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Posted: 2023-07-06 14:31:54 By: thebay

On Saturday night, June 24th, I played a small part in a Rock 'n' Roll review entitled “FIFTEEN YEARS – A HISTORY OF ROCK & ROLL” performed on Huntsville's Algonquin Theatre stage. The show was the brainchild of local musician Billy MacPherson, producer, co-writer, and director, with the assistance of producer, co-writer, and director Dyanna Jacklin. I played Sonny Bono to Briar Summers’ Cher for our rendition of Sonny & Cher's hit song, “I Got You Babe”. I suspect the most entertaining part about my performance was the novelty of watching a silver-bearded, 67-year-old man who can’t sing, wearing an incongruous dark brown Sonny Bono wig over his bald head. I have no shame.

Originally scheduled to play last fall, the show was scuttled just a few days before showtime, due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among the cast. In fact, there were many more obstacles to overcome before that curtain could finally rise. It could not have happened without the talented guidance of musical director, guitarist, and singer Sean Cotton with his great band, as well as our technical director John A. MacDonald, both of whom collaborated to transform an ambitious project into a successful musical event. Without exception, everyone in the cast and crew gave it their all. Judging from the standing ovation that lasted throughout the entire closing number, I think the audience enjoyed the show as well.

In spite of the increasingly painful and complicated challenges of living with incurable cancer, Billy MacPherson, a.k.a. Billy Mac was determined to see his vision come to fruition. FIFTEEN YEARS is about a musical era that was deeply meaningful to Billy. The musical artists and writers from that period profoundly influenced him as a musician. Perhaps in some symbolic way, the review was a snapshot of his own musical experiences as a young man. Because he doubted that his declining health would allow him to perform throughout the entire show, Billy had musician Frank Berg standing by in the wings as an understudy. But, true to his indomitable spirit, Billy pushed through his pain and accompanied the band, with a smile upon his face, to the very end of the show. For those who may be interested, there are some photos and video clips posted on our Hunters Bay Radio Facebook page to give you an idea of what it felt like to be at the wonderful Algonquin Theatre that summer night.

I am drawn to the kind of positive energy that Billy generated that evening. His enthusiasm, energy, and determination rubbed off on everyone who was there. No doubt that contagious, unstoppable energy and enthusiasm were the reasons that the show was so successful. Our hearts are with you Billy Mac, and with your loving and devoted wife Kim MacPherson, and your kids Zach, Spencer, and Connor. Thank you to everyone: Billy Mac, Dyanna Jacklin, Grant Nickalls, Scott Edgecombe, Scott Cotton, Carter Pharoah, Lauren Rodrigues, Briar Summers, Matt Allen, Michael Phillips (Mighty Lopez), Tamica Herod, Chris Hess, Rich Howard, Jimmy Brendish, & John A. MacDonald, who all worked so hard to bring us all together for Billy's memorable opus. The show raised thousands of dollars for Hospice Huntsville, and was great fun for all who participated. Billy, you brought joy to a large audience, and to the band, cast members, and crew as well. What an inspiration you are.

Written by Jamie Oppenheimer ©2023 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED