The Encore Band tailors a song list to fit Baby Boomers who like to dance occasionally. Realizing that this aging demographic requires necessary cardiac relief during lively exertion, the Encore Band intersperses slow numbers like “Unchained Melody” and “Summertime” with medium tempo boogies such as “Big Boss Man” and “Mona Lisa” (rockabilly version).
The original band, known as the Emperials, was formed over 50 years ago in Augusta and Woodruff County when local teenagers formed a combo to play for dances. The band changed its lineup over several years before its members settled down to families and jobs, giving up the music for decades. The Emperials reunited in 2002 in Jonesboro, where most of the members now live. They changed their name to The Encore Band in 2009. With some members retired, and others still working day jobs, they enjoy playing together semi-regularly.
Original Emperials member Tom Stanley, who plays harmonica and saxophone, lives in Augusta and owns an insurance business. The other original member is John Burton of Jonesboro, lead guitarist and vocalist, who has been giving music lessons for over 50 years.
Two other Encore Band members joined the Emperials when they reunited in 2002. John Brandon of Jonesboro, the group’s keyboard player, was formerly with the FBI and remains active in related work. “Joyce Dean” Neyman, vocalist and rhythm guitarist, is the receptionist for a Jonesboro church.
The two newest members include bass guitarist Janette Cribbs of Jonesboro, who is retired from banking, and drummer Rickey Copeland, a retired school teacher from Monette, who also plays in several other bands in the area.
KASU books each band for Bluesday Tuesday, sponsored by C & C Distributors, ASU Newport and Harris Ford, and scheduled on the second Tuesday night each month. No membership or cover charge is required: the public is welcome. Admission is free to the public in the ballroom of the Newport Country Club. KASU passes the hat, giving audience members an opportunity to show each band their appreciation. A buffet supper is available for a cost.
KASU is Arkansas State University’s public radio station, broadcasting at 91.9 FM from Jonesboro, and also streaming live at kasu.org. The 100-thousand watt station offers a news and discussion weekday format. Music on nights and weekends ranges from classical and jazz to blues and other “roots” genres. For more information about KASU and Bluesday Tuesday concerts, contact station manager Mike Doyle at 870-972-3486.