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‘More than a tribute’: Columbia Basin Allied Arts brings audiences back with A.J. Croce performance

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | November 5, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Singer-songwriter A.J. Croce will feature his interpretation of the music of his dad Jim Croce when he performs in concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Moses Lake High School theater, 803 E. Sharon Ave. The concert is sponsored by the Columbia Basin Allied Arts.

CBAA director Shawn Cardwell said it’s the first in-theater concert since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first in 18 months. Almost exactly,” Cardwell said.

Croce originally was scheduled to perform in the 2020-21 season.

“Our whole season is shows that we canceled,” Cardwell said.

CBAA sponsored the online showing of the classic horror movie “Nosferatu” in October 2020 and an online holiday concert that December. But there’s something special about a live performance, and Cardwell said she’s glad to see it back.

“It’s so, so exciting,” she said.

The CBAA sponsored some live music at the Moses Lake Farmers Market over the summer and fall, and Cardwell remembered her reaction when the first performer, Moses Lake artist Jeff Ames, started singing.

“I just started bawling,” she said. “I couldn’t remember the last time I heard live music.”

That’s one reason the arts are so important, she said. Live performances give people from diverse backgrounds the chance to get together and have a common experience.

“It’s just so different, being together,” she said.

A.J. Croce was almost two years old when his dad was killed in a plane crash, according to his website. He’s been a musician most of his life, beginning his touring career in his teens.

He was influenced by many different kinds of music, from jazz and blues to rock and roll. But he purposely avoided his dad’s music, the website said, in an effort to carve out his own musical identity. About a decade ago, he started performing some Jim Croce songs, and eventually created a full show out of his own music and his renditions of songs from other musicians, including his dad’s works.

“More than a tribute band,” Cardwell said. “There’s history and a legacy tied up in it.”

The coronavirus pandemic has required some changes for concertgoers. People attending will be required to show proof of coronavirus vaccination or a negative test at the door. Rapid tests will be available at the concert; the test takes about 15 minutes, Cardwell said. Donations for the test will be accepted.

The audience will be required to wear masks. But there is no state requirement for social distancing for an event the size of the concert, she said.

All seats are general admission, but there’s a section set aside for CBAA members closer to the stage, she added.

The venue is new for CBAA. Normally performances would be at the Wallenstien Theater on the Big Bend Community College campus, but the theater is undergoing renovation, so CBAA venues will be changing throughout the concert season.

CBAA will sponsor three additional concerts during the 2021-22 season.

The Spokane Jazz Orchestra will perform in concert Dec. 18 at BBCC’s Masto Conference Center. Cirque Zuma Zuma comes to town Feb. 25, performing at the MLHS theater. The Seattle Rock Orchestra performs April 29 at the Wallenstien Theater in the season finale.