A tribute to Johnny Mercer and other greats…

Legends-Sav-Jazz-OrchestraTake a trip down memory lane at the first annual Legends of the Lowcountry concert sponsored by The Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island and the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d’Elegance. The event will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1 at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa in Port Royal Plantation, Hilton Head Island.

Legends of the Lowcountry will include a lively tribute to the life and music of Johnny Mercer with performances by the Savannah Jazz Orchestra and the Vocal Jazz Project. The night begins with heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar as guests enjoy the sweet sounds of the Hilton Head Island Barbershoppers, a local favorite.

President of the Hilton Head Island Rotary Club, Mike Jukofsky, says the event embodies the Legends of the Lowcountry theme because it not only pays homage to the great lyricist and Savannah, Ga. native Johnny Mercer, but also to the first Hilton Head Island Hall of Fame honorees.

“The night of entertainment is a chance to celebrate some of the local ‘legends’ of our community,” Jukofsky says.Legends-Vocal-Jazz

Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to more than 1,700 songs from the 1930s to the 1970s. Many would say he crafted the soundtrack of a generation. Mercer also co-founded Capitol Records in 1942 and was nominated for 19 Academy Awards in his lifetime for his memorable songs such as “Moon River” and “That Old Black Magic.”

Hilton Head Island Rotary Club member and one of the concert’s featured vocalist, Terry Herron says, “Johnny’s stuff was everywhere” from the movies to Broadway and on the radio for the mass market.

“He had a profound effect on American life,” Herron says.

Once the concert begins, the stage will be set for a fun Mercer tribute by the Savannah Jazz Orchestra under the leadership of Teddy Adams and Randall Reese. The SJO has been in existence for more than 20 years and has accompanied prominent jazz artists including Clark Terry, Anita O’Day, Dianne Schuur, Cab Calloway and Benny Golson. The orchestra will be accompanied by featured vocalists Priscilla Williams, Beaufort native and Herron.

Also performing is the Vocal Jazz Project, a group of 10 vocalists from Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Beaufort. The group will delight audiences with selections from the Great American Songbook, which includes some of America’s most memorable tunes from the 1920s to 1960s. The group performs in the distinct styles of Manhattan Transfer, the New York Voices and the Modernaires.

Legends of the Lowcountry will benefit Family Promise of Beaufort County, Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity, Hilton Head Island Hall of Fame, Hilton Head Island Recreation Association, Driving Young America, The Sandbox and other Rotary charities.

Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased at each of the benefiting charitable organizations, also BNC Bank locations: 1000 William Hilton Parkway F-4, The Village at Wexford or 430 William Hilton Parkway, Suite 501 Pineland Station. You may also purchase online at www.cf-lowcountry.org, www.hiltonheadislandhalloffame.com, www.hhiconcours.com/events, and www.hiltonheadrotary.org or from a Hilton Head Barbershopper, by visiting www.hhibarbershoppers.org or calling (843) 390-9517. Ticketholders will receive an additional 10 percent off Motoring Festival daily tickets with promo code. For more information or to purchase tickets contact Linda Neff at the Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island at (843) 686-4100 or HHRotary@sc.twcbc.com.