Annual Lowery concert set for Friday

Steve Jarrel singing at a previous year’s concert.

For the eighth consecutive year the Jimmy Lowry Tribute Concert will take place at the Blackmon Amphitheatre to raise money for students of the arts. The concert is set for Friday night.

Many friends of the late Jimmy Lowry are slated to take the stage during the annual event, which has become a reunion of sorts for a number of musicians.

Carolina Beach Music Awards Inductee and Mount Airy native Steve Jarrell is traveling from Nashville, Tennessee, to take part in the concert, along with Rhythm & Blues great Melva Houston. John Rees, another Mount Airy native who has played for a number of Nashville, will be lending his talent at the keyboard.

In addition, Lowry’s former band mates from the Jimmy Lowry Gang as well as other special guests, including Dale Riddle of the King Bees and Bill McNeil of Sunset Beach, plan to participate in the concert.

After playing with the King Bees, The Okaysions, and other regional bands, in 1979 Lowry moved his family to Nashville to be one of seven local musicians who would eventually join Donna Fargo, a Mount Airy native known for the hit song “The Happiest Girl In The Whole USA.” Lowry served as Fargo’s band leader for 11 years.

The concert starts at 7:30 pm. Admission is $11 or Surry Arts Council season pass, with 100 percent of the admission cost going toward Jimmy Lowry Scholarship Fund, an annual scholarship facilitated by the Surry Arts Council.

“We look forward to this every year, it’s almost like a homecoming.” Jennie Lowry said.

Several hundred people attend the benefit each year. Lowry said “It’s such an honor to be able to use the facility and gather around our family and friends for a short amount of time to remember my dad.”

After Lowry’s sudden death in 2007 his family, with the encouragement of the Surry Arts Council, decided to continue with a previously scheduled booking at the Blackmon Amphitheatre, which has turned into the annual concert honoring Lowry and benefiting local students.

Through the concert the family is hoping to create a permanent endowment with the North Carolina Community Foundation in cooperation with the Surry Arts Council.

Sylvia and Jennie Lowry, Jimmy’s wife and daughter, wish to express their gratitude to the many friends of Jimmy’s that are willing to give of their time and talent as musicians to benefit local fine art students in his memory.

For more information, contact the Surry Arts Council at 786-7998.