Small Talk: Vince Gill ends the Knox season with a country twang
by Annette Maddox
Special to The Star
May 01, 2011 | 1918 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mixing his signature mellow music style with delightful down-home tales, multi-award-winning country singer Vince Gill brought down the curtain on the Knox Concert Series 65th season on April 2. 

On stage and off, the evening was a delightful conclusion to Knox’s signature musical variety offerings, which started in October with New Orleans blues and pops, moved through Russian classical ballet and ended in American country.

The host committee, headed by Mary Eloise and Jerry Leake, got in the Nashville mode, Knox style. The gentlemen, in de riguer tuxedo jackets, added blue jeans, silver-toed Western boots and string ties (Cleo Thomas sported a Stetson) to greet concertgoers.

Adding to the dynamic, board members, wearing flashing blue stars, were easily identifiable as they moved through the audience, encouraging everyone to subscribe to next year’s season already! With incentives of a $20 discount over regular season prices and chances to win dinners at our area’s finest restaurants, sales were brisk. Board members Rick Westbrook and Phil Webb pulled the winning names from a silk top hat (of course) just prior to curtain.

Before moving on to the traditional after-concert reception, Vince met backstage for photographs with the evening’s underwriters from Alabama Power, Southern States Bank and Stringfellow Memorial Hospital. Alys and Bill Owsley (who was an original member of the Knox board of directors) also visited backstage. Their son, Will Owsley, a musician and composer, toured with Vince’s wife, Amy Grant, and performed on stage with Amy when she was part of the 2006 Knox season.

The grand finale of the evening was a gala reception at Anniston Country Club.  In the large entrance foyer, Scott Skinner created an homage to country with a dramatic display that mixed flowers, boots and a saddle, lent by Dorothy Veach. The saddle’s interesting provenance was that it had been used by the Lone Ranger. A conversation piece indeed. 

A week after the concert, on April 12, Farley Fink, Lee Merrill and Janice Powell entertained with a coffee for the dozens of Knox Concert Series volunteers who will conclude the spring subscription offer this month. They will call last year’s members to remind them that the discounted offer ends soon.

Jim Nolen, chairman of the board, dropped by to thank the volunteers, and promised the coming year’s programming will be as stellar as this past.  Already booked are the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady” in November, and the Tchaikovsky St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra in January. Two ends of the musical spectrum, with more on the way.

Season tickets to the 2011-12 Knox concerts are $130 ($150 after May 20). To subscribe, call Ann Garner, 256-237-3464, or Lee Merrill, 256-741-8262.

To share your news with Small Talk, contact Annette Maddox at


The correct date for the Rotary Club’s “Rock Around the Park” fundraiser is Saturday, May 14.

That means you have an extra week to pound the pavement in preparation for this fun run/walk at Norwood Hodges Community Center in Golden Springs.

Funds raised will benefit All Saints Center of Concern, Community Enabler, Interfaith Ministries, Red Cross, 2nd Chance, Soup Bowl, UCP, YMCA, Rotary Polio Plus Vaccinations, Fresh Water Wells and Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.

To sign up, or for more information, visit Anniston Rotary’s website,, Anniston Noon Rotary Facebook page, e-mail club president Derek Brown at, or call project co-chairs Jerry Leake (256-238-6815) or Gary Schoenberg (256-282-6364).
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Small Talk: Vince Gill ends the Knox season with a country twang by Annette Maddox
Special to The Star

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