Embers perform for crowd
By Dennis Hill
Published in News on December 17, 2013 1:46 PM
Embers lead singer Wayne Free croons a holiday favorite while being backed up by guitarist Jeff Grimes. The Embers brought their Christmas show to Wayne Community College on Monday night to help raise money for the Empty Stocking Fund. The net proceeds from the annual concert benefit local needy children.
Santa Claus makes a surprise appearance. The Embers brought their Christmas show to Wayne Community College on Monday night to help raise money for the Empty Stocking Fund. The net proceeds from the annual concert benefit local needy children.
It was a Christmas homecoming Monday night for several members of North Carolina's favorite beach music band.
The Embers performed their annual holiday concert for the Empty Stocking Fund in Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College before an enthusiastic crowd.
"We love coming to Goldsboro," said Jeff Grimes, lead guitar player and Wayne County native. "Goldsboro's home."
"It's great being back," said Bobby Tomlinson, the band's founder and the other member who originally hails from Wayne County.
"It's always nice for those guys to be able to showcase themselves in front of their hometown friends," keyboard player Jimmy Weaver said as he watched Grimes and Tomlinson mingle with old friends before the show.
The event has been held annually for the past several years as a way of boosting the Empty Stocking Fund, which provides clothing, toys and treats for hundreds of needy Wayne County children.
This is the fund's 101st year. Over the decades, the fund has helped brighten Christmas for more than 50,000 children, said Hal Tanner III, the publisher of The News-Argus, which helped found the fund.
Tanner described the Empty Stocking Fund party held Saturday at Goldsboro High School and the expressions on the faces of the children who attended.
"It's not the toys, it's the knowledge that someone cares about them," he said of the children.
Monday's show started off with a medley of familiar Christmas tunes, then slid into a bluesy rendition of "Please Come Home for Christmas," featuring Grimes' vocals and guitar. Lead singer Wayne Free then led the group in an upbeat "Jingle Bell Rock," followed by a slow, soulful version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
The performance featured a number of Christmas hymns and Free asked the audience to remember the reason for the season before singing "O Come All Ye Faithful," and then asked them to join in "Silent Night."
"More often than not, people lose touch with what the season is all about," Free told the audience. "We try to bring you all back to your youth and the values you grew up on."
The children in the audience -- all ages -- roared when Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer made an appearance, followed by Frosty the Snowman and finally the jolly old elf himself, Santa.