Jackson and friends pack Crosby theater Friday for annual concert

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Shelia Jackson took the stage of the Claudia Crosby Theater Friday night to the thunderous applause of a packed audience. At that same moment, she was thrilled and humbled by it all.

“It would be hard to put into words what I was feeling,” said Jackson, who headlined the Shelia Jackson and Friends Holiday Concert. “There was such a wonderful show of support from the community. It was exciting and humbling at the same time. It was overwhelming.

“All of us in the show were so appreciative of the opportunity to join the Troy Arts Council in presenting this holiday concert as a special gift to the community.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Mack Gibson, Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center board chair, said “one more time, Jackson has blown it out of the ballpark.”

“It was an incredible night of music and entertainment,” Gibson said. “Shelia always amazes me with her ability to bring people together. The way she utilizes other talents is fantastic. Her willingness to bring others on stage for this concert and share her big moment with them just says a lot about Shelia Jackson.”

Each Christmas season, the TAC sponsors the Shelia Jackson and Friends Holiday Concert as a way of giving back to the community in appreciation for its support of the arts year round.

“Shelia Jackson and Friends is always packed,” said Ruth Walker, TAC president. “This year, people arrived long before the concert was to begin. The balcony had to be opened to accommodate the crowd. It was an unbelievable night.”

Walker said the TAC is always confident of a packed house when Jackson sings.

“Shelia is well-known in the community and beyond,” Walker said. “People love to hear her sing and they also know that she puts together an excellent concert. Shelia knows a lot of talented people and she brings them together in what is one of the best variety shows and holiday concerts anywhere around. We are never disappointed.”

The concert featured guest vocalists, musicians, University dancers and a children’s chorus in a two-act production that included Broadway tunes, jazz, R&B, pop and classical music and a Christmas concert that included the carols of Christmas and holiday songs.

Rue Botts of Brundidge has attended most of Jackson’s Christmas concerts and rated the 2014 production “one of the best.”

“It would be hard to say that one is better than the other because they are all excellent,” Botts said. “I really enjoy the variety of Shelia’s concerts. She opens with a lot of the popular songs and closes the concert with all Christmas songs. Shelia has an amazing voice and she surrounds herself with excellent talent and her concerts just get better and better.”

Radio personality Doc Kirby attended Jackson’s holiday concert for the first time and said, even for Shelia, the concert was “something.”

“Usually, I’m away performing so I haven’t had an opportunity to see Shelia’s concert,” Kirby said. “Of course, I know how well she sings. I’ve known her since she was in Jim Bell’s Junior High choir. But had no idea what an incredible extravaganza the concert would be. It reminded me of a Las Vegas show. I was impressed.”