By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: January 2011
Billy McGuigan portrays Buddy Holly in “Rave On.”
It was “The Day the Music Died.” On February 3, 1959, famous American rock ’n’ roll artist Buddy Holly was killed in a plane crash, along with J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Richie Valens. He was only 22 years old when he died, but in his short life, Holly created immortal tunes like “Peggy Sue,” “Johnny B. Goode” and “Chantilly Lace.” But even with the legendary name placed upon this tragic event, Holly’s memory and his music are far from dead. Thanks to critically acclaimed artist Billy McGuigan, audiences continue to enjoy Holly’s music in the next generation.
Local Buddy Holly fans will be pleased to discover that McGuigan will make an appearance at the Robson Performing Arts Center in Claremore in February with “Rave On,” a performance that has received kudos from national audience members and performance critics alike.
This will be McGuigan’s second year to perform Rave On at the Robson PAC, but PAC Executive Director Ruby Quinn reports that this show, while bearing the same name, will be different by design. “Billy will be doing different songs and incorporating the band more,” she says. “He is like a rock concert in style—he changes the show up a bit each year because he has a large following of repeat audiences.”
McGuigan has built such audiences by his sincere and realistic portrayal of Holly. McGuigan has performed the role of Buddy hundreds of times, breaking box office records and attendance records in several locations across the country. In fact, writers and producers have dubbed Billy as the “Preferred Buddy Holly” in the United States.
Buddy Holly is not McGuigan’s only famous portrayal. In October, he awed audiences at the Robson PAC with “Yesterday and Today,” an interactive concert featuring the music of the Beatles. “This was a great show with great audience participation,” Ruby recalls. “It was nice to see both young and old come to see the show.”
Ruby has been very impressed with all of McGuigan’s performances and is excited to see his return. “He is a very great and versatile musician,” she says. “This is the first time we’ve brought a performance back to the PAC because of such a great response—and this will give even more people a chance to enjoy it.”
The Robson Performing Arts Center has been a part of the Claremore landscape since over four years ago, when benefactors Frank and Ludwilla Robson donated a major portion of the proceeds to build the center and gave it as a gift to Claremore High School. In the ensuing time, it has become integral in the enrichment of students. Students actively use the center for many activities, including choir, band and drama—all of which hold classes in the back of the center. Local citizens also benefit from the beautiful center, with quality entertainment like Rave On offered every season. Ruby Quinn expects this performance of Rave On to be even more successful than last year’s, because McGuigan is able to do something many reenactment artists cannot: “He manages to make Buddy Holly’s music his own,” she says, “without offending any true Buddy Holly fans out there.”
For tickets or more information about the show, contact Robson PAC Box Office at (918) 699-7390 or online at www.MyTicketOffice.com.