By TOM LAVIS
Dale Wallace has enjoyed great success in the music business, but he and other members of Emerson Drive believe their best days are ahead.
“We have a lot to accomplish and whatever success we have enjoyed, we want to continue to climb the ladder to be the next Rascal Flatts or Eagles,” said Wallace, keyboardist for the group.
Emerson Drive, along with alternative rock band Blessid Union of Souls, will perform Sept. 26 during Pitt-Johnstown’s homecoming weekend.
Wallace said the band, which hails from Canada, is touring in support of its fourth studio album, “Believe.”
The band has secured its place as the premiere contemporary country band with such hits as “I Should Be Sleeping” and “Fall Into Me.”
Its last album, “Countrified,” gave the band its first No. 1 single, “Moments,” which was nominated for a dozen major awards, including a Grammy, and set the stage for “Believe.”
“We have played a lot of college tours, and we are looking forward to performing,” Wallace said. “Playing live is not working, as far as we’re concerned.”
If that is the case, the band has not been working a lot.
Wallace said the band plays to live audiences 11 months a year.
“We take only one month off a year, and that is at Christmas,” Wallace said.
For their latest album, the performers worked with producers Josh Leo and Teddy Gentry of the legendary country band Alabama.
“Belongs To You,” the project’s first single, is a passionate love song. “Your Last,” which features the band’s world-class harmonies, is a call to appreciate the moment. Songs range from “That Kind of Beautiful,” an upbeat appreciation of a woman’s off-the-charts beauty, and “Life Down Here,” a quirky look at the universality of youthful love and passion that displays the band’s instrumental prowess, to “Clean,” the powerful story of a woman in the early stages of recovery.
“We like to produce an album with a common thread in order to tell a story,” Wallace said.
Other Emerson Drive members are Brad Mates, lead singer; Danick Dupelle, guitarist; David Pichette, fiddle; and Mike Melancon, drums.
The quintet’s ability to choose first-rate songs, coupled with their growth as songwriters, has made them one of modern music’s most entertaining acts.
“We’re at a point in our careers that we are getting constant submissions from middle- and top-drawer songwriters in Nashville for our consideration,” Wallace said.
Doors to the sports center open at 6:30 p.m., and organizers are optimistic that it will be filled to its 2,200-seat capacity.
“Ticket sales have started to take off,” said Bryan Valentine, office of student life director.
“Students often wait until closer to the day of the show to get their tickets, but general admission tickets are going fast.”
The band’s performance will follow the crowning of the 2009 Pitt-Johnstown homecoming queen.
Another homecoming activity is a parade at 11 a.m. Sept. 26.
The parade, which steps off at Richland Cinemas and ends at Blackington Hall on campus, will be led by the grand marshalls, members of Blessid Union of Souls, and the homecoming queen candidates.
Other parade participants are marching bands from Forest Hills, Greater Johnstown and Richland high schools and a number of student floats.
On Sept. 25, choreographed fireworks by Zambelli Fireworks will be presented at 8 p.m.
Who: Emerson Drive and Blessid Union of Souls.
What: Pitt-Johnstown homecoming.
Where: Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.
When: Sept. 26; doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: Visit www.indietickets.com/tickets/customer/home.php.
Cost: $12.50 plus $2.50 service fee.
By TOM LAVIS
Captured on film | Annual Johnstown movie festival kicks off tonight
People yearning to become successful filmmakers have an opportunity to showcase their talents during the seventh annual Johnstown Film Festival. Johnstown Area Heritage Association’s festival will be held tonight through Saturday (June 6-9) and will feature a mix of film shorts – documentaries, experimental films, narratives and comedies.
Toe-tapping music | Jazz Along the River kicks off Friday at St. Mary’s in Cambria City
Jazz Along the River will be back again this summer. The monthly jazz event has become a fixture at St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church pavilion, Fifth Avenue and Power Street in the Cambria City section of Johnstown. The series of concerts will feature a different jazz group on the fourth Friday of each month through September.
Texas Tenors returning to Arcadia
Contrary to popular western lore, the good guys, or at least the good singers, wear black hats.
The Texas Tenors will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Arcadia Theater, 1418 Graham Ave., Windber.
Cresson Lake Playhouse to stage ‘The Fantasticks’
This musical has been on Broadway for 54 years.
“The Fantasticks” will be presented Thursday through June 2 at Cresson Lake Playhouse, 279 Shapiro Road, Loretto.
Curtain times will be 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.
Events | Whitewater bash
Benscreek Canoe Club’s Stonycreek Rendezvous will be held today through Sunday on the Stonycreek River and Greenhouse Park, Route 403, Tire Hill.
Events | Young art
Greater Johnstown Young Artists Exhibit is on display through May 25 at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, 1217 Menoher Blvd., Westmont.
'Seeing the Invisible' exhibit opens Friday in Loretto
Painting on a different plane is a positive study for artist and Altoona native Barbara Wachter. Her latest exhibition, “Seeing the Invisible: Paintings by Barbara Wachter,” opens Friday at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto. The exhibition features 35 canvases of contemporary impressionism that will be on display in the museum’s Margery Wolf-Kuhn Gallery.
Events | 'Grand Finale'
Johnstown Symphony Orchestra will present “Grand Finale” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center in Richland Township.
Showcase of the Stars will feature students from local high schools
Local theater arts will flourish at an area arts center. The fourth annual Showcase of the Stars will be presented at 7 p.m. May 18 at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center in Richland Township.
Polka party | Three-day festival will feature Slovenian and Polish bands
After a seemingly endless winter and an abbreviated spring, the people of Johnstown are ready to kick up their heels. And there is no better opportunity to do that than by attending the Friendly City PolkaFest. The Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention and Visitors Bureau and St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church co-sponsor the event. They are ready to welcome thousands of polka enthusiasts to the city May 31 through June 2.
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