‘The Phat Pack’ kick off community concert series

The Phat Pack, a trio who sing Broadway tunes and were named Best of Las Vegas: Best All-around Performers, perform Monday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at The Dalles High School auditorium.

They are the kick-off performance of the five-concert series presented by the Mid-Columbia Community Concert Association.

A performance by Six Guitars slated for September had to be cancelled due to smoke, said Patti Blagg, vice president of the concert association. That performance will be rescheduled.

Blagg said of the Phat Pack, “They just put on a big show. I’m really excited about it.”

The Phat Pack performs musical theater, American standards, Las Vegas hits and some new, fun original music, according to its Facebook page.

The group’s name is a twist on the term Rat Pack, the label given to a famous group of Vegas performers in the 1960s that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

The concert association has also just finalized its six performers who will star in the fifth annual Dancing with the Gorge Stars, a community concerts fundraiser set for Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the high school.

The women dancers are Mary Morehouse, Wendy Wham and Ellie Webb, and the men are Joe Morales, Stan Fargher and Steve Wray.

The concert series picks up again on April 2 with a performance by the Quebe Sisters, who are champion fiddle players out of Texas who also sing in multi-part close harmony.

Concert pianist Steven Vanhauwaert will perform April 23, and will also be providing a master class that day for advanced pianists.

The final concert is May 18 and the group is The Good Co., a six-person group that performs old time swing music, known as the Big Band sound. “I’m hoping to maybe get some hopefully local dancers that might come in and perform a couple numbers with them, do the jitterbug or something,” Blagg said.

All performances are at the high school. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the shows begin at 7 p.m.

Blagg said the concert association was looking forward to the Granada opening and possibly providing an alternate venue for concerts.

The concert association got its start in the 1930s, when communities ravaged by the Great Depression paid for traveling musicians to come to their towns because people couldn’t afford to travel to the big cities for shows, Blagg said.

Some 1,000 such organizations existed nationwide during the Depression, and now there are just 400. The concert series is largely supported by people buying subscriptions for the entire season, rather than individual ticket sales. Typically, about 300 people subscribe.

Costs are $150 for a family, which covers admission to five concerts. The cost for seniors is just $60.

Individual tickets per concert are $25 for adults and $15 for students.

“We don’t have a senior rate as an individual because we try to convert everybody into a subscription,” Blagg said.

“Once you come to one concert you realize what the value truly is and they sign up.”

For more information on the volunteer-run concert association, visit mccca.info or find them on Facebook at Mid-Columbia Community Concert Association.

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