Center Stage Productions, Gayle Live, and The Wrightwood Blues Society presented a Peter, Paul, and Mary tribute concert on Saturday afternoon, September 30, 2023, to the rhythm of the falling rain and the singing of a peaceful demonstration of hippies.
The perfect day for a matinee, Gayle and Company and Wrightwood’s own Windy Ridge were at their minstrel’s best, bringing back some well-remembered Folk-music hits from the “Make Love, not War!” Era of the 1960s. Dressed in psychedelic fashion, the audience was definitely in character, first enjoying local acoustic guitarist Erin Coyl’s performance as they entered the gorgeous Wrightwood Place concert hall.
Master of Ceremonies Bob Gibbs was a show himself, comically guiding the crowd through the 3-hour Folk-music tribute dressed as a long-haired hippie freak. As the paisley-shirted, miniskirt-wearing aficionados of Pete Seger, Bob Dylan, and, of course, Peter, Paul, and Mary filed into the room, conversations with “Far-Out!” and “Groovy!” could be heard. With so much love and peace in the air, no one seemed to notice the brief showers outside while vocal duo Windy Ridge opened for the sold-out afternoon show.
Gayle and Company, a local favorite, has been playing Peter, Paul, and Mary tunes for years. “Kiss me and smile for me. Tell me that you’ll wait for me. Hold me like you’ll never let me go.” These are some of the unforgettable lyrics from John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane,” made famous by Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers, known musically as Peter, Paul, and Mary. Gayle and Company were gracious enough to invite audience participation. It was a great way to have fun with the past and usher in the Fall.
“Gayle and Company Covers Peter, Paul and Mary” featured Rob Hazard on stand-up bass and Brittan Webster on vocals, with Adam Welter and Gayle Dowling singing, strumming, and picking guitars. The three-part harmonies of Gayle, Brittan, and Adam kept the audience captivated while up-right bass master Rob Hazard provided a driving pulse throughout the show. Popular tunes like “Blowing In The Wind” and “This Land Is Your Land” were perfect ammunition for the crowd to sing along with the group. The local vocalists held true to the original arrangements, taking pride in each song as if they were historical works.
Windy Ridge singer-guitarists Michell Schneider and Terry Bottorff were the perfect opening act, with their two-part harmonies and syncopated guitars. Adding a third harmony, Michelle invited her son, Davey Schneider, to the crowd’s delight with his guitar to join the duo on stage. The Folk music-based now trio’s repertoire also presented a little Gospel music to boot, along with their Folk favorites like John Prine’s “On The Run” and “That’s The Way The World Goes Round.”
With an expert segue into the “Best Hippie” contest, emcee Bob Gibbs lined up the colorful contestants between shows to award the most “Out-a-sight” costume prizes. The winners received groovy hand-crafted flower arrangements from Briar Rose in Wrightwood Village. The 50/50 and Opportunity drawing took the front stage for a moment while the audience enjoyed the catered Charcuterie snack plates and beverages provided by Center Stage Productions. The terrific staff of volunteers led by Lou Stuba ensured everyone was well served and comfortable throughout the show. All of the artists performed marvelously, with kudos going to the Audio, Lighting, and Stage Staff, providing expert sound and visuals. Once again, the combination of Gayle Live, Wrightwood Place, The Wrightwood Blues Society, and Center Stage Productions knocked it out of the park, allowing us to sing “Puff, The Magic Dragon” one more time.
Get ready for an international event in Wrightwood on Friday, October 27, with Croatian Harmonica Blues recording artist Tomislav Goluban at the Yodeler Bar and Grill. For information on this and upcoming events, stay in touch with The Wrightwood Blues Society @wrightwood blues.org or (760) 574-8231