PRINCESS THEATRE - Raising the Curtain: August 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

"Boo Town" Coming To The Tennessee Medieval Faire Site!


Announcing "Boo Town" at the TN Medieval Faire site in Harriman, TN. Dates Oct 23-24, 29-31, 2015. Hours 5-10p EDT. 
Admission includes a merry-not-scary village with treats, games, bounce house, Halloween music, costumed characters, and scary story telling. Crafts, food, beer and soda will also be available.

For the more adventurous, you might purchase a ticket to ride the Haunted Hayride through the deep, dark woods. You'll be pulled by an antique tractor and an even older driver! What could go wrong? 

General Admission $8 ages 13+, $5 ages 2-12. Haunted Hayride $10 ages 8+. (Cash and credit at the gate). 

Free parking. 

TN Medieval Faire site: 550 Fiske Rd, Harriman, TN.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Grand Prees' "Last Dance" Became "The Big Dance"!

Fifty years of enjoying great music together came to an end last night as the "Grand Prees" took the stage at the Princess Theatre one last time.  The tight friends and tight music band began way back in 1965, and because life has taken them in different directions, the hometown group decided it was time to end it in a "Last Dance" concert for the fans that have enjoyed them for all this time.
Back Row: Parker O'Shell, Jim Barnes, Paul Hicks, Perry Hawn, and Jimbo Duncan
Front Row: Terry Barnes, Ray Pope, Robert Crabtree, Zach Williamson, and Jack Funari
A crowd of fans of over 400 packed into the Princess, spilling over into the balcony, to hear "their kind of music"; the kind only the "Grand Prees" can play!  They were welcomed and surprised by the old original "Beacon Drive In" sign blinking away to the left of the stage.  So many memories rushed forth and they could hardly wait until Chris Mason introduced Harriman's own "Grand Prees"!
However, long before the adoring fans arrived, the band gathered for next to the last time on stage to do their "sound check".  It wasn't until the last time, and deep into the second page of the lineup, that the band seemed to relax and be well with the fact this was the "last dance".
The brass section seemed to spread that feeling as they sat down and clapped to the music.  Their faces were all smiles as they seemed to realize that they had accomplished something few bands, or people, get to do; stay together for fifty years and remain friends.  
Every hometown has a local band, and some, like our community has had several over the years, but the Grand Prees seem to hold a special place in everyone's "Mayberry dreams"; at least to us "60's kind of people"!

Taking the stage, along with the Beacon sign flashing, the band brought great anticipation, and harkened me and the audience back to that special time in all our lives.  We were young, we were in love, and we wished it would have all remained frozen in time. 

For a time Saturday, time did stand still as the Grand Prees played those songs that made us nostalgic for the "good ol' days":  Black Magic Woman, Good Ol' Rock & Roll, Best of My Love, Mustang Sally, Let It Be Me, Fire On The Mountain, My Girl, and many, many more!
Slowly, the courage came back and couples made their way down front to dance; after all, that's what the night was all about.  Hopefully, we'll all have many more years of dancing, but we will most likely have to do it without the help of the Grand Prees.
Even the grand kids got into the act, on stage with granddads, and hopefully they will one day carry on the band tradition, and come back to the Princess to again entertain us.
Who said "Mike Franks" don't like rock'n roll?
Hi Betty Ann and you ladies!

It was also a great night to comb the audience for familiar faces and to rekindle old friendships.  I saw many of mine as well, and couldn't resist embarrassing them by posting their photos here!
So the band played on without ever leaving the stage; about two and half hours, I suspect, and the crowd wanted more.  Not only are these guys great musicians, they are "good people" too.  They seemed to be surprised at the reception they got and the applause they received, so just maybe, we will entice them back...just one more dance!
The Princess sure did look pretty Saturday.  I took this during "sound check" and loved the way the colors turned out.  Once in a while I hit it just right!
So then, the Grand Prees put on their lucky t-shirts and hit the stage with two hours of "sock hopping" music!  As I said earlier, they hit their comfort zone mid-way through the set and laid into the ol' familiar tunes.  I kept thinking and hoping that with the success they were having that they would begin to rethink their intent of leaving the stage forever.  There was a small hint that Terry Barnes let slip, "You will not see the Grand Prees in this form again."  Could that mean that at least some of them will return to the stage soon?
So long Jim and Terry, we thank you for taking a chance back in ' paid off for all of us.  You got to be the "rock stars" you dreamed of being, and we got thoroughly entertained!  It was truly a "win-win", and we wish you the very best in your retirement!
Before I totally forget it, let me mention Keith Howell; what a grand gesture he made.  He bought and donated this fine bass guitar to the Princess Foundation.  The bass, which includes all the Grand Prees signatures, will be hung in honor of the band at the Princess.  Next time you see him...thank him for all of us!
So, once again, on behalf of everyone there Saturday night, thank you Grand Prees for the memories!

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