Vince Gill slated to headline Classic

Vince Gill

The Winchester Educational Foundation announced that 20-time Grammy Award-winning country music star Vince Gill will headline the seventh annual Patsy Cline Classic on Sept. 11.

In a news conference at the Patsy Cline Theater at Handley High School in Winchester on Wednesday, Foundation Executive Director Russ Potts said, “Vince is a master showman and entertainer and a great human being.”

Potts added, “We are such a patriotic community, with so much tradition and love of country that I can’t think of a better way for us to celebrate that … than to be here that night.”

Gill has been performing in various facets and with various groups since the mid-1970s and has sold over 26 million records. The 20 Grammy Awards are the most of any country performer in history.

Christian Schweiger, of Bonnie Blue Concerts, noted that Gill is known for expansive concert sets and long shows. He said residents should “be ready for nearly a three-hour show, for sure.”

“We’re not going to cut him off if he wants to keep playing,” Schweiger added. “It’s going to be a big musical event, I know that.”

Schweiger also mentioned that they have been trying to book Gill for the classic for the last two years, but were unable to until this year, mostly due to timing.

Past performers of the classic include The Beach Boys, Willie Nelson, Wynonna Judd and Kenny Rogers.

“It’s a quality of life thing,” Schweiger said. “If we can bring these big artists here, you don’t have to drive into [Washington] D.C. We do it right here.”

Potts estimated that the foundation receives roughly 20-30 percent of the concerts’ proceeds, which then go toward Winchester Public Schools.

“The school system comes to each year different requests,” Potts said, noting that it could toward “scholarships or requests for computers.”

He explained that, due to the foundation’s status as a 501(c) nonprofit, they “cannot assume any of the [financial risk]” from an event like this.

Last year, Potts noted, the foundation received around $25,000, and has averaged around $20,000 to $25,000 per concert. He said the goal for this year is to raise $30,000.

Short of raising ticket prices, Potts said, “The only room for growth that you really have in a project like this is basically in corporate sponsorships.”

Schweiger said the concert “brings a lot of attention to the Winchester Education Foundation and it … brings attention to this campus and this school system.”

The seventh Patsy Cline Classic is set for 8 p.m. on Sept. 11 in the Patsy Cline Theater at J. Handley High School and will be presented by Bonnie Blue Concerts.

Tickets go on sale at 7 a.m. Friday at ticketfly.com.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com