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B.J. DRYE COLUMN: Days packed full of comedy, music

A funeral, a symphony and a cruise.

Sounds like the beginning of a really bad joke or a good plot for a “Madea” film by Tyler Perry.

But they all three have something in common.

For anyone who ever complains that there is nothing to do here, this weekend offers a combination of musical and theatrical options — not to mention the historical offerings available through the Stanly County History Center and the Oakboro Regional Museum on Saturday.

The Uwharrie Players’ “Let Him Sleep ‘Till It’s Time For His Funeral” sounds interesting just by the title alone. The play continues on Saturday and then next weekend at the Badin Conference Center.

The Charlotte Symphony performs pieces from “Jaws,” “E.T.,” “Star Wars” and the other works of John Williams at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center.

Then at 8 p.m. Monday we are visited by Pablo Cruise, again at the Agri-Civic Center, with opening act Too Much Sylvia.

Which one is Pablo?

That’s a common question, and there’s a very interesting answer.

Founding member Cory Lerios claims Pablo Cruise was the nickname he gave to a friend.
He said the guy was Colombian. He graduated high school at 16 and was out of college by 19.

“He was around the band a lot when we started,” Lerios said. “He was cool with it.”

The band drew the name out of a hat and it stuck. Pablo began touring after receiving a record deal with A&M in 1975. It released a final album in 1984 before beginning a 20-year break in 1985.

Three of the founding members reformed Pablo Cruise in 2005 and the band has been performing ever since.

Lerios said the original format was that of a band of instrumentalists who sang, not having a real frontman like Mick Jagger.

But Robbie Wyckoff is now the band’s vocalist, standing out a bringing forth some of the band’s hits such as “Love Will Find A Way” and “Whatcha Gonna Do When She Say Goodbye?”

While we all like to go to concerts at the fine facility that is our Agri-Civic Center, someone always has to fit the bill to bring in talented acts such as Pablo Cruise.

This time it is Tony Ledbetter, president of Morningstar CAM Solutions in Albemarle.

“I believe the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center is a really nice venue that just might be under-utilized right now,” Ledbetter said. “If the Pablo Cruise concert is successful, it is my intention to bring national or international acts of this caliber to Albemarle on a regular basis.”

I have watched singers B.J. Thomas, Mel McDaniel and Jimmy Webb, actor Mickey Rooney and wrestlers Jimmy Snuka and Ivan Koloff — all on the stage of the Agri-Civic Center. That’s not to mention the ones that I didn’t get to see at the center, such as Jerry Clower, Bill Anderson, Lou Donaldson, Boots Randolph and many others I am forgetting at the moment.

As the center recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, let’s hope the next 30 years are filled with many more interesting performances to write home about.

B.J. Drye is editor of The Stanly News & Press. Contact him at 704-982-2123, bj.drye@stanlynewspress.com or follow bjdrye1 on Twitter.