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Drifting into Springfield

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Legendary musicians, The Drifters, play Idle Hour Park

By The Staff

By Jeff Moreland

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Editor/General Manager

If there had been a prize for the audience members who traveled the longest distance to Saturday night’s concert featuring Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters at Idle Hour Park, Louis and Viola Klein would have won hands down.

The Kleins made their way to Springfield from Midland, Mich., making a drive of 496 miles, according to Louis.

“This music was back in our time. We always liked the 40s, 50s and 60s music,” Louis said. He and Viola travel to all types of shows around the country. They’ve seen concerts in Branson, Mo., and taken in plays in New York City. Louis said he loves the atmosphere of outdoor shows like Saturday’s Drifters concert.

“In Michigan when we have anything like this, you have to pay to get in, you have to pay for your parking, and everything costs you. This here is $20, and that’s nothing,” Louis said. “There’s nothing like going to a live show. My son-in-law, every time we come down here, he takes us all over Kentucky. He got us these tickets and called, so we were excited to come down. This is fabulous!”

The Kleins were not alone in their enjoyment of the show. As the concert got underway, opening act Toni Williams cranked out classics to warm up the crowd, and she did her job. Moments after taking the stage, the Drifters had fans on their feet. Before the show was over, legendary Drifters tunes like “On Broadway,” “Up on the Roof,” “Under the Boardwalk,” and “This Magic Moment” filled the warm summer air. Fans of all ages appeared to enjoy the show as they sang along and danced.

Saturday’s event was the second in the Springfield-Washington County Chamber of Commerce’s new Summer Concert Series, and chamber president Ralph Blandford said he thought the show was a success despite a little smaller crowd than expected.

“I thought we put on a heck of a show. From the lady who opened the show down to The Drifters, they got the crowd involved, and it was a great summer show,” Blandford said. “Obviously we’re a little disappointed with the turnout, but we’re hoping this thing will grow. So many people have done so many things and worked so hard trying to get these things established. I do believe we have shown the people of Washington County we are going to do things like this for them if they will continue to support us, and we’re not done. We didn’t do as good as we wanted, but we’re not done and there’s going to be more.”

Dawn Pettus, executive director of the Springfield-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, said more shows are planned as part of the concert series.

“We are hoping to have another outdoor show in late August or early September, but details have yet to be worked out. Of course, the Monarchs will be here Oct. 4 for a free concert at the Kentucky Crossroads Harvest Festival and they will close out the 2008 Summer Concert Series,” she said. “Keith McGill, who opened for Etta May, will be here Jan. 24 for two shows. He was extremely popular with the crowd, so we are pleased to bring him back for his own show.”

For updates and more on future chamber events, visit www.springfieldkychamber.com on the Internet.