Austin Coats opens Concerts on the Pier series Saturday

The Concerts on the Pier returns in Summer 2023 as a concert series.

The first concert featuring Austin Coats is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on Lake Tillery, near Goat Island (the last cove before the southern dam on the Stanly County side of the lake).

People can listen to the free concert from their boats, from shore or by watching the live stream on the Stanly County Arts Council’s Facebook page.

If interested in shore seating, email the Stanly County Arts Council to reserve your spot at stanlycountyartscouncil1974@gmail.com.

Coats is a Stanly County native. At 18 he moved to New York City and earned a BFA in Commercial Dance from Pace University. Since then he has performed around the world in more than 50 countries across five continents with various cruise lines as both a lead singer and dancer. He has performed works by Tony and Emmy Award winners Andy Blankenbuehler, Mandy Moore and Michael Rooney and for Warren Carlyle at the Astaire Awards.

As a dancer, he has also worked with choreographers Dee Caspary, Gustavo Vargas and Monica Kapoor and performed repertoire by Bob Fosse, Twyla Tharp and Agnes de Mille. Professional theatre credits include “Cats” (Skimbleshanks), “Anything Goes” (u/s Billy), “Mamma Mia” and “Chicago.”

Coats would like to thank the Stanly County Arts Council for its continued support.

“It is a privilege for the Arts Council to bring visibility to our aspiring, local performers. We hope everyone will come out and support Austin. The arts continue to play an important role in his life. We appreciate everything he has done the past three years to keep the arts alive in Stanly County. Austin has many talents, from singing, dancing, and theatre, that we can’t wait to see what the future holds for his professional career,” said Lynn Plummer, chairman of the Stanly County Arts Council.

Concert on the Pier is the brainchild of Coats. When the Covid pandemic hit, Coats returned to Stanly County from New York City. In Fall 2020, Coats determined that performing from a pier for boats or for an audience socially distanced on shore would meet the needs to hear live music while being performed in a safe environment.  The first Concert on the Pier occurred on a chilly night in October 2020 with Coats performing and raising funds for the local arts community by having donations benefit the Stanly County Arts Council. He followed that concert with another concert in May 2021, with much better weather and once again the funds raised benefited the Stanly County Arts Council. Even though restrictions no longer exist, the Concert on the Pier is still a great way to enjoy live music. In Summer 2022, it expanded to a three concert series, offering other local talents to grace the pier.

For Summer 2023, there will be four Saturday night concerts; June 3 with Austin Coats, July 15 with The Hatleys, Aug. 12 with Jack Burns, and Sept. 9 with Joy Almond. Each musician has their own style, so it’ll be fun to attend all four concerts.

Donations will be accepted again on behalf of the Stanly County Arts Council, a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to encourage and promote broad-based cultural and educational activities in the arts throughout Stanly County.

The Stanly County Arts Council Facebook page will be updated if cancellations or postponements are necessary due to weather.

“We are so grateful to the Coats for their strong support of the arts in Stanly County. This unique fundraiser has become our favorite. I hope everyone will find a way to Goat Island on Lake Tillery, either by boat, by car or by viewing on Facebook, to support Austin on his musical journey and the mission of the Stanly County Arts Council. We are so blessed in Stanly County to have so many talented artists, and are fortunate that this unique venue and concert series can highlight these artists,” said Renee VanHorn, executive director of the Stanly County Arts Council.

The Stanly County Arts Council is supported by private donations and by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.