Aug 03, 2021 | Performance Series , Featured

Columbia State Announces Return of First Farmers Performance Series

First Farmers Performance Series cover art with mic

After a long postponement due to COVID-19, Columbia State Community College is excited to announce its’ 19th First Farmers Performance Series season. This year’s roster features a variety of artists that will appeal to everyone.

“This has been a long time coming, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome everyone back to the Cherry Theater,” said Molly Cochran, performance series director. “Our artists, sponsors, patrons and ticket holders have been so patient and willing to work through this postponement with us, and we couldn’t be more appreciative.”

“We are extremely excited about the return of Columbia State’s First Farmers Performance Series,” said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. “As we approach the 2021-2022 season, we count our many blessings and are exceedingly grateful to our surrounding communities, our patrons, and especially our title sponsor - First Farmers and Merchants Bank, for the tremendous support that makes the series possible.” 

Opening night, Oct. 7, features The Malpass Brothers. As young boys, Christopher and Taylor Malpass soaked up the music of their granddad’s phonograph records. In their teens and early 20’s they were invited by Country Music icon, Merle Haggard, to perform as his opening act.  They traveled and recorded with Hag for the next 7 years. Currently fan favorites on RFD TV shows like Larry’s Country Diner and Country’s Family Reunion, the brothers are now coming into their own as they promote the work and music of the classic country artists they treasure while creating new music and making their own mark in the lineage of a rich American cultural heritage.

Malpass Brothers hold instruments in a barn loft
The Malpass Brothers

Nov. 4 welcomes country music legend Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. While he’s too gracious to admit it himself, the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and musician is living, breathing country-music history. He’s played alongside the masters; been a worldwide ambassador for Nashville, Bakersfield and points in between; and safeguarded country’s most valuable traditions and physical artifacts. But most importantly, Stuart continues to record and release keenly relevant music and records that honor country’s rich legacy while advancing it into the future.

Marty-Stuart and band .JPG
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives

On Dec. 9 Melinda Doolittle returns to the Cherry Theater for a Christmas performance. Melinda Doolittle is a soul–stirring songstress. She is a flawless vocalist with irresistible artistry and effortless style that compels her audiences to keep listening.  A Belmont University graduate, she became a highly sought after background vocalist singing for musical icons including Michael McDonald and Aretha Franklin. Melinda continues to thrill audiences everywhere from the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame to The White House. In addition, she has been a featured guest with the Boston Pops, Charlotte Symphony and United States Air Force Orchestra and is currently headlining her own show and touring her Great Christmas Soul Book. 

Melinda Doolittle

Performing Feb. 17 is Phil Madeira. For decades, Phil has been a mover and shaker in Nashville, writing songs for Garth Brooks, Alison Krauss, Keb’ Mo’, and many others. While still continuing his coveted position in Emmylou Harris’ Red Dirt Boys, Phil has been quietly releasing solo records, which recently brought him to the famed Newport Jazz Festival with his trio. A musician’s musician, this great singer songwriter will dazzle you and move you with his songs. Recently touted as “the love child of Randy Newman and Vince Guaraldi,” Phil continues to win over new fans everywhere. 

Phil Madeira

March 10, longtime local favorite The Isaacs will take the stage. The Isaacs, are a multi-award winning family group who began singing 35 years ago. The vocalists are mother Lily Isaacs and siblings Ben Isaacs, Sonya Isaacs Yeary and Rebecca Isaacs Bowman. Playing their own acoustic instruments and joined by other band members, The Isaacs have a unique style that blends tight family harmony with contemporary acoustic instrumentation that appeals to a variety of audiences. Their musical style has been influenced by many genres of music including bluegrass, rhythm and blues, folk, country, contemporary, acoustic and southern gospel.

The Issacs

Closing the series April 7 are Jaimee Paul and Leif Shires. Jaimee and Leif are internationally acclaimed artists who make old songs shine while making legendary music into the current obsessions of today’s music lover.  Jaimee began as a first-call studio singer, then singing live as backing vocalist for the likes of Wynonna and Kelly Clarkson. Leif’s career has flourished working with artists as varied as Kelly Clarkson, Jack White, Shania Twain, Barry Gibb, Wanda Jackson, and as part of the most influential horn section in music history, The Memphis Horns. Leif and Jaimee are reinventing the classics for a new generation of music enthusiasts. 

Jaimee Paul and Leif Shires

Season tickets go on sale Aug. 9 and are $135 each plus tax. Individual tickets go on sale Aug. 19 and are $30 each plus tax for adults and $20 each plus tax for students. To charge tickets by phone using a major credit card, call 931.540.2879 or purchase them in person in Room 113 of the Pryor Administration Building on the Columbia Campus, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

On performance nights, the box office opens at 6 p.m. in the Kenneth and Ramona Cherry Theater, located in the Waymon L. Hickman Building on the Columbia Campus. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and all shows begin at 7 p.m. The Columbia Campus is located at 1665 Hampshire Pike in Columbia.

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