Clooney Music Festival
Friday evening, during a break in Phil Dirt and the Dozers free
concert on the main stage, Rosemary's historical highway marker was
dedicated. The county museum made the application to have the marker
erected, Nick worked on the wording and Rescue the Russell paid to
have it placed in front of the
Below Mrs. Kathryn Crosby is complimenting former Miss America 2000, Heather Renee French Henry on a fine performance with the Rosemary Clooney Choir which opened the main concert event.
Festival Producer, Jerry Lundergran speaks with Heather.
Ms. Roberta Flack has the festival crowd rockin'.
She concluded the concert by having the Rosemary Clooney choir join her on stage for her last number.
At the conclusion of the festival, Roberta was made a Kentucky Colonel and presented with a resolution by Nick Cloony and Maysville's Mayor.
At a party after the concert Nick and Bob DeFlores (film archivist who compiled the video shown during the Clooney Crosby Connection) visit for a few moments.
Clooney Music Festival
Annual festival 'better than Christmas" for some patrons
Maysville Ledger-Independent, 9/27/04
An outdoor concert, on a warm balmy evening, can be very enticing to music lovers. For Rosemary Clooney fans, it is simply irresistible.
The Rosemary Clooney Music Festival has been entertaining audiences for six years. Started before the star's death two years ago, the festival has continued as a tribute to the girl who sang on the corner of Third and Market streets in downtown Maysville.
As with any event there are those who have been coming for a long time and there are those who attended the festival for the first time Saturday. Brad and Linda Collins were first timers for Saturday night's concert. Brad Collins, who is mayor of Morehead, said the music, the choir and the night were beautiful.
'It's wonderful music and a beautiful night to enjoy it,' Brad Collins said.
Linda Collins, a long fan of this year's performer Roberta Flack was excited to see and hear the star perform.
'Oh gosh, it was wonderful,' Linda Collins said.
The festival has actually been around long enough to have history. Music lovers who were there for the first concert of Rosemary's are returning to hear headliners such as Flack.
Debbie Roberts has marked the festival on her calendar for the past six years. As long as the music is played, Roberts will be there to hear it.
'This is better than Christmas,' Roberts said. 'I wouldn't miss it for the world. It is my favorite day of the year.'
Roberts, like many people who grew up in Maysville with the legend of the girl singer swirling around them, admired Rosemary not only for her talent but also for remembering her roots.
'The festival is a great tribute to her,' Roberts said. 'It is day to honor Rosemary Clooney and also a day to honor Maysville.'
May's Lick may be few miles down the road from the river town where the Hollywood legend began her singing career, but the farming community is just as proud of Rosemary Clooney as Maysville natives.
Sue Cropper, whose family still owns a home in May's Lick, has lived for many years in Lexington. Every year she returns to Maysville to honor her favorite singer.
'We love it because it's about Rosemary,' Cropper said. 'She sang right here on these streets.'
Cropper's table was mere inches from the street corner where Rosemary and her sister sang. While the star may have been gone for many years, to Cropper she is still a very vital part of Maysville.
'She is here, everywhere,' Cropper said. 'Vance's Drug Store, the Russell, everywhere.'
The festival was created to help restore the Russell Theatre where Rosemary's first film, 'The Stars are Singing' premiered.
The Russell was the only place in town to see movies when Cropper was growing up. She and friends made the trip to Maysville to see their favorite films.
'Going to see movies at the Russell, that was The thing,' Cropper said. 'The first movie I saw there was 'Gone With the Wind.''
Cropper and her companion Doug Perkins have attended the festival since the beginning. Like Roberts, they wouldn't miss it for the world.
'I rearranged two other concerts to make sure we could be here tonight,' Cropper said. 'We have tickets for Lexington Opera and Louisville Opera. Those tickets can be changed around. But this night is it for the Rosemary Clooney Festival.'
Cropper makes reservations for the festival the first week tickets are available. She pays for a good table because she wants to be up close.
'This is the only outdoor festival we attend,' Perkins said. 'It is unique with the open air and the brick streets.'
Cropper and Perkins said they didn't know of any other town that honors a hometown hero in quite the same way Maysville honors Rosemary Clooney.
'This is world class,' Perkins said.
Festival No. 6 Called 'best ever'
Maysville Ledger-Independent, 9/27/04
There were a lot of superlatives thrown around Saturday night in Maysville after a performance by Grammy Award winner Roberta Flack, but the night may best have been described by the songstress herself.
'Wow,' Flack said when asked for a comment following the Sixth Annual Rosemary Clooney Music Festival.
Flack was without pretense, allowing the musicians that accompany her to share the spotlight. She also shared some down-home humor similar to the kind so often practiced by Rosemary Clooney.
Speaking of her childhood in the Black Mountains of North Carolina, Flack said music was a large part of her life from the start.
The family would gather in a large backyard, where rhythm ruled the day, with the men drinking moonshine and playing hambone. The musical art was one of the few Flack could not master.
'I have all of the equipment,' Flack kidded, 'but I never mastered the craft.'
'The mountain dew never completely ran out,' Flack said in reference to the moonshine that flowed freely. 'That's when the rhythm really got hot.'
They sang the songs of the day; one was included on her most recent album.
'One of them is on my new album which was released 10 years ago,' Flack joked.
She sang her version of the Ray Charles hit, 'Sweet Georgia Brown,' using an updated version of the streetwalker the song depicts.
The album was nominated for a Grammy, but the competition was quite tough that year.
'Nominated is the operative word,' Flack kidded. Her competition included Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, and Frank Sinatra.
Before she sang 'Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You,' she shared a story about its origin.
The song was originally penned for Diana Ross and Julio Iglesias.
'But they didn't like it and I'm so sorry about that,' Flack quipped.
Flack's voice has changed little since 'Killing Me Softly With His Song,' became her first hit. The crowd at times seemed mesmerized by it.
Organizers commented frequently on how great Flack was to work with. She even went shopping and bought Kentucky T-shirts while in town.
The show ended with the Rosemary Clooney Chorus singing backup for Flack.
'We have a new ending tonight ... It's something me and the kids worked out for you,' Flack said.
She met with the choir for only 30 minutes, Maysville Tourism Director Duff Giffen said.
'Isn't it incredible?' Giffen said.
The concert gives a great deal of attention to the Russell Theatre and helps garner funds for its renovation.
The theater, on Third Street, is where Rosemary Clooney debuted her film 'The Stars Are Singing,' in 1953.
Clooney starred in the festival which bears her name the first three years, but died two years ago after losing a battle with lung cancer. She always remembered her connection to Maysville and the surrounding area and owned a home in Augusta until her death.
Her brother Nick Clooney emceed the event again this year and spoke about his sisters connection to the area.
'She came back here to be married and to be buried,' Nick Clooney said.
Rescue the Russell President Jim Tierney and his wife Martha could not have been happier with Flack's performance.
'It was the best year ever,' Martha Tierney said.
When asked if that comment was on the record her husband chimed in.
'Oh, yes. Absolutely.
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