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Event targets community center rebirth

McCALL CREEK – The soulful crooning of gospel and echoes ofsadness and joy of country music will return to the McCall CreekCommunity Center Saturday when it reopens under new guidance.

The free event will be highlighted with performances from Davidand Susan England, Mickey Garon and The Harmony Rockets,Daddilacks, Ralph and Earl Case, George Linton, Bell Nevels, BennonCase, Schaffer Smith and other local guests, but the stage will beopen for all who would like to take their turn at the microphone.An Elvis impersonator will also perform.

Food items will be available beginning at 6 p.m. and musicalentertainment will being at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The event also signals a change in “management” and a newdirection for the McCall Creek Community Center, said owner CharlesCase.

The locally well-known musical venue was created by Charles Caseand first opened 14 years ago on Magee Road just off Highway 84. Itfeatured one or two Southern gospel events a year that drew in somebig names in the business. The events were opened by local talent,including Case himself.

“We started it strictly as Southern gospel because I’ve sungSouthern gospel all my life,” he said. “We’ve had some major groupshere. When we first started it was just a shed. There were no sidesto it.”

Over the years, walls, a concession stand and better seatingwere added. The seats came from the old auditorium at MeadvilleHigh School.

Today, the center is much improved with a full concession standfeaturing catfish plates and short order items, a rebuilt stage,expanded seating and more restroom facilities. It can comfortablyseat about 400 guests.

Those improvements nearly didn’t happen, however. In fact, onlya few months ago the center was on the verge of being torndown.

Following a personal family tragedy, Case said he didn’t havethe motivation or desire to continue and had decided to quitproviding events at the center.

The center was likely within days of being destroyed when fatetook a strange turn and Case was approached by David and SusanEngland of Brandon, who agreed to manage the center. Susan Englandsaid the couple had recently moved to Mississippi from Nashville,where they had been performing professionally.

They were looking for a venue to perform in a morefamily-oriented atmosphere and provide free shows spotlightinglocal talent. They found they weren’t alone and other talentedlocal soloists and bands were seeking similar venues.

“We’ve all played in the bars and that kind of thing, but we’retired of that and trying to provide a family-friendly atmospherefor us as well as for the people who enjoy good music,” DavidEngland said. “Not one single person I’ve called (about Saturday)has asked me how much. It’s all been when. We’ve reached out toevery group we’ve heard of in this area.”

Susan England said the center will still host the annual LaborDay gospel event, but they also hope to provide more special eventsfeaturing other brands of music, such as traditional country andbluegrass. The main attraction, however, is the monthly showfeaturing local talent.

“Our goal is to have it once a month and maybe hit every musicalinterest out there,” David England said. “Anyone that wants to singis welcome to take the stage.”

The monthly events will be free, but donations will be acceptedto help maintain the center and schedule headliners for theevents.

“No one’s trying to make any money,” Case said. “Everything thatcomes in here will go into a kitty to help it sustain itself and tobring in some big entertainers for special events.”

David England was hopeful for a good turnout Saturday.

“(Saturday) will be a trial run,” David England said. “It’s allabout getting together as a community.”