By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The entertainment at Saturday’s Happening on the Common offered something for everyone -traditional bluegrass music, symphony orchestra music, soulful Southern gospel, lively Mexican mariachi music, Motown music, and Broadway musical tunes.
Mitchell Causway, a bluegrass musician, enjoyed the performance by the Tar River Boys, a Tarboro bluegrass band founded by the late Dr. Peter Temple. Causway said he is glad the band, which group member Bill Poplin dubbed North Carolina’s “original boy band” at Saturday’s festival, is carrying on the tradition of performing at the happening every year and the tradition legacy of bluegrass music.
“It’s acoustic-type old mountain music. It’s just a tradition that people carried on,” Causway said. The lighthearted “Engineers Don’t Wave From Trains Anymore” and the original tune “I Don’t Think Much of You Anymore” were a couple of the songs that the Tar River Boys played at the happening.
On Board Music Ministries of Wilson offered audiences Southern gospel music, playing everything from the traditional praise song “Above All” to the nontraditional praise song “Ready to Rock,” with a rock music influence.
“No matter what’s gone on in your past life, it doesn’t matter, because you’re ready to rock for God now,” said the group’s bass player Joe Gardner, of the song. “We do this not for our glory but for the glory of God, just to praise Him.”
Mariachi Los Galleros De Mexico, a mariachi band from Raleigh, livened up the atmosphere in the early afternoon hours. Young crooner Jose Mosqueida, a member of the First Baptist Church Hispanic Youth, added to the Latin flavor at the happening, singing tunes such as “Si una vez,” a song about falling out of love.
At no time of the day were more people clustered on the bleachers around the main stage than at NECP’s 3:30 performance. The chorus regaled the crowd with selections from the 1950’s Broadway musical “Grease,” including Sandy’s iconic “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “Beauty School Dropout.”
Later, the NECP band’s rendition of “Louis, Louis” had audience members clapping their hands, while seventh grader Caleb Egnor’s solo of the contemporary hit “Just Give Me a Reason” drew a loud round of applause from the audience. NECP’s performance ended on a tranquil note, with the singing of “Alleluia” and “Go Now in Peace” by the third, fourth and fifth grade chorus.
Another school group, the Stocks Elementary Chorus, entertained the early crowd at the happening with Motown favorites such as “ABC” by the Jackson 5 and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
Rounding up the lineup at the festival were an opening performance by the Tar River Community Band, a community symphony orchestra from Greenville, solo performances of popular music by JoAnn Josey of Scotland Neck, and a closing performance by the Steel Standing Band of Pinetops.