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Arts Council to host musical legends

WINDSOR – A special night of Carolina Beach music, authentic Motown, rhythm and blues, along with a silent auction, good food and dancing, will be offered to the public Saturday, January 23 at a fund-raiser to benefit Bertie County Arts Council.

Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, made famous in 1960 by their hit song “Stay” and its 1987 revival in the movie “Dirty Dancing”, will provide the music for listening and dancing.

The special night of fun will be at Cashie Convention Center on County Farm Road (formerly Wrangler) and cocktails begin at 6 p.m. A dinner catered by Southern Delights of Ahoskie follows at 6:45 p.m. The performance and dancing begin after dinner. Cost for everything, including cocktails, dinner, the performance, dancing and silent auction, is $45 per person.

Tickets are on sale at Bertie County Arts Council, 124 South King Street, or from BCAC members, at Pittman’s Pharmacy on Granville Street or the Chamber of Commerce on York Street. Space is limited so participants should pre-purchase tickets.

Planners said response for items to be offered at the silent auction has been great. Weeks prior to the performance several artists had donated original paintings, including Jaquelin Perry of Colerain and Tracy Bell of Nags Head. Other items donated early include six different food items (casseroles, cake, cookies, etc.) prepared by Marti Tyler and a two-tiered cake baked by Pat Ivey at the winners’ times of choice, $75 gift certificate from Linda Hoggard at Camden Street Designs, silver jewelry by Beth Seymour, a bird call and furniture from Don Carter, painted gourd from Maria Bracy, a “time out chair” painted by Shannon Jennette, jewelry from Judy Overton, a fold-out table painted by children at BCAC’s 2009 Summer Art Day Camp and a copy of the Hertford County 250th Anniversary Pictorial Book, courtesy of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

The Zodiacs are known internationally for decades of music that kept America dancing. Williams was born in South Carolina in 1938 and began playing piano at an early age. By the age of 10, he was inviting friends from his elementary school over for jam sessions. In 1953 his group formed a group and finally got a paying “gig” at the local VFW post.

Williams’ music has been recorded not only by his group, but by other artists as well. Two early songs destined to have a pivotal effect on his life and career are “Stay” and “Little Darling,” both a part of the nation’s musical heritage.

The musician took his education seriously and earned a music scholarship to Allen University in Columbia, SC, which he turned down because his career was just getting started. Over the years the name of his group changed from The Royal Charms to the Gladiolas before band member Bobby Gore saw the Zodiac German car and the permanent name was born.

Some other musicians who have recorded songs written by Williams include the Diamonds, Four Seasons, Jackson Browne and Rufus and Chaka Khan. His music has sold millions of records and CDs in this country and internationally.

In the 1970s and 1980s Williams led the Zodiacs on many “oldies but goodies” tours along the nation’s east coast, mostly on the beach music circuit. Today he lives in Charlotte and has been inducted into the South Carolina Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame and the Beach Music Hall of Fame in Myrtle Beach.

For more information about this or other BCAC events, call 252-794-9402 or email bertiearts@earthlink.net.