AA5 starts next week

Spare Change will open up the 2015 Alive After Five Summer Concert Series in Clinton next Thursday, May 21.

Believe it or not, the kickoff to the fifth season of Alive After Five Summer Concert Series is already less than a week away.

The full slate of free concerts extend through September to the masses in Sampson County and the surrounding area. The fun starts on Thursday, May 21, with Spare Change, no stranger to Clinton’s annual series.

Founded in 2010, Alive After Five (AA5) is a partnership between the Sampson Arts Council, the City of Clinton and Sampson County. Since its inception, the AA5 Committee — along with approximately 125 sponsors — have produced and presented 22 concerts free to all citizens and visitors to Sampson County.

This season will feature six more.

The concerts, offered at no cost to the public, are held at the Clinton City Market on Lisbon Street, Clinton. All shows this year are scheduled to extend from 5:45 to 8:45 p.m.

“Alive After Five summer concerts are family-friendly events that are fun and entertaining for all ages,” said Ray Jordan, chairman of the Alive After Five (AA5) Committee. “Each concert provides attendees the opportunity to catch up with neighbors and old friends, as well as providing a venue for meeting newcomers to the community.”

La Grange’s own Spare Change offers genre-jumping selections that range from rock, country, beach, funk, rap and classic rock, and feature a unique blend of instruments from the mandolin to the violin. It’s not out of the ordinary for the band to play covers of Charlie Daniels, Rehab and the Jackson 5 back to back.

They will be followed on Thursday, June 18, by another AA5 veteran Jim Quick & Coastline, the band that opened the inaugural AA5 season in 2010.

Quick & Coastline have been touring the Southeast for more than 15 years, offering a blend of country, blues, soul, Southern rock and jazz at nearly 300 shows per year. Quick has been a recipient of the Carolina Music Awards “Entertainer of the Year Award” nine times.

And, while last year’s Alive After Five extended into the fall with all-day concerts in conjunction with Clinton’s annual Court Square Street Fair, AA5 committee members decided to forego that fall offering in favor of a second June concert this year. Following Quick that Thursday night, the next night, Friday, June 19, the Triangle’s newest Latin dance band Orquesta K’Che will make their Sampson County debut.

The Sampson Arts Council through a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council’s Grassroots Funding Program will fund the additional concert.

Orquesta K’Che is a 10-piece band featuring a four-piece horn section, five-piece rhythm section and a vocalist, with the band’s members representing Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

On Thursday, July 16, The Carolina Breakers will take the stage. A high-energy six piece band with four front lead vocalists and a horn section, the Breakers offer beach, boogie, funk, R&B, classic rock, country and Motown.

Another AA5 newcomer, Soul Play, will entertain the masses, on Thursday, Aug. 13. Featuring two female vocalists and one male, along with a full rhythm section, Soul Play offers classic, funk, disco, beach, as well as some of today’s latest top 40 hits.

The closing concert of the season is set for Thursday, Sept. 17, featuring the ever-popular and AA5 standard Band of Oz. A dynamic eight-member group complete with a full horn section, the Band of Oz puts on well over 200 shows a year and is a name synonymous with beach music in the Carolinas.

While music is at the forefront of the series, those coming out to the shows will also be able to visit plenty of vendors offering food, drinks and various products and services.

“Food vendors and exhibitors will be on hand offering attendees food options as well as the opportunity to visit and network with many local businesses that are sponsors of the concert series,” Jordan said.

For more information, visit aliveafterfivewww.clintonnc.com.

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