Paying Tribute to Music Legends

Paying tribute to music legends

By: JEFF FRANK – Staff Writer

You can go back in time this weekend without going beyond Escondido’s city limits.

A pair of fundraising events for the Plays in the Park summer theater series feature tributes to The Andrews Sisters and Neil Diamond on back-to-back nights.

The popular Andrews Sisters salute has been one of Patio Playhouse’s most successful productions, selling out several shows at the playhouse and entertaining large crowds at retirement residences around the city.

The revue, featuring three separate trios representing the sisters from childhood through their adult stardom, takes the stage at 8 p.m. Friday at the Kit Carson Park Amphitheater. Tickets cost $15.

Following on Saturday is Escondido resident David Sherry with his Diamond is Forever Band doing his tribute to the “Legendary Neil Diamond.”

Sherry’s connection to Diamond goes back to age 13, when he first saw the recording star in concert. A few years back, Sherry put together a Diamond tribute as part of a benefit for St. Clare’s Home. He now takes the act on the road, and has received praise from former members of Diamond’s band for his spot-on re-creation of Diamond’s show.

Saturday’s performance is a “Hot August Night” concert, going back to Diamond’s 1972 album of the same title. Sherry will cover songs ranging from the artist’s 1960s hits through his most recent album, “12 Songs,” released in 2005.

The 8 p.m. show will open with The Violettes, a trio in the Dreamgirls vein paying tribute to the girl groups of the Motown and disco eras. Tickets cost $24 for adults, $20 for seniors.

“I hope the local community will support this. This really is about local theater,” said Sherry.

Jack Campbell, coordinator of the Plays in the Park series, thinks Sherry’s show is definitely worth seeing.

“I saw him do a show in Carlsbad a year ago and he filled the venue. Everybody enjoyed it,” said Campbell. “If you like Neil Diamond, you’ll like David Sherry.”

Seeing double: You couldn’t blame people at the Kiwanis International Convention earlier this month for being a little confused when they encountered Dave Schmitt. Seems there were two guys with the name walking around the San Antonio conclave, one from Escondido’s Hidden Valley club and the other from Florida. When the two Schmitts eventually met, they discovered they shared the same middle name, were both engineers who had grown up in the Chicago area and had both joined Kiwanis in 1988. Both, too, had served as lieutenant governors of their Kiwanis districts. At one point during the convention, a playful Kiwanis president Nelson Tucker asked Dave Schmitt to come to the podium. Both stepped forward, so Tucker asked which was the “real Dave Schmitt.” Both raised their hands.

— Contact staff columnist Jeff Frank at (760) 740-5419 or

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