“An Evening Under the Stars” kicks off the 40th anniversary of Weymouth Center as an arts and humanities center.

On Friday, Aug.16, the stars will shine above and fairy lights will twinkle in garden while music fills the air. Whether you come to just enjoy the beauty of the gardens on a blanket or to sway to the music, this is an evening for all ages.

The John Hatcher Band will play the standards we all love from the Great American Songbook, the most important and influential American popular songs and jazz standards of the 20th century. “You may choose to bring a lawn chair or a blanket, picnic, and get your tickets at the gate, or you may opt for a reserved table with linens, wine and crudites near the dance patio: either way this event is for everyone, young and old,” says a spokesman. “Wine, beer and water will be available for purchase at the event, no coolers please. Picnic baskets welcome.”

Why the Great American Songbook?

“As a musician I love the beautiful melodies and complex harmonies in jazz,” says John Hatcher. “I am constantly trying to increase my repertoire of tunes, which is an endless endeavor. These songs have been recorded and performed by a large number and wide range of singers and instrumental bands and jazz musicians.”

The band is made up of regional musicians: John Hatcher, tenor sax, clarinet and chromatic harmonica; Jonathan Markow, piano;  Rick Wolff, bass; Tim Haley, drums; Meghan Causey, vocalist; and Chris Shaw, trombone.

“The addition of Chris on trombone adds a variety of sound reminiscent of the big bands like Tommy Dorsey,” says Hatcher.

Meghan Causey, the young vocalist with the great big voice, says, “I love the timeless lyrics and the vocal freedom you have while singing it! Every vocalist and instrumentalist from the beginning of this type of music has put their own spin on these songs from Ella Fitzgerald to Bill Evans. Everyone has permission to tear a piece apart and put it back together the way they hear it. It is fun for all ages because the pulsating rhythms and different feels of Latin, swing, and waltz make you want to move!”

The 7 p.m. event has VIP seating by reservation, $35 each or table of six for $210. Lawn seating is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers Those under 18 are admitted for $5. Tickets available on TicketMeSandhills.com and at the gate.

Weymouth Center is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), historic site and 26-acre parkland cared for by volunteers that opens its grounds daily for the public to enjoy. Every week, hundreds of people come stroll the grounds, walk their dogs, bring their children or come through the historic Boyd house. The property and the many wonderful programs offered to the community are funded by the generosity of individuals.

“‘An Evening Under the Stars’ supports this jewel of the Sandhills and invites the community to come celebrate,” says the spokesman.

Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities is located at 555 East Connecticut Avenue in Southern Pines and is home to the NC Literary Hall of Fame.

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