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Black Jacket Symphony dazzles crowd

Delighting the crowd, members of the Greenville High School Band made a surprise appearance at the end of the show to perform the hit “Tusk.”

Delighting the crowd, members of the Greenville High School Band made a surprise appearance at the end of the show to perform the hit “Tusk.”

A beautiful October night. A stage filled with top-notch professional musicians sharing pop/rock music that defined a generation. An extraordinarily dazzling light show. A surprise performance by the local high school band. And an outdoor after party featuring homegrown talent, plenty of delicious food and southern hospitality.

It all happened right here in the Camellia City.

The Greenville Area Arts Council kicked off its 2016-2017 season in high style Thursday night with the arrival of the critically acclaimed Black Jacket Symphony and their presentation of the hugely popular 1977 album by Fleetwood Mac, “Rumours.”

Audience members clapped and cheered throughout the show, which included a second set of the band’s biggest hits such as “Gypsy,” “Hold Me,” “Big Love” and more. From the wistful ballad “Landslide” to the energetic “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” the hits kept coming throughout the evening.

“I can’t recall enjoying a performance more, unless it’s our own Ritz Players,” exclaimed Joanne Thomas.

Amy O’Connor concurred. “People really missed a great show if they missed this one,” she said.

The big surprise of the night for most of the audience was seeing the Greenville High Band, garbed in their brand-new uniforms, rushing in to take the stage and perform “Tusk” to close out the crowd-pleasing production.

“It almost didn’t happen,” said proud band mom Cheryl Gates, whose son Chris was one of the performers. “But I said we can’t let the kids miss this opportunity. They rehearsed this afternoon . . . I think they did a great job!”

Susan Andrews agreed, adding, “Just seeing the looks on those kids’ faces, you know it was an unforgettable experience for them.”

GAAC director Nancy Idland came down to the stage to give some of the band members from her own alma mater a hug.

“Nancy couldn’t have chosen a better show . . . Fleetwood Mac is one of my all-time faves and I never got to see them perform live, so this was a real treat,” said Sandra Roberson.

And about those lights . . .

“Honestly, it would have been worth the price of admission just for the light show alone,” said Elise Parmer. “Amazing!”

Those who remained for the outdoor after party (with a portion of Commerce St. blocked off for the event) got an extra musical treat. Veteran Ritz Player Vicki Burt performed several numbers for the crowd showcasing her own impressive singing chops.

GAAC members offered a lavish selection of autumn-themed refreshments on tables set up in the street, the flickering glow of candelabras adding an extra touch of ambiance to the atmosphere.

“It really was a beautiful night,” said Joanne Thomas.

The next production of the GAAC artistic season is set for November 3, with Jason Petty and Katie Deal presenting The Classic Nashville Road Show.