Phots provided by Rathbun Public Relations
Written by Tanya Terry
DATE: Dec. 14
TIME: 8 p.m.
The Courier recently talked to Dave Revels, producer and founder of Shadows of the 60s, who expressed excitement about the group he created bringing their holiday show to the birth state of Motown. The show has been traveling around the county and beyond – from places like California, to Jamaica in the West Indies. It’s been shown on cruises! After a December 14 show at the FIM Capitol Theatre, the show will even head to Idaho!
Revels said because many people in Flint and throughout Michigan grew up seeing Motown artists in person, the show has to be performed full-scale here.
Revels said the show will start with songs everyone knows, like nursery rhymes.
“The songs are like little vignettes of our lives,” added Revels.
He said memories are attached to songs. People tend to remember what they were doing and how they felt when they first heard the song. Therefore, it brings Revels and the other group members great joy to bring the Shadows of the 60s to audiences.
Their holiday show will feature Motown hits from Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell, The Temptations, The Four Tops, the Supremes, Glady Knight and The Marvelettes.
The Shadows of the 60s “Holiday Tribute of Motown” show is described as “interactive.”
The audience will be invited to sing along to Christmas songs such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “White Christmas.”
“It’s not a sit-down and watch kind of show,” explained Revels. “I call it Broadway on steroids. It has the discipline of Broadway, meaning its aged…But in the middle of it, there’s a lot of room for spontaneity with the audience. You’re talking to them. You’re laughing with them at a joke. It’s a really celebratory event. It’s not like watching a presentation.”
According to Revels, there will not be pauses for the performers to drink water. Instead, the show starts and moves right along, from one scene to another, in an organized way.
“It’s all about the audience. It’s very discipline as far as how it’s choreographed and the costumes and all the songs are sung in the original keys and with the original arrangements.”
Revels was a vocalist for the Drifters. He joined the group in the early 1980s and toured with them for almost a decade around the world.
“During that period, I got to meet every single iconic artist of the 50s and 60s: Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Chubby Checker, Jerry Lewis, Billy Shannon, Fabian, Lesley Gore, I could keep going on and on.”
Revels refers to that time as “the school of rocking roll.” He was watching how these artists performed on stage.
“What I learned is they all were being themselves. They weren’t faking it. The people you saw backstage were the same people greeting the audience. So, I learned if you want to be successful as an artist, be yourself.”
Revels himself is a recording artist and part of the A cappella group The Persuasions. The other Shadows of the 60s members consist of touring singers and movie actors. According to Revels, he looked not only for great talent when selecting members of the Shadows of the 60s, but for people who revere the music of that era as he does and will embody the original artists’ essence.
Revels also looks for the finest musicians he can find.
The group’s musical director is Melvin Miller Jr., protégé of Holland-Dozier-Holland. The trio Holland-Dozier-Holland (consisting of Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland) wrote, arranged and produced many songs that helped define the Motown sound in the 1960s.
Revels said he created the group the Shadows of the 60s after doing a Four Tops Tribute following the death of Levi Stubbs of the group, but realized people also greatly enjoyed the talent of other groups and artists. So, he started looking for additional talent. Shadows of the 60s was born in 2010.
By special invitation, they were flown out to California for the 70th Birthday Party for Paul Stanley from KISS because Stanley wanted an authentic sounding Four Tops group. They’ve also be flown to Hawaii to share the original sound and energy of the music they perform.
Revels said the upcoming show will be “a celebration of life.”
Tickets to “A Holiday Tribute to Motown” are currently available at www.tickets.thefim.org, by calling (810) 237-7333 or at FIM Ticket Center box office locations at FIM Whiting Auditorium and FIM Capitol Theatre. Genesee County residents enjoy a 30% discount as a benefit of the Genesee County Arts Education and Cultural Enrichment Millage.