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TroyFest features world-renowned musicians

TroyFest has quickly gained the reputation of, not only a first class arts and crafts show, but also a venue for world-class musicians.

This year’s festival will feature world-renowned saxophone artist, Chris Vadala and songwriter and singer, Billy Dees in concert.

Vadala will be in concert with Ray Smith and the Troy University Jazz Band at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24 in the parking lot next to Byrd Drugs on the square in downtown Troy.

Vadala recently released his first solo album titled “Out of the Shadows.” He is a longtime songwriter and collaborator with Chuck Mangione. Vadala holds a PhD in music and is the director of jazz studies, a saxophone professor and a distinguished scholar-teacher at the University of Maryland.

Billy Dees, who is best known as Roy Orbison’s collaborator and songwriter, will take the stage at 6:30 p.m.

The Troy concert will be a stop on Dees’ farewell tour and will be filmed for an upcoming documentary on the noted songwriter whose hits include “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “It’s Over,” which Roy Orbison took to the top of the charts.

Richard Metzger, executive director of the Johnson Center for the Arts, said the outdoor concert featuring Vadala and Dees is free and open to the public. However, the Johnson Center will have reserved tables for those who want to enjoy the concert picnic-style.

“As with last year, tables will be set up under the tent and everyone is encouraged to bring a picnic or snacks to enjoy during the concert,” Metzger said. “The cost of a table, which seats eight comfortably, is $100. If you are a Centennial member of the Johnson Center for the Arts, there is a 10 percent discount. All proceeds will benefit the Johnson Center.”

There will be a limited number of tables available, so Metzger said everyone is urged make reservations early.

Reservations may be made at the Johnson Center or by calling 434-0411.

“But table reservations aren’t necessary to enjoy the Chris Vadala and Billy Dees concert,” Metzger said. “You may bring a lawn chair and enjoy the evening. This is going to be an exceptionally good concert and we encourage everyone to make plans to come and enjoy the concert and Saturday evening in Troy with friends and neighbors.”

The Vadala-Dees concert is sponsored in part by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Southern Arts Federation.