Palustris Festival Dinner-Dance Announces Cabaret Show Line-up
Of the dozens of events planned for the upcoming Palustris Arts Festival in Moore County, one of the larger and more elegant promises to be "An Affair of the Arts," a dinner-dance and cabaret show at the Pinehurst Fair Barn on Friday, March 26.
"We felt that the new Palustris Festival needed to have an elegant party to help set the right mood for the festival," says Tom Bernett, producer and emcee of the event.
Bernett is also the leader of the Swing Street Band, which will provide backup for the cabaret show and "cross-generational" music for an evening of dancing.
"We wanted to create a sparkling, dress-up evening reminiscent of an old-fashioned cabaret night-on-the-town like you would have experienced in New York City back in the 1930s or 1940s," he says.
To help create that atmosphere, the lineup for the cabaret portion of the evening has been finalized and includes some well-known Sandhills figures featured in music and dance performances that might not normally be associated with their names. The show will include Glenda Clendenin, Moore County director of elections, who will be singing two swing numbers with the band.
Alexander Brower, president of the Lee County Chapter of the NAACP, will also sing two numbers with the band, and will then join Clendenin and singing drummer Bernett in a stirring patriotic finale to the first half of the evening.
In addition, Patrick Coughlin, president and CEO of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce, will exhibit his dancing abilities as he accompanies professional dancer and dance teacher Diana Turner-Forte, who is artist-in-residence at the Carolina Performing Arts Center. Both Turner-Forte and Coughlin participated in two separate performances at the recent Dancing With The Sandhills Stars event, which raised over $100,000 for local youth programs.
Other acts include a charming new senior citizen tap dance troupe, "Alive and Clickin'," as well as a comedy dance routine performed by the tongue-in-cheek Knollwood Sisters. Members of the Swing Street Band will also perform specialty numbers, including a popular impersonation of the great Louis Armstrong by Ramon Kenan, a respected high-note trumpet player from Raleigh whose one-man show "Satchmo Live" has been well-received by audiences all over the Eastern seaboard.
Singing drummer and bandleader Tom Bernett relocated to the Sandhills in 2007 and has significant experience in the music and entertainment field. He >has been a professional drummer, vocalist, entertainer and producer for more than 40 years. During that time he worked in USO shows, traveled with pop-rock show groups, played in dinner theater orchestras, worked in recording studios, toured with the American Cavalcade of Big Bands, and backed international stars such as Steve Allen, The Spinners, Steve Lawrence and >Eydie Gorme, The Lettermen, Rodney Dangerfield and many more.
In addition to leading the Swing Street Band, he also currently plays with the nonprofit Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra in Sanford and the Moonlighters Big Band in Raleigh, as well as teaching drums at the Sandhills Academy of Music in Aberdeen and offering rudimental percussion clinics in the region.
Along with the cabaret show, An Affair of the Arts is offering a deluxe, three-course, sit-down dinner with a special Palustris menu created by Chef Donnie Wicker, formerly the executive chef at Pine Needles Resort and now owner of 360 Catering Management and the Cafe 360 Restaurant. Wicker is also a culinary arts instructor at Sandhills Community College. A cash bar will benefit the Carolina Performing Arts Center in Southern Pines.
Tickets for the gala are priced at $25 per person, thanks to the generosity of the event's sponsors, which include the Village of Pinehurst Department of Parks and Recreation; WIOZ 550-AM; Star 102.5-FM; Pinehurst Area Realty; Menendez and Ritter Retirement Group; Heavenly Pines Jewelry and Gifts; and BAS Audio and Light.
An Affair of the Arts takes place Friday, March 26, at the Pinehurst Fair Barn. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for cocktail hour, with dinner at 6:30 p.m., and cabaret and dancing beginning at 7:15 p.m. Black tie is optional. For more information, see www.AffairOfTheArts.net or call Bernett Productions at (910) 692-8839.
"We must have a concept that is striking a positive note with people, because we already have about 40 percent of our tickets spoken for just by word of mouth," says Bernett, "so anyone who wants tickets should probably get them soon."
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