People can talk about how rough the Pandemic, lock-down, and ensuing time has been on us. We are supposed to be nearly back to normal now. After that rough time, I deemed Billy McGuigan and his brothers, (international touring entertainers living right here in Nebraska) Ryan and Matthew, to be the cure for COVID. They were the first live show we saw, socially distanced, after the long quarantine. It restored my hope in life continuing.
Once again, last night we attended the last show, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” in a 3-show run at the beautiful Sumtur Amphitheater, in Papillion, just down the highway from us. (Do I sound like a small town-girl?). Only when I heard the fantastic band play and cast sing did I realize how off I’ve been from all the constant bad news this year; the children killed everywhere while at school, the economy, prices spiraling out of control. My soul has been given hope again. The hope there is in music.
For the first time in my memory, the show had an emcee other than Billy, who emceed the first night. The second night, Julie Cornell, of KETV Newswatch 7 emceed, followed on Saturday by her co-anchor, Rob McCartney. They are both great people in the community and regular people. He added some humor about the huge storm that passed through about an hour before showtime.
The show’s musical director was Matthew McGuigan. He had a different presence onstage last night. He is a genius with music anyway, and was much more animated last night. He comes up with some really fantastic arrangements; they make full use of the vocal ranges the women and men have. It is a thing of real beauty to all your senses. And the instrumental parts are always top shelf. What will he think of next? Great things, I’m sure.
Not only did I regain hope in the world, but seeing all these younger people Billy has brought into his talent pool are all so good, so full of promise. They will carry the torch of hope forward for all of us. Each night of this three gig run, a student from the McGuigan Arts Academy selected one student to be featured with the band as a lead guitar solo. Last night was a young man named Miles. He was fantastic! Had his first band photo taken and posted. He played well, and, most important, he had the rock-star-head-motion to move his massive head of hair out of his eyes. That’s the critical part, boys and girls! The header photo is his very first band photo!
I’m delighted to see Cartney McGuigan co-wrote this production, utilizing her love of all things acting and singing. She also was the best stage manager (giving Kate Whitecotton a chance to sit and enjoy the show!). Here’s a link to their website, to read about all the great performers; Erika Hall Sieff, Nina Washington, Evelyn Hill. Jesse White, Ejanae Hume, and Julian Hinrichs. Check out the other shows scheduled for this year; Willie Wonka, Pop Rock Orchestra, Yesterday and Today. It’s the real deal, folks. See these shows. All of them. You will love these people as I grown to.
Below, I believe was one of the first time Ciaran McGuigan performed with dad, Billy. I share this because you see the young man, feel he’s a bit nervous, but is determined to do this. Glances to his band mates help. The beautiful Beatles song, Yesterday. It’s from December 8, 2019.
Now that your eyes are sweating, fast forward to last night. In this photo, to the left, the young man with the red guitar, is also Ciaran. I feel like a grandma (well, I guess I am one) saying I cannot believe how he’s grown! Not only in stature, and maturity, but also in guitar playing. He is to be watched, believe me!
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, guys. Know that your hard work is appreciated so very much. You do what gives me hope for life again. Go see them, wherever they travel. billymcguigan.com is where you can find schedules for all things related to these guys. If you live in Iowa or Nebraska, he’ll be at Davies Amphitheater July 9. Well worth the $15 at the door. And it’s a beautiful place, too. Perfect even if it’s hot outside.
It’s a humid, hot day in Nebraska. So glad the show didn’t get rained/stormed/tornadoed out last night. Figure out what your dreams are and follow them! They could lead you somewhere fantastic! I’m making time to get back to mine, and I’m much better when I’m creating. Gonna be a great week! See you tomorrow.