Country singer Collin Raye to perform at UAM September 3

The SEARK Concert Association will open its new season with Collin Raye performing in Monticello on Thursday, September 3. Raye, a native of DeQueen, will be in Monticello through a collaborative effort of the SEARK Concert Association and the University of Arkansas at Monticello. This event will both kick off the 34th season of the concert association and celebrate the centennial of UAM.

Raye is currently touring in support of his latest album, "Never Going Back," which was released this spring and features the singles "Mid-Life Chrysler" and "She's With Me," a tribute to his granddaughter, who suffers from an undiagnosed neurological condition.

Born Floyd Collin Wray on August 22, 1960, Raye has had five platinum records and 15 number one singles. His mother, a regionally famous musician, opened shows for Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Collin and his older brother, Scott, performed on stage with her and went on to form the Wray Brothers Band and perform as Bubba Wray.

Raye's debut solo album contained the hit "Love, Me," which went to number one; and "Every Second," which went to number two on the country music charts. Subsequent hits have included "In This Life," "Somebody Else's Moon," "That Was a River," "My Kind of Girl," "Little Rock," "One Boy, One Girl," "I Think About You," and "What If Jesus Comes Back Like That?"

A special connection for the Monticello concert is the fact that the song "One Boy, One Girl" was written by 1989 UAM graduate Shaye Smith, a native of DeWitt. Smith now lives in Nashville and has co-written a total of four number one songs in the U.S., including "That's Why I'm Here," recorded by Kenny Chesney; "Single White Female," recorded by Chely Wright; and "There Is No Arizona," recorded by Jamie O'Neal. She has also had number one hits in Sweden ("I Should Be Sleeping") and Canada ("Complicated").

Raye is well-known for his charity work and has received a number of accolades, including:

• 1998 Academy of Country Music Male Vocalist of the Year nominee

• 1998 Dove Award for Country Recorded Song of the Year

• 1996 and 1997 Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year nominee

• 1997 Academy of Country Music Video of the Year Award for "I Think About You."

• 1996 CMA Best Video Nominee for "Not That Different"

• 1994 CMA Song of the Year Nominee for "Little Rock"

• 1992 CMA Song of the Year Nominee for "Love Me"

• 1992 ACM Single of the Year Nominee for "Love Me"

The concert will be held at UAM's Convoy Leslie-Cotton Boll Stadium beginning at 7:30. A membership in SEARK Concert Association that includes one season ticket (four events) is $60 per person. This covers the Collin Raye performance and each of the other events in the SEARK Concert Association's 2009-2010 schedule, which include:

• An October 18 performance by the St. Louis Brass Quintet, whose performances span the entire spectrum of music for brass, from compositions by Baroque and Renaissance composers to jazz arrangements of standards by Ellington/Strayhourn, Gershwin and Cole Porter.

• A December 13 performance of the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra's Christmas program. Area high school choirs have been invited to take part in this event, and to perform with the PBSO at their Pine Bluff show on the previous night.

• An April 18 performance of Yesterday Once More, a company of seven singers and musicians who relive the music of the 1970s, showcasing more than a dozen artists, but focusing on Billy Joel, The Carpenters, Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow.

In addition, the Seark Concert Association cooperates with the Monticello Music Club and the UAM Division of Music to showcase the talents of the National Federation of Music Club's Young Artist Winner. This year's winner, Dr. James Cockman III, will present a free piano recital at the Fine Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 10. 

SEARK board member Linda Tabor points out that the group also sponsors a school-day performance each year for elementary school children at Monticello, Drew Central, Warren and Crossett, providing many youngsters with their first exposure to live theater.

The fact that Seark is embarking upon its 34th season is "pretty remarkable" for a small-town fine arts association, said Sarah Blackmon, another board member. "Most of them have not survived, and we appreciate the support of all our patrons in this area, which enables us to keep bringing quality programming to southeast Arkansas," she stated.

Tickets will go on sale Monday, August 24, at the Monticello-Drew County Chamber of Commerce office. There will be no reserved seats. All seats are general admission.

For more information, contact Tabor at 460-9603 or Blackmon at 367-5399.

<p>Collin Raye concert will kick off Seark season, celebrate UAM centennial</p>


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