‘Legends of Rock’ Concert Benefits USAO Band

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Chickasha residents won’t be the only ones in line for a good thing when ‘Elton John’ and ‘Billy Joel’ meet ‘John Lennon’ on stage at the University of Science and Arts. A portion of the Oct. 12 concert’s proceeds will go directly to the USAO Concert Band.

“The Legends of Rock ‘N‘ Roll” musical tribute concert features two East Coast performers dressing and acting the parts of three of rock music’s most famous artists.

Billy Joel and Elton John impersonator Lee Alverson, as well as John Lennon impersonator Bill Kropinak, will rock the stage at 7:30 p.m. in the newly remodeled Te Ata Memorial Auditorium in Troutt Hall. Both singers’ shows include instruments and costumes authentic to the singers and songwriters they play.

Dr. Dan Hanson, professor of music, said he hopes the concert will help draw local attention to both USAO musical ensembles and the university as a whole.

“The USAO Droverspirit Wind Ensemble and the Concert Band are one and the same,” said Hanson, who serves as conductor for the music groups. “This talented ensemble of university-level players consistently provides a powerful and dynamic level of entertainment for the campus and surrounding area.”

Bruce McGrew, coordinator for the tribute concert, said he wanted to bring in big city entertainment that could benefit a local cause.

“We wanted something that not only provided affordable, quality entertainment, but also would benefit a local organization,” McGrew said. “Since our goal was to promote live music in the community, someone suggested the USAO Concert Band and it just made sense.”

Hanson said local and national acts help spotlight the university’s role in the artistic community.

“Our candle has been under a bushel for too long,” Hanson said. “We want to partner with concert promoter Bruce McGrew in developing a loyal and rabid fan base that supports and recognizes the many levels of excellence emerging and emanating from USAO.”

For McGrew, getting good singers wasn’t good enough. To him, these impersonators are the real deal.

“These aren't just guys who dress up as rock stars,” McGrew said. “They are professional entertainers. Lee Alverson, who portrays both Elton John and Billy Joel is an accomplished singer, songwriter, producer and pianist. He's also been named the No. 1 Elton impersonator by United Tribute Artists International and is endorsed by the official Elton John Fan Club.

“Bill Kropinak, who performs as John Lennon, has been playing in various Beatles tribute bands for 20 years.”

Hanson said that the Concert Band’s proceeds will go towards purchasing new band instruments, percussion equipment and printed music.

Tickets for the one-night concert are $12.50 in advance or $15 at the door. USAO students, faculty and staff get in for $10 when purchased at the university. Tickets are available at the USAO Box Office, as well as Moddrell’s Honda, Dunn’s Food Center, A&E Grill and the Carpet Market.

Other show sponsors include Chickasha Lumber, Monk Chiropractic, Mike Day State Farm, Campus Corner, Charles Allen Ford, Dr Pepper, Chickasha Realty and Stillwater National Bank of Chickasha.

McGrew said the ticket price is reasonable for a local show.

“These shows typically go for around $25 or more,” he said. “The fact that it’s going to be right here in Chickasha makes it an even better value when you think about what you would spend on gas, toll and parking to go out of town.”

More information about the concert is available from Bruce McGrew at (405) 243-7252 or by email at radiobruce@cox.net.