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Morgan's HCC concert a food-stopin' success

August 27, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - Singing about "white beans, collard greens, sweet tea, chicken and dumplin's," Craig Morgan assured an audience stomping their feet Saturday at Hagerstown Community College's Alumni Amphitheater, "I'm Country."

Ryan Childs watched Morgan from the lawn of the amphitheater. He said he couldn't miss an opportunity to see a musician in concert who he hears on the radio all the time.

"With a big name like that coming to a small town, you had to go," said Childs, 25, of Hagerstown.

Morgan's concert was put on by country radio station WFRE in Frederick, Md., and the HCC Alumni Association.

Blaine Young, director of sales at WFRE, said the concert marked the radio station's first in Hagerstown, but he said the station intends to hold one each year, given the station's popularity in Washington County.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of the concert's 800 tickets will go to the Alumni Association, Young said.

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Lisa Stewart, alumni coordinator, said she contacted the station last year to see if they could help coordinate a concert to be held at the amphitheater. She said the alumni association hopes to get about $5,000 from the concert, which also was sponsored by several area businesses.

"We looked at many different performers," Young said. "We wanted to bring in someone popular, something that we could afford and something that would be affordable" for concertgoers.

The Knight Brothers, a local country band made up of four brothers, were selected to warm up for Morgan because of their popularity in Frederick, Young said.

Danny Knight said the band was excited to warm up for Morgan.

"We do a lot of opening act jobs," Knight said. "It's an opportunity for us to meet new audiences and warm up the crowd."

As for warming up for a country star, Knight said, "It inspires us. We'll come back to our rehearsals with a whole new interest in our own writing, our own music."

With a pair of worn cowboy boots and a couple of signed Craig Morgan glossies at her side, Stephanie Mills relaxed on a blanket and watched as Morgan walked the stage and spoke to the crowd.

"The words of his songs really speak a lot to me," Mills said, calling it "down-home music."

Mills, 27, of Williamsport, said she likes that Morgan plays smaller venues, a decision she said says a lot about his character.

Jessica Bacon, 22, of Hagerstown, said she was happy to see Morgan play in Hagerstown, too.

"It's a nice treat," she said.

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