11/25/10 — Embers coming back for Christmas concert at Paramount

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Embers coming back for Christmas concert at Paramount

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on November 25, 2010 12:07 AM

For the second year in a row, North Carolina's premier beach music band will help usher in Christmas in Goldsboro.

The Embers will perform at The Paramount Theatre on Monday, Dec. 20, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The group, founded by drummer Bobby Tomlinson, a Goldsboro native, is a legend among beach music fans, with timeless hits like "Faraway Places," and "I Love Beach Music," which have become virtual anthems for the genre.

The seven-man ensemble has just released a new Christmas CD and Tomlinson said he and his bandmates are eager to return to Goldsboro, where they delivered a rousing show to a packed house last year.

A portion of the proceeds from the concert will go to benefit The Empty Stocking Fund, the annual charity that provides gifts and clothing to needy children in Wayne County.

General admission tickets are $20 and can be obtained by stopping by The New-Argus at 310 N. Berkeley Blvd. between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., by visiting the newspaper website NewsArgus.com or by calling 739-7816 and leaving a message with a name and number. A member of the newspaper staff will return the call.

Tickets for children ages 12 and younger are $10. For a $35 ticket, patrons can arrive an hour early for a meet-and-greet with the band while enjoying heavy hors d'oeuvres.

The band is currently made up of Tomlinson, lead singer and trombonist Wayne Free, trumpeter Stephen Pachuta, guitarist David Dixon, bassist John Ray, saxophonist Matt Kosma, and pianist and keyboardist Rick Sanders.

The band, which has released 18 albums over the years, has opened for the Rolling Stones, performed the soundtrack for a Budweiser commercial, played for a presidential inaugural ball and at the Olympic Games and has made several visits overseas to entertain U.S. military personnel.

They have been named the official music ambassadors for North Carolina.

Tomlinson said the new Christmas album is a compilation of songs from previous Christmas shows. He said the Paramount concert will be a little different from last year's and that the band has some new material to make the show even better.

"We've added a few things," he said, adding that "Last year, a lot of people came not knowing what to expect but we got so many positive comments .... We're looking forward to playing in Goldsboro again."

The Embers are one of the few bands who openly mingle with fans, and after last year's performance they met with showgoers in the theater's lobby to sign autographs and have their photos made with fans.

"It was great. It was like a homecoming," said Tomlin-son, who lived only a few blocks from the theater as a boy.

Now, at 70, he is more than twice the age of most of the rest of the band, whose membership has changed many times over the years. But he said he will continue to play as long as he is fit. His bandmates said last year that they felt the Goldsboro show was special because of Tomlinson's hometown roots here.

The band opens its holiday show season this weekend in Burlington and will criss-cross the state and region over the next few weeks, performing in Raleigh, Morehead City, North Myrtle Beach, Thomasville and Fayetteville, among other venues.