The Embers coming to Stanly for SCCA performance

In March of last year, the Embers band, well-known for its beach music, were set to perform at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center as part of the Stanly County Concert Association concert series.

The band was set to be the fifth concert of the series, which began the previous September. ABBA-Mania, a Canadian tribute band that performs favorites of the Swedish pop band ABBA, had just played in the county the month before.

But then the coronavirus pandemic arrived and the world changed on a dime. For the first time in SCCA’s nearly 75-year history, the organization had to end its season, as live performances with big crowds were not possible.

“This is a time in our country to stand together, act wisely, pray for solutions and the health of our world,” Charlotte Maness, president of the association, emailed members of the SCCA board at the time.

After more than a year and half with no performances, the SCCA is about to launch into its 73rd season, which will begin in August and run through April for a total of six concerts. And it is only fitting that the first group to kick off the new season is the Embers. The band will perform Aug. 29 at 3 p.m. at the Agri-Civic Center.

The Embers boast numerous albums and single releases that span over half a century. Having been inducted into the South Carolina Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame, The Embers perform all over the world.

The Embers, according to their website, consider their genre “music with memory,” “heart, soul, rhythm and blues, feel good” music.

The band, which also went more than a year without performing, has been playing since the spring and is excited to be back in Stanly.

Drummer and vocalist Bobby Tomlinson, who founded the group in North Carolina in 1958, has noticed a pent-up demand for people wanting to get together to listen to live music.

“We’ve had big, record crowds everywhere we played” this year, he said. “They’re really involved, everybody seems to be having a ball.”

Aside from Tomlinson, the rest of the band includes Craig Woolard, who is the lead vocalist and plays the saxophone and flute; Stephen Pachuta, who plays trumpet and keyboards; Jeff Grimes, who plays the guitar and saxophone; Gerald Davis, who plays bass guitar; Bobby Nantz, who is also lead vocalist and plays the trumpet, trombone and flugelhorn; and Wayne Free, who plays the drums.

“We’re looking forward to playing in Stanly County,” Tomlinson said. “We have a lot of fans that way.”

The other performers this season will be The Malpass Brothers at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Paul Saik at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13, The Nashville Legacy Christmas Show at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11, The Entertainers at 7:30 p.m. March 19, 2022, and The Hall Sisters at 7:30 p.m. April 23, 2022.

Tickets, which cost $20 for adults and $10 for students, are available in advance at the Agri-Civic Center or Starnes Jewelers.