Memorial Day brings multiple observances and events across the Myrtle Beach area, especially with the ninth annual “Military Appreciation Days” finales this weekend.
For the 2017 Memorial Day weekend parade, 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Farrow Parkway, at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach, Army National Guard Spc. Alek Skarlatos of Oregon will be grand marshal. He is best known for helping disarm a gunman on a Paris-bound train in 2015 and finishing in third place Lindsay Arnold later that year on the 21st season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
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Observances for Memorial Day – the chance to pause and remember everyone who has given his or her life in service for the United States – span the Strand, including the first such event at the Georgetown Veterans Memorial Wall, a striking row of monuments unveiled in December at 715 Church St. (U.S. 17), Georgetown, between American Legion Post 114 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6444. Meet there for the ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, and see the full list of ceremonies, published near this column.
Zapp keeps old school in session
Major events for this weekend, seen as kind of a kickoff to summer, include the Black Pearl Cultural Heritage Festival,” 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, at 2991 S. Ocean Blvd., Atlantic Beach. Two groups that have grooved since the 1980s – Zapp (thezappband.com) and Midnight Star (www.midnightstarband.com) – will headline Saturday evening. Longtime members from both bands called to chat by phone last week.
After a sound check Friday in Lewiston, Idaho, Lester Troutman Sr., a co-founder of Zapp, spoke about spending decades as a performer, and all the blessings he counts to this day.
Zapp fans first heard the band’s special flavor of funk with “More Bounce to the Ounce,” as Roger Troutman, sang lead through a talkbox. Lester Troutman said although he’s not sure who invented the talkbox, such artists as the leader for Sly and the Family Stone made it “honorable for us to hear” and incorporate into Zapp’s music. The device also resonated on Roger Troutman’s debut solo album, “The Many Facets of Roger,” on such hits as “So Ruff, So Tuff” and an almost-11-minute-long cover of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
Recounting Zapp’s second single, “Be Alright,” Lester Troutman liked how that turned into “a message song,” with its key line, “Together, we can make this journey.”
“People think it’s a love song,” he said, “but it’s a message song.”
Troutman beamed when bringing up his growing up with music that his parents and family celebrated with get-togethers and dancing with vinyl records spinning on a phonograph. However, he said they listened to tunes he thought as “old” at the time, not the new, hip stuff he and other youth loved, because “we liked the Beatles and the Supremes.”
Without any doubt about music’s additional purpose of taking “us back down memory lane,” Troutman quoted special words.
“My mother used to say,” he said, ‘Look, son, all you have is your memories, so go out and make some memories, and you’ll always have them to hold onto.’ Gosh, she was right. … and God is the main ingredient.”
Troutman said his family has kept Zapp – with other hits including “Dance Floor,” I Can Make You Dance,” and “Computer Love” – motoring through the years, in memory of two brothers, Roger and Larry. Even playing on stage, “always in the back” years ago, Lester Troutman said, “I knew I was doing it for Roger.”
“He was my best friend,” Troutman said. “He taught me how to play. He taught me a lot about life.”
Seeing other artists who excelled from the late 1970s and through the 1980s, Troutman is thankful to be known “by my first name,” with folks such as Jody Watley and fellow Ohio native Howard Hewitt – each formerly of Shalamar – as well as Evelyn “Champagne” King, Lakeside, the Jacksons, Commodores, and Midnight Star, with whom Zapp also shared a recent concert billing in Hawaii.
Clock still turns smiles for Midnight Star
Melvin “McArthur” Gentry, a singer and guitarist, joined Midnight Star, still based in Cincinnati, in time for a hit parade with such titles as “Freak-A-Zoid,” “No Parking (on the Dance Floor),” “Operator,” and “Midas Touch.”
He called Midnight Star recording on the Solar label, also home to the Whispers, Shalamar, Lakeside, and Klymaxx, “awesome,” but also “pretty intimidating” at first in such company. Those connections, and writing for other artists, opened other doors, including some bandmates’ projects with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Toni Braxton each.
With fans still turning out for Midnight Star concerts, such as a food festival last fall in Germany, Gentry said the group also enjoys it and that “we don’t take it for granted.”
“At the time,” he said, referring to the ’80s, “you just wanted to play music, and you just hoped you got your records out and some people recognizesd you.”
Asked why old school never gets old, Gentry glistened, noting his fanfare for other bands such as Chic, Earth, Wind & Fire, the GAP Band, and Expose.
“It was just a golden era,” he said. “That’s the only way I can put it.”
In the business of triggering memories for concertgoers, Gentry said sees the meter move with every Midnight Star gig.
“Each performance has its own energy, a different audience,” he said. “They’re responding to what you do.”
Contact Steve Palisin at 843-444-1764.
Ninth annual ‘Military Appreciation Days’
More details at 843-918-1014 or www.militaryappreciationdays.com:
Military Appreciation Days Dinner/Dance,” with Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 925 Grand Strand – and music by Carolina Midnight, 7:30-10:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Thursday at Myrtle Beach Convention Center, at Oak Street and 21st Avenue North. $30, and free parking (savings of $5). This also is the welcome party for wounded service personnel being brought to Myrtle Beach by Scents for Soldiers. 843-492-0005, 843-457-7232 or www.vva925.org.
Memorial Day weekend parade, 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Farrow Parkway, at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach, with Army National Guard Spc. Alek Skarlatos of Oregon – recipient of United States Army Soldier’s Medal and France’s Legion of Honour for his role in helping disarm a gunman on a Paris-bound train, and third-place finisher with Lindsay Arnold on 21st season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” – as grand marshal.
Family Picnic – with activities, military exhibits, and music by Andrew Thielen Big Band – noon-2 p.m. Saturday in Myrtle Beach’s Valor Memorial Garden, at The Market Common.
Memorial Day Veterans March with Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, 9 a.m. Monday, south on Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard between 16th and Ninth avenues North, with brief ceremony at former Pavilion site.
Memorial Day ceremony, 11 a.m. Monday – after mini-concert at 10:30 a.m. by Festive Brass of Myrtle Beach – at Myrtle Beach Convention Center Plaza, on Oak Street at 21st Avenue North.
Memorial Day service by Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 925, 11 a.m. Monday at Old Horry County Courthouse, 1201 Third Ave., Conway. 843-492-0005 or www.vva925.org.
Memorial Day tribute film –“Men of Honor: Freddie Stowers and Alvin York – A Story of Courage and Sacrifice in World War I” – 2 p.m. Monday at Grand 14 Cinema, at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach. Free; seats first come, first served. 843-282-0550.
Other Memorial Day related events
Memorial Day services by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10420 of Murrells Inlet – Placing of flags by veterans and preschoolers, 9 a.m. Friday in Belin Memorial United Methodist Church cemetery, 4182 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet. Formal service, noon Monday at post, 4359 U.S. 17 Bypass S., Murrells Inlet, with Curtis Bostic, a Marine Corps Desert Storm veteran from Charleston, as guest speaker; Ed Piotrowski, chief meteorologist for WPDE-TV 15, as master of ceremonies; Battle Cross ceremony by Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association; and music by Pawleys Island Concert Band. 843-651-6900.
“Memorial Saturday Fiesta,” noon-5 p.m. Saturday, at La Belle Amie Vineyard, 1120 St. Joseph Road, Little River, just west of North Myrtle Beach Middle School. $5. Also, bring two canned/dry good items for food bank, for $3 off admission. 843-399-9463 or labelleamie.com.
Sunday in Surfside Beach: “Memorial Day Golf Cart Parade,” 1 p.m., south on Ocean Boulevard, from 16th Avenue North to Melody Lane (register by emailing email@example.com); and “Memorial Day Cookout,” 4-8 p.m. at Surfside and Yaupon drives, with music by Sea Cruz. Each free. 843-650-9548 or surfsidebeach.org.
Memorial Day observance, 10 a.m. Monday at Georgetown Veterans Memorial Wall, 715 Church St. (U.S. 17), Georgetown, between American Legion Post 114 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6444. 843-546-3745.
Memorial Day service with Little River Elks Lodge 2840 and other groups, including music by Myrtle Beach Regional Pipe Band, 11 a.m. Monday at North Myrtle Beach Memorial Gardens, 65 E. S.C. 90, Little River, at U.S. 17, S.C. 9 and Nixon Crossroads. 843-249-2932.
“Letters Home” 90-minute play, about real-life connections to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2 and 7 p.m. Monday – each with question-and-answer session with cast afterward – aboard USS Yorktown, at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum 40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant. Free with reservations at www.patriotspoint.org/news-and-events/event/letters-home-play-memorial-day/. Parking $5. 843-884-2727.
“The Moveable Feast,” with Walt Gragg (waltgragg.com), Army/Cold War veteran and author of military thriller novel “The Red Line,” 11 a.m.-1 p.m. June 2 at Hot Fish Club, 4911 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet. $30, and with $5 cash rebate with purchase of book on site. Reservations at 843-235-9600 or classatpawleys.com.
ETV airs ‘National Memorial Day Concert’
WHAT, WHEN AND WHERE: 28th annual “National Memorial Day Concert,” live from U.S. Capitol west lawn in Washington, D.C., 8-9:30 p.m. Sunday, with replay right afterward, 9:30-11 p.m., on PBS: including ETV outlets WHMC-TV 23 of Conway and WITV-TV 7 of Charleston, and WUNJ-TV 39 of Wilmington, N.C. (www.pbs.org/memorialdayconcert)
WITH: Actors Joe Mantegna and Laurence Fishburne (filling in for Gary Sinise), co-hosts, with singers Renee Fleming, Scotty McCreery, John Ondrasik/Five for Fighting, Ronan Tynan, and Russell Watson; singer/actresses Auli’i Cravalho and Vanessa Williams; actors Christopher Jackson, Ana Ortiz, and John Ortiz; the National Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Jack Everly, as well as the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, U.S. Army Chorus, The Soldiers’ Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, and U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants.
Music fuels ‘Black Pearl,’ ‘Conway Summerfest’ celebrations
“Black Pearl Cultural Heritage Festival,” 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, at 2991 S. Ocean Blvd., Atlantic Beach – with Bobby Rush, Tina Brown, and TK Soul performing Friday; and Zapp, Midnight Star, and Big Mucci on Saturday, and DJ Deja Blue both nights. $45 daily, $75 two-day pass, or VIP $125 daily. 877-710-7779 or www.blackpearlmusicfestival.com.
“Conway Summerfest,” 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, downtown on Third Avenue and on Elm and Laurel streets, with concerts by Carolina Midnight at 11 a.m., Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot 1:30 p.m., and Part-Time Party-time Band 4 p.m. Free. 843-488-1950 or www.conwayparksandrecreation.com/summerfest.html. Also, Myrtle Beach Car Club show, for which registration is 9 a.m.-noon, for $20 (843-742-9802 or www.myrtlebeachcarclub.com).
Dock into ‘Waccamaw Getaway Music Festival’
The “Waccamaw Getaway Music Festival” – at Bucksport Marina, 135 Bucksport Road, east from U.S. 701, south of Conway – spans three days with this schedule:
Friday – Sweet Sweet at 7 p.m., Superswamp Heroes 8:20, and Preacher Stone 9:50.
Saturday – Freeway Revival 11 a.m., Circuit Trio 12:20 p.m., The Unfaithful Servants tribute to The Band 2 p.m., Oracle Blue 3:50, Kenny George Band 5:50, Kid Drew’s Skydog tribute to Allman Brothers 7:40, Randall Bramblett Band 9:30, and Machine Funk tribute to Widespread Panic 11:20.
Sunday – Bubba Love 11 a.m., Matt Parker and the Deacons 12:20 p.m., Dubtown Cosmonauts 2:10, PaperWork 4 p.m., Electric Soul Pandemic 5:50, Groove Fetish 7:40, Ben Miller Band 9:30, and TreeHouse! at 11:20.
Tickets at the gate for ages 10 and older are $20 for Friday, and $25 each for Saturday and Sunday – or $60 for three-day pass – and free ages 9 and younger. Advance sales at www.etix.com/ticket/v/12280/captain-bucks-port?performance_id=2462220&country=US&language=en. Parking is free.
More details from marina at 843-397-5566, and at www.wave104.com/waccamaw-getaway-lineup/.