.

These two Front Porch Stage Special Daisy BB Guns are being raffled off. The drawing will be held Oct. 11 at our last show of the 2014 season.

Saturday morning, our dedicated crew of volunteers met in the wonderful kitchen at the First Baptist Church and produced the great lunch/dinner boxes that we sold all day Saturday.

We were treated to a wonderful breakfast lovingly prepared by Chef Janet! Our kitchen crew this year were Janet Capua, Tommy and Susan Johnston, John Henderson Sr., Jane and Jerry Babbitt, and Bishop Gebhardt. It wasn’t our first rodeo, so the preparations went really smoothly. Jerry, Bishop, and John went over to the square and set up our point of sales for lunch. We had our BB Gun raffle table and our auction merchandise on display also. We sold lunches and raffle tickets until we had to move onto the lawn and get ready for the real picnic.

The Possum Parade went off without a hitch.  Many thanks to Montgomery County Sheriff David White for keeping order and making sure that all the participants managed the complicated parade route through the alleys and streets of Mt Ida. Dub Clenney gave our reigning Possum Queen, Brenda Minton, a nice ride in that little red corvette. The “Has-Beens” and “Wannabees” tossed pounds of candy as they passed the square, but no one was injured from the flying candy! Jerry Lambert provided some unusual raggae processional music as the Royal Court gathered in front of the stage for the official coronation of our 19th Possum Queen. Our reigning queen Brenda Minton gave the Possum Potentate, John Henderson Sr., permission to break the royal seal on the envelope containing the identity of the future queen. The crowd waited with bated breath and let out cheers and applause when it was revealed that Queen XIX (19) was Donna Wilborn!

Possum Queen for 2015, Donna Wilborn, and her Court.

Possum Queen for 2015, Donna Wilborn, and her Court.

Possums Unlimited Diva Betty Williams (our 2002 Possum Queen) fulfilled her duties as the oldest Hasbeen on hand and crowned Donna as the 2015 Montgomery County Possum Queen.

Donna was surprised and speechless but managed to declare that she would fulfill all the duties of Queen in 2015. Reigning Queen Brenda Minton then presented Donna with the Royal Scepter and allowed her to take the throne for a moment.

Potentate John then announced that Possums Unlimited and the Nocturnal Order of the Possum had decided to crown and bestow an Honorary Possum Queen for Life title on Janet Capua for her dedicated volunteer services and loyalty to our Front Porch. Janet is only the second recipient of this honor, the first being Country Star and Hall oof Famer Jean Shepard! Janet accepted her trophy and sash and was also struck speechless for being chosen for this high honor.

At this point the huge crowd settled back down and had a chance to visit for a few minutes before MC John Henderson Sr. introduced the evening’s entertainment. (John wears a lot of hats in support of the Front Porch Stage!)

Our Royal Entertainment was provided by our very own local favorites, The Prairie Grove Band! The band opened their first set with special guests, The Rowlands, doing some great gospel. Malissa Lewis also made a guest appearance for one song. The band played some great country that featured some Ray Price, Gene Watson, and a bunch of others!

At intermission, MC John announced the winners of the silent auction, and you can take it to the bank that Brenda Minton, the reigning Possum Queen, made the haul on great bargains as she out-bid for a lot of the great merchandise that had been donated for the auction. Congratulations and thank you to all the winning bidders. The band played the rest of the evening, and, as our Possum Picnic weekend came to a close, Potentate/Master MC John closed our proceedings with his usual, and we quote, “God Bless You and God Bless America!”

Special Thanks to Janet Z Capua, John Henderson Sr, Jane and Jerry Babbitt, John Talley, Mike Adams, Tommy and Susan Johnston, John and Terri Henderson, Betty Ruth Williams, Possum Sheriff David White, Johnette Rowland, Margie Rowland, Tim Qualls, Bishop Gebhardt, Bud and Donna Wilborn, Brenda Minton, Dan and Anita Watson, ALL the Hasbeens and Wannabees, The Prairie Grove Band, Imelda Barker and anyone else whom I may have forgotten.  The folks who enjoy the music at the Front Porch Stage truly and greatly appreciate your efforts to make this a wonderful venue.

It was a great weekend, we beat the heat, the rain, the clock and the odds, and as far as we know, no Possums were harmed in any way!

Laura Lee Williard – Rained Out – August 9, 2014

We’re all very sorry that the Laura Lee Williard performance was rained out, as we were very much looking forward to hearing her on the Front Porch Stage.

BUT WAIT!!!!  THERE IS GOOD NEWS!!!

The Front Porch Stage and Laura Lee both have open dates in our schedules for August 16, so she has graciously agreed to join us at the ‘Stage next Saturday.

Looking forward to this.  Sure hope you can all make it to the Front Porch Stage next Saturday, August 16, to hear and enjoy the music of Laura Lee Williard.

Laura Lee Williard will perform on the Front Porch Stage Saturday, August 16, 2014.

Laura Lee Williard will perform on the Front Porch Stage Saturday, August 16, 2014.

Davanzo Family Band – July 26, 2014

Our 2014 season on the Front Porch Stage has been full of great bands, and the Davanzo Family Band is another great example of the wonderful talent our state keeps producing. We experienced some technical difficulties with our aging sound system, and we extend our apologies to the Davanzos for that. They are real professionals and made up for our problems by playing two great sets of bluegrass, despite our troubles with the sound.

The Davanzo Family Band are from Conway, AR. Carmen Davanzo (dad) on guitar, Bridgette (Mom) on the bass, Brittany on fiddle, Monica on Mandolin, and the youngest, Nick, on banjo make up the band.

A great photo of the Davanzo Family band: Brittany, Monica, Bridgette, Carmen, and Nick. Thank you all for bringing your music to the Front Porch Stage. (Click on this image to see more photos)

A great photo of the Davanzo Family band: Brittany, Monica, Bridgette, Carmen, and Nick. Thank you all for bringing your music to the Front Porch Stage.
(Click on this image to see more photos)

The Band’s sets were filled with traditional bluegrass and bluegrass-gospel. As their show progressed our sound problems seemed to get worse. At the break we did a work around, and the second set was somewhat improved. Before the end of the second set we managed to get some of the kinks out and got close to providing them with better sound. We will certainly invite them back and hopefully a better experience for them next time.

Despite our woes, all who attended enjoyed this most talented family band and the music they made for us. Many thanks, and we look forward to hearing you all again on the Front Porch Stage.

Clark Family Trio with Bill Nesbitt – July 19, 2014

We ended up with a perfect evening for music this Saturday! The Clark Family Trio with Bill Nesbitt brought us a great show and proved once again that talent is alive and well in Arkansas! The trio are Cindy Clark and her daughters Sophie and Sally from Searcy, along with Bill Nesbitt, a music instructor from Little Rock. For our show Bill played guitar and banjo and Cindy played bass.

Cindy Clark, Sophie Clark, Sally Clark, and Bill Nesbitt on the Front Porch Stage.

Cindy Clark, Sophie Clark, Sally Clark, and Bill Nesbitt on the Front Porch Stage.
(Click on this photo to see more pictures from July 19, 2014)

What is astounding about this group is that Sophie is only sixteen and Sally is only ten. Age makes no difference, as both these girls are already outstanding performers, and when Cindy and Bill add their voices, the magic happens.
 They opened their show with a great version of “Helplessly Hoping” and immediately showed that great vocal ability. Sally jumped right in with a rousing version of “Old Sloughfoot”, and Bill displayed a bit a great guitar picking to accompany her.

Our music loving crowd was really into this show and was singing along with Cindy as they performed “I Can See Clearly Now”. Sophie stepped up and really got everyone’s attention with a phenomenal version of the old Patsy Cline hit “Blue”.

As their set continued, The Trio and Bill performed a variety of great tunes. The crowd went nuts when they did “Oh Johnny”, the old Andrews Sisters song, followed by “Horse With No Name”. 
The Gospel songs “Round Round, I Want to Go Round”, “Walking in Jerusalem”, and “Just Like John” were well received. They closed their first set with “Down on the Corner”, and despite its being their first time to ever play the song live, the crowd loved it.

Their second set was filled with crowd-pleasers such as “Georgia” and “Drift Away”, and Sally did an outstanding job on one of her favorites, “Let It Be”!

The Trio and Bill closed their show with “I’ve Been Everywhere”, a version that included a special verse that mentioned Mount Ida, which, along with the other great music they performed this evening, earned them a standing ovation from their new fans here. Look for them again next season, as we will make sure they are invited back to play on your Front Porch Stage!