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IN CONCERT: Jackson, friends highlight Christmas season

In December, 1963, the Four Seasons sang “Oh, What a Night.” 

Nearly 50 years later, those who attended the Shelia Jackson and Friends Holiday Concert Friday night at the Claudia Crosby Theater left saying, “Oh, What a Night!”

For Troy, Alabama to have a holiday concert that would rival that of most any big city is definitely a night to remember, said Bill Hopper, president of the sponsoring Troy Arts Council.

“Shelia Jackson and Friends would be outstanding entertainment, no matter where it was performed,” Hopper said. “The variety of the show was amazing. Shelia brought together a variety of entertainers from Pike County and beyond. She featured the SheBANG! Cloggers and the Troy University Repertory Ensemble from Troy and the Mercy Baptist Church and the Trenholm Community College Choir from Montgomery. The variety of entertainers was almost unbelievable.”

And, Hopper said the variety of music for the holiday concert was also amazing.

“The first part of the concert featured jazz, pop and classical music and some seasonal songs and there was dancing and a tribute to Anita Baker.”

The second part of the concert was dedicated to Christmas music and Dr. Tomea Stewart presented an inspirational story about Christ, Hopper said.

“The entire concert was fantastic and the audience knew it would be,” he said. “In spite of the weather, the Claudia Crosby Theater was packed and no one left disappointed.”

Hopper said Shelia Jackson does an amazing job of putting together and pulling together a group of very talented friends.

“And, they come from a wide area, from across our region, from Georgia and the Florida Panhandle,” Hopper said. “Shelia has been putting the concert on for about 15 years and she coordinates it with the Troy Arts Council. Shelia is involved in every aspect of the performance; she even gets the sponsors – businesses, churches, individuals, politicians, etc. The Shelia Jackson and Friends Holiday Concert is truly a gift to the community from her and all of her friends and the TAC.”

And, for Carter Sanders of Goshen it was a gift and more.

Shelia and Grace Waggstaff sang a long-requested song, “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman.”

“That is a diva song and Shelia Jackson is a diva,” Sanders said. “She needed to sing that song.”

Sanders requested that Jackson sing “Never Enough” in the 2018 holiday concert and was admittedly a bit disappointed that she didn’t and appreciatively pleased that she did in 2019.

“Shelia sang it just like I knew she could and would and the audience response was great,” he said.

Jackson said she is always looking for new songs, new dances, new “friends’ to perform at the annual Christmas concert.

“When Don Crapps first asked me to do a holiday concert, I thought it would be a one-time thing,” Jackson said. “But, it’s been 15 years and I think I enjoy it more now than ever. I thank Don for this gift to me and to our community.”

Jackson expressed appreciation to all of her “friends” for sharing their talents, to those who filled the Claudia Crosby Theater, to all the concert sponsors and, especially, to the Troy Arts Council for their gift to the community at Christmastime.