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Centennial Kick Off by Spotted The Lubbock Centennial Kick Off Celebration



Lubbock's yearlong centennial observance to close with another star-studded event

BY Doug Hensley
For the Avalanche-Journal

Centennial tickets Tickets for the Lubbock Centennial Closing Ceremonies Lubbock Legends concert are on sale at all Select-a-Seat outlets. The event is reserved seating only. Tickets are priced at $5, $10 and $15 and can be purchased by calling (806) 770-2000 or going online to

Lubbock's yearlong Centennial celebration will close with a trip to the future as viewed through the eyes of some of the city's brightest stars.

"This is more of a look at Lubbock and beyond," said Mark Flenniken, who has served as chairman of the Centennial's opening and closing ceremonies. "This will be a look over the last year and to celebrate our celebration."

The closing ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. March 28 in United Spirit Arena. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The event, which will commemorate "Lubbock: 100 Years and Beyond," will be hosted by Mac Davis, a gifted musician and Lubbock native who has served as the Centennial host this year.

"I think it's great that Lubbock continues to move forward, but we have to look back at the people who have brought us to where we are," said Linda Gaither, chairperson of the Centennial Committee. "This event will look at our musical heritage and see some of the people who have put us on the map."

Among those scheduled to perform is a who's who of Lubbock musical talent: Richie McDonald, Joe Ely, Ralna English, David Gaschen and Jennifer Smith. Also, David Kneupper will conduct the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, and internationally acclaimed opera star Terry Cook and the Lubbock Chorale also are scheduled to perform. Also on the schedule are Mariachi Amistad, Jay Boy Adams, Kenny Maines, Donnie Allison, Virgil Johnson, John Gillas, Terry Allen, Tom Braxton and Andy Wilkinson.

"We wanted to have something different for the closing ceremony, but we wanted it to be every bit as impacting and emotional - but totally different," Flenniken said. "What we came up with is the Lubbock Legends Concert.

"It will be about music and embracing music. If anything separates Lubbock from other places, it is the musical heritage that we have had and will continue to have in the future. We will have regional, national and international musicians who have come out of Lubbock. We have a dozen coming from out of town and five others who have had regional and national impact but still live here."

Flenniken said the event, a two-and-a-half-hour undertaking, will be the largest locally produced musical event in the city's history, and he credited Don Caldwell, owner and general manager of the Cactus Theater, with providing the expertise and experience for helping pull the concert together.

"We will have a unique stage set up that Don Caldwell has designed," he said. "The choir, the orchestra and the performers will all be integrated. It will be set up as such that there will not be a bad seat in the house.

"Mac will interact with the audience on a personal basis. There will be plenty of special moments on stage, and you will see people performing together who have never performed together."

Flenniken said the committee's requests for Lubbock performers to return to their hometown and be part of the ceremonies were well-received.

"They all wanted to come back for a homecoming concert," he said. "We had a big, big response."

He said the icing on the centennial cake has been having Mac Davis as part of the team.

"His attitude has just been heartwarming," he said. "We asked if he would be our host, and he was very humbled. We were just ecstatic that he would come to Lubbock three times in 12 months, and he has been so good to work with. And he's made everyone involved feel good about being involved."

Gaither said the opening ceremonies were a rousing success, setting a high standard for the close of the yearlong event.

"It was a great time for friends; I just heard that so much from the opening ceremonies," she said. "People were seeing people they hadn't seen in a long time. I think this is a chance for us again to enjoy that special sense of pride in the community. You can't measure the sense of pride people will leave with."

The closing ceremonies, Flenniken said, will provide a sense of symmetry, as well.

"Our committee was formed to plan a yearlong party, if you will, that would commemorate Lubbock's 100-year history," he said. "My vision from the start was to have an opening and closing ceremony that sort of mirrored the Olympics - something of that magnitude and impact. The opening ceremonies were held in the Coliseum, which is more a part of Lubbock's past, and embraced the history of Lubbock with 400 or 500 overhead photographs and Barry Corbin narrating."

Now, the committee will look to top that special evening with an event that will feature an entirely local production crew.

"No one knew what to expect in the opening ceremony," Flenniken said. "We just hope everyone leaves the closing ceremony with the same feeling they had. That will make the effort worthwhile. This committee of about 15 people has been doing this for two years, but the key is the genius of Don Caldwell. He is the only person who could have done this not only from a technical and expertise standpoint, but also from his ability to pull these people (performers) together.

"The artists have confidence in his ability to make them look and sound good. They know him, and they are not hesitating a bit to be involved. Some of them worked for Don growing up in Lubbock. There's long history between Don and almost every one of these performers."

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