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Get in the ‘Spirit’ at Broad Street Boogie

Staff reports • Jul 5, 2013 at 10:48 AM

After the Fun Fest Parade wraps up Friday night, July 12, at the intersection of Sullivan and Clinchfield streets, spectators are invited to stick around downtown and dance the night away at the Broad Street Boogie.

The Johnson City-based Spirit of Soul Dance Band will take the stage around 8 p.m. at Glen Bruce Park on Broad Street.

Admission is free.

“We hope this event gets people up and moving and into a fun and light-hearted spirit, opening up nine days of fun,” said Fun Fest Director Lucy Fleming.

Spirit of Soul features three male and female lead vocalists supported by a five-piece rhythm section and three horn players.

The group’s extensive song list is full of great dance music, including Motown, R&B, beach and shag, and covers favorites from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80 as well as more contemporary hits.

“We play music by Wilson Pickett to Earth, Wind and Fire to the Eagles and Michael Buble, and songs by great female artists,” said vocalist Jeff Williams. “We are constantly adding favorite new songs.”

Robin Williams, Jeff’s wife, is one of the band’s two female vocalists, and takes lead on several of its songs. Before performing with Spirit of Soul, she spent time in musical theatre and toured the Southeast with a dinner show band. Mary Duke McCartt is the band’s other female vocalist.

Chuck Gordon and Bill Derby play lead and rhythm guitars for the group. Gordon studied jazz guitar and theory, and Derby played and toured with a number of bands bands while in the service.

Spirit of Soul’s bass player Howard Bloom has toured with the Mitch Ryder Band and recorded six albums during his musical career.

Tenor sax player Sam Huddleston has been performing and touring with soul bands since the late 1960s.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing the sax because you can put so much feeling into the horn,” he said. “You touch so many people with music and it transcends generations, gender and language.”

Spirit of Soul’s horn section also features Melanie Aldridge on trumpet. When she isn’t performing with Spirit of Soul, Aldridge, who also plays flute and sings background and helps the band with musical and vocal arrangements, performs with the local symphony orchestra and a community concert band. Trumpeter Norman Gray rounds out the band’s horn section.

Don Nickell first picked up a pair of drumsticks at the age of 15, and in the years since he has played rock ‘n’ roll, Southern rock and R&B alongside such artists as jazz singer Randy Crawford and guitarist Lonnie Mack.

Fred Goodwin, the group’s keyboard player, began his musical career at the age of 13. Since turning pro at 18, he has performed with a number of notable artists, including Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, the Four Tops, John Denver, Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey and B.B. King.

Broad Street Boogie is sponsored by Kingsport Academic Partners.

For more information about the band, check out its website at www.thespiritofsoul.com.

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