Wednesday, 22 April 2020 19:11

City of Rockingham cancels first Plaza Jam amid COVID-19 pandemic

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City of Rockingham cancels first Plaza Jam amid COVID-19 pandemic RO file photo

ROCKINGHAM — With the weather warming up, the City of Rockingham's annual free Plaza Jam concert series was set to start next month, but with the coronavirus pandemic still keeping some businesses closed and groups of people to less than 10, organizers have been forced to cancel the May event.

"Following recommended guidance from the CDC regarding COVID-19, we are cancelling the May 7 Plaza Jam concert. Our community's safety and well-being is our top priority. We will announce details about the June concert in the coming weeks. Until then, stay well," Events Planner Kim Williams told the Richmond Observer Tuesday.

Williams said she and City Manager Monty Crump made the decision in the best interest of the community.

Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot were supposed to take the stage on Thursday, May 7 at Cole Plaza in downtown Rockingham from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The band features Lowder on lead vocals, trumpet, flugel horn and percussion; Harold Smith on keyboards and vocals; Carlos Perez on guitar; Dan Thomas on drums and vocals; Allan Royall on bass and vocals; David Herron on trumpet and vocals; and "Professor" Ron Watson and Don Colton on baritone, tenor and alto saxophone.

Lowder personally has been nominated by the Carolina Beach Music Association for CD and Song and of the Year for 2012's "Coastin," as well as 2013's Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.

He was also awarded CD of the Year for "Soul Therapy" and Duet of the Year for "Private Number" with Marsha Morgan in 2013. He is a former member of The Entertainers, Mark Roberts Band, Legends of the Beach and a founding member of The Carolina Breakers.

This was to be the band's first appearance at Plaza Jam.

Speaking of The Entertainers, they were slated to follow up Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot for the June 4 concert. As mentioned by Williams, a decision on a possible cancellation for that event will be made in the next few weeks.