Music-themed night to bring new life to Old Armory

lifestyle_entertainmentBy Emily Tubb

Monroe Journal

AMORY – After a lengthy and heavily veiled restoration, Old Armory will reopen its doors for a night of entertainment on Saturday.

The 6:30 p.m. gala, intended to set the stage for future events, will include dinner, music and guest speaker, W.S. “Fluke” Holland.

“Our main purpose is to introduce the public to this building. It’s no longer the Old Armory people are used to and we want everyone to see its potential,” said Old Armory Special Events Council member Danny Sanders.

The evening will begin with a meet and greet followed by an opening speech from announcer Jim Buffington. Dinner will be served at 7:15 p.m. along with a performance by former Amory resident and Nashville-based singer/songwriter John Milstead.

Combining sounds from pop, rock and soul, Milstead has recently signed his first publishing deal with Reba McEntire’s publishing company, Starstruck Writer’s Group and has also toured with Sister Hazel, opened for B.B. King and performed on NBC’s Today Show.

After a film on the history of the Old Armory, legendary musician, artist and rock pioneer, W.S. “Fluke” Holland will speak.

Holland, who is in the Country Music Hall of Fame, was the drummer for Carl Perkins and laid down the tracks for “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Matchbox” and “Honey Don’t.” Holland was the only drummer Johnny Cash ever had and helped developed the “Tennessee Three” train-like beats heard in many of Cash’s songs. He was also the first musician to play a full set of drums on the stage of the Grand ‘Ol Opry and was at the Old Armory the night of the famous set played by Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis. It was on this night that Elvis supposedly heard Perkins sing “Blue Suede Shoes,” which he later recorded.

“Many people remember the Old Armory as a place for entertainment. When I was younger, I remember there being food shows and music there all the time. That is what we would like to see happening again,” Sanders said.

According to Sanders, the Old Armory is 99 percent finished and ready for the event, due to the work of the Dalrymple Foundation and is aesthetically perfect.

“We will be applying for grants to help with the cost of new lighting and improved sound quality,” said Sanders, who stated that the council is planning for a huge entertainment event in August.

As a nonprofit venture through the CREATE Foundation, all proceeds raised at this event go back into the maintenance and cost of operating the Old Armory.

Tickets for this catered, semi-formal event are $25 per person and can be purchased at Frisco Forge, Community Bank, Piggly Wiggly and the Amory office of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce.

emily.tubb@journalinc.com