Light’s flashed on the Tift Theater stage as the tribute band, The Stranger, blasted the audience with Billy Joel’s “Allentown.” Even though the crowd was small, everyone was excited for the band’s performance, their cheering growing louder with each song, and even dancing to others. With drinks available, as well as other light refreshments, this concert was a way to have an older generation in Tifton relive classic rock.
The lead singer Mike Santoro was excited to be able to perform at Tift Theater. Having started in Charlotte, North Carolina back in 2009, Mike’s band slowly grew and now—nine years later—they perform nationally. Mike and his band loved doing it from the start, carefully trying to recreate the magic and style of a Billy Joel concert.
The concert began with some of Billy’s less popular songs like “Summer,” “Highland Falls” and “Vienna” starting off slowly and after the intermission, the band riled up the crowd with the higher energy music that everyone recognized like “Big Shot,” “Uptown Girl”, and the crowd favorite “Piano Man.”
For Mike, performing is just something he loves doing, “If I could do it for free I would, we all have a lot of fun doing this stuff and it’s hard to not enjoy yourself and that rubs off on the crowd.”
The Stranger’s performing at Tift Theater was not only an amazing event but an important event in the partnership between ABAC and Tift Theater. After ABAC began managing the production area of Tift Theater, this concert would be the first that has been set up by the Arts Connection director, Wayne Jones. Until now, the only productions that have been performed under the involvement of ABAC were from the theater section and the ABAC band.
Wayne Jones was happy with the turn out of the event, hoping to have more events like this one with more artists and musicians play and perform in the Tift Theater outside the ABAC programs.