Acker Night: 30 years of music and Christmas cheer
More than 600 performers are set to unite downtown Prescott in holiday cheer for the 30th annual Acker Musical Showcase on Friday, Dec. 7.
Among those performers are Sugar & the Mint, who are going to be at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center. Lead singer Johan Glidden said he’s been participating in the Acker Musical Showcase for about 12 or 13 years and called it a blast to be able to do so. Everybody’s out there playing music and the whole town is involved making it feel like a very Prescott event, Glidden said.
Not only has Glidden participated for that long, but he received scholarships from the J. S. Acker Scholarship Program, to which donations given during the Acker Musical Showcase go. Those scholarships were helpful in him improving as a musician, he said.
“It’s a big part of who I am as a musician today,” Glidden said.
Anyone who wants to give during the event can do so by donating in tip bags located at every business hosting a musician and there will be kids from Prescott High School in uniform with tip bags at strategic locations, said J.S. Acker Music Park Association President Scott Currey.
Sugar & the Mint is doing three full sets 45 to 50 minutes each and they’re all the same, Glidden said. The reason is so people can go in and out and not have to stay in the theatre all night, he said.
“We appreciate we get to play at the Elks,” Glidden said. “But we also want everybody to get their share of exposure.”
Thanks to those donations, the Acker Musical Showcase gave $5,000 to each school district’s music programs and enough for 65 private scholarships for students to continue studying music last year, Currey said. Of that amount, Fancy That! raised $10,000 by selling Acker Night scarves for $10, he said. Scarves will be on sale again this year starting at noon on Friday at Fancy That!, 124 S. Granite St.
Fancy That! will host Greg Miesel during the event. Others who are expected include Esteban and his daughter, Teresa Joy, at Bashford Courts, Justin & Autumn Hitson and Jeff Leece at Grama’s Bakery, Two Balloons at The Frame & I, Fusion of Movement on Gurley Street, The Gurley Girls at Whiskey Row Pub and the Rileys at Bird Cage Saloon.
Prescott favorite Road One South Blues Band is also returning and will be in the lobby of Country Bank, 147 N. Cortez St. Originally, the band expected last year’s Acker Musical Showcase to be their last after participating in the event for nine years, the last few of which were spent at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center. They featured several individual young singers and players over the years as well and last year they performed with Sugar & the Mint and passed the torch to them.
“After our show last year, the Acker Committee (sent) us a note indicating we ‘single handedly raised more money for our kids than anyone based on year of performing on one Acker Night. All the band members are extremely honored by this accomplishment,” drummer Dwight D’Evelyn wrote in an email. “Our goal was to keep the Elks Theatre at standing room only and show the audience, by way of incorporating young musicians into the show, what donations can do for these kids. So we also set records for attendance. But the band always recognizes all the wonderful talent in the area also donating their time and talent at venues all over downtown Prescott.”
The Acker Committee asked the band to support a local business looking for a lively band and Road One South Blues Band couldn’t turn down the offer, D’Evelyn wrote.
The festivities begin at 5 p.m. on the Gurley Street side of courthouse plaza with an opening ceremony and comments by Mayor Greg Mengarelli followed by the Prescott High School Chamber Singers, Central Arizona Pipes & Drums and the community singing of the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Then the performers begin.
Photo opportunities are also available with Santa Claus in a tent on Gurley Street and Wells Fargo on Montezuma Street, Currey said. Additionally, Wildflower and Starbucks are coming with pie, hot chocolate and coffee and Calvary Chapel is selling hot chocolate on Montezuma Street with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the J. S. Acker Music Park Association.
For more information about the 30th annual Acker Musical Showcase, or a full program containing the list of performers and their locations, visit www.ackernight.com. Programs are also available at the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, 117 W. Goodwin St.