One of the most popular features of the annual Dogwood Festival is the music. This year is no exception.
The 64th annual Dogwood Festival gets under way on Thursday, April 25, and runs through Sunday, April 28, and each day showcases performers, local and beyond.
April 25 is Karaoke Night. Everyone is welcome to participate in the competition, which takes place at the Carnival Grounds starting at 6 p.m.
On Friday, April 26, Uptown Band will be performing on the Vinton Farmers’ Market Stage from 6 to 10 p.m. Uptown is a dance band, based in Roanoke, playing favorite ’70s funk, ’80s dance, pop, today’s top 40 and some classics. Admission is $5. All Farmers’ Market concerts from April 26 through 28 include a beverage garden and food available for sale. Bring a lawn chair for seating.
On Saturday, April 27, there is live entertainment throughout the day, on the Farmer’s Market Stage and at Vinton Baptist Church.
The William Byrd Jazz Band will be performing at 10 a.m., followed by Floyd Ward Dance at 11, Marie Anderson at noon, and the Fuzzy Logic Duo, featuring Scott Joshway at 1 p.m.
Marie Anderson is well known to patrons of Twin Creeks Brewing Co. in Vinton where she appears frequently. She describes herself as a singer/musician/songwriter who has been involved with music since age 4. She plays “a little of everything” and has no desire to be known for a specific genre of music.
“I have no aspirations of ‘making it big,’ I just want people to be able to feel it like I feel it,” said Anderson. “I’m just happy to be out there doing what I love— playing music.”
“I incorporate self-made drum tracks, live loops, and harmonies into my show so that at times I can sound like a full band,” she said. “I know and can perform over 1,600 songs covering various genres from the 1920s to today. That also includes my own original music.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to have a stranger make a point to come up to you and call you out by name because they recognize you from somewhere you’ve played, and tell you how much they enjoyed it,” Anderson said.
She was named one of the top 10 bands in Roanoke by the Roanoker Magazine in 2018 and winner of the 2015 Lyrics on the Lake Singer Songwriter Competition.
Bluegrass band Mason Creek will perform on the Vinton Baptist parking lot stage from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 27.
Mason Creek was founded in 2015 and features experienced artists of traditional bluegrass music. They are based in Roanoke and feature veteran performer Gary John on lead vocals and guitar, along with newcomer Brandon Dickerson on banjo, Shannon Wheeler on fiddle, and Victor Dowdy on vocals and bass.
On Saturday evening, U.B.U. the Band will be featured at the Farmers’ Market. Once again, admission is $5 with 12 and under free. This band performs a wide variety of music for all age groups. It boasts five very talented vocalists who incorporate top of the line choreography into their shows and many costume changes in a single evening.
“On any given evening you may hear the soft sounds of dinner music leading up to the sounds of The Drifters, The Temptations, The Tams, The Embers, The Showman, Celine Dion, Patsy Cline, Delbert McClinton, Wilson Pickett, Bob Seger, KC and The Sunshine Band, Sarah McLachlan, Sam Cook, Bobby Brown, The Spice Girls and The Village People to mention a few,” they say.
Wrapping up the festival on April 28 is “Celebration Sunday,” featuring the Humble Praise Band and vocalist Joe Overfelt. This concert is scheduled for the Farmers’ Market from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Humble Praise is the volunteer praise band at Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church. The members combine electric and acoustic guitars, drums, keyboard, and vocals to share the love of Jesus Christ through music.
Members include: Don BeVille, Greg Chewning, Chip Bennett, Marty Crow, Mark Folks, Sam Givens, Duane Rice, Tripp Waymack, Hank Gottschalk, and Beth Abbott.
BeVille said, “Humble Praise began at a time when Thrasher had only one service, at 11 a.m. That service was, and still is, what we consider a ‘traditional’ service with music led by a choir, focused on hymns. Our pastor at the time was the Rev. Dr. Rob Colwell. He recognized a need for additional opportunities for worship in our community, and so an evening service on Wednesdays was added. It was called Wednesday.COM (Christ Offers More). Music for this service was led by Phil Barber, on guitar/vocals, and participation was open to others if they were interested. At that time they were known as ‘Phil and Friends’.
“As the service grew, the musicians became more of a regular group,” said BeVille. “Changes did occur with the group, as you would expect. Phil knew I played guitar and asked if I would be interested in helping, and thus began my involvement.
“As the Wednesday.COM service continued, there was also a growing, fundamental change in styles of worship, in many denominations, and the type of music was central to this change,” BeVille noted. “In an effort to retain current members, and draw in new people seeking a church that offered a more modern style of music, a 9 a.m. ‘contemporary’ service was added to Sunday mornings at Thrasher to complement the traditional service. It quickly became apparent that this was a good fit for Thrasher, as the service grew and is now well established as part of our regular Sunday morning worship opportunities.
“As for the band, the name is self-explanatory. We volunteer our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness in all that we do for Thrasher and our community. That part has never changed.”
Joe Overfelt is a southern gospel singer. His grandfather, Bill Cato, was a pastor for over 40 years and his family, “The Kingerys,” sang for many years all over the East Coast.
Overfelt started out singing and ministering in nursing homes and in talent shows at school. He sang in the school choir and “found myself leading the music in our little country church here in Roanoke.”
At age 15, he met J.D. Sumner and The Stamps Quartet. “I will never forget that August night that J.D. called me up on stage to sing with him. I felt like a star.
“J.D. was one of the most encouraging men I had ever met with a humble heart and a heart for God,” said Overfelt.
At age 16, Overfelt bought his first piece of sound equipment, not knowing where he was going to sing, but ready to go. He sang from churches to nursing homes, to civic clubs– anywhere.
“I did this for about five or six years before God took hold of my life,” said Overfelt. “God said to me ‘Joe, you’re doing this for the wrong reasons.’”
Overfelt says he has come to realize it’s not about buses or clothes or who knows you or what record label you’re on— “it’s all about God and his love for us. When I go to sing, I go to minister. I want to renew the brokenness that so many face today. I share my story and how Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly, so that we can be free from sin and shame. Jesus has shown us mercy and grace and that’s what I want to do to others. I want to see souls saved and people’s hearts changed through the ministry God has given me.”