Edinburg concert series launches with young performer

By Josette Keelor

Theatre Shenandoah’s second Summer Concert Series will kick off a summer of musical talent from around the area, beginning tonight in Edinburg with 12-year-old Charlee Allman, a sixth grader at Warren County Middle School.

Rich Follett, who organized this summer’s schedule of performers, said he chose Charlee to be part of the concert series because of her talent and dedication in building her country music career.

“I’m absolutely convinced she’s going to be a big star one of these days,” Follett said.

Recordings of her performances are easily found on YouTube. Charlee has performed the National Anthem before games of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, as well as around the valley. She also won the Capital Country Challenge singing competition in 2012 after singing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”

Follett, vice president of the board at Theatre Shenandoah, first worked with Charlee on a Habitat for Humanity event three years ago.

“She truly is astonishing,” he said.

But Charlee won’t be the series’ only young performer.

On July 16, recent Skyline High School graduate Brooke Adams will perform before beginning her undergraduate studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Follett said. He called her musical style “intelligent, contemporary acoustic,” likening her to singer Jewel.

Adams performed as Betty Haynes in Skyline’s production of “White Christmas” last fall, and Follett said she’s been a favorite at Cristina’s Café in Strasburg.

“What is the purpose of community theater,” Follett asked, “if not to highlight community members with talent?”

Lee Blanton will perform on June 18, Ricky and Amanda Wilkins on July 2, Mary Shapiro and Jeff Wolf of Sounds of Hope on July 30, and Con Burch with a special guest on Aug. 13.

Follett, also an actor, poet and songwriter, will close the season Aug. 27 with what he called “Burl Ives-type of stuff and stories.”

Rising eighth grader John-Robert Rimel of Edinburg also will perform that night.

Music chosen for the concert series is family oriented, and Follett said the theater has been newly improved with a chair lift installed last week, using a grant from the Shenandoah Community Foundation.

“It’s all meant to encourage young people to come with families to the theater,” Follett said. “Community theater should serve the community.”

Theatre Shenandoah’s Summer Concert Series will start at 7 p.m. Tuesday and will continue every other Tuesday through Aug. 27 at 107 Center St. Admission is $5. For more information, call 540-984-3972 or visit www.theatreshenandoah.org.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com