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20th annual Great Pretenders show entertains at Historic Roxy

The Franklin County Arts and Humanities Council sponsored the 20th annual W.C. Handy Evening at the Roxy Thursday. Entertainment was presented by local talent featured as The Great Pretenders.

“We had a great turnout, and I’m so glad we were able to resume the show this year,” said Susie Malone, president of the FCAHC. “The Great Pretenders is a Russellville tradition that brings out the community for an enjoyable evening of music while also providing an opportunity for local creative expression.”

The evening’s emcee, Katernia Cole-Coffey, said musical shows like The Great Pretenders help continue W.C. Handy’s legacy.

Gospel band Still Here got things started at 6:30 p.m. “It was wonderful to be together on stage at the Roxy again,” said Larry Freeman, manager and drummer of the band.

Among a number of local talents to take the stage, Danielle Hillman performed “Misty Blue” by Dorothy Moore. “I was so pleased to have the opportunity to come back home and perform at the Roxy,” said Hillman.

It’s a sentiment likely shared by many who stood behind the mic that night.

“For me, singing is something that’s connected to your soul,” said Hudson Copeland, who performed the song “Shallow” by Bradley Cooper, along with Ashley Cummins. “It’s always a wonderful evening.”

“I look forward to singing at the Roxy every year,” agreed Jayne Wells, who sang “Right or Wrong” by Wanda Jackson. “I’m proud we have such a nice place to perform. I plan to perform every year I can, and I love every minute of it.”