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Live From The Hive
Free Outdoor Summer Concert Series to Feature Chris Eckert
At 6 p.m. this Friday, July 14, the free outdoor summer concert series will feature Chris Eckert on the outdoor stage located on the Central Avenue side of the Deane Center for the Performing Arts building at 104 Main Street in Wellsboro, weather permitting.
Eckert is a seasoned performer and recording artist. He will provide “live vocal entertainment performed with fully orchestrated arrangements of crowd pleasing and well-known songs to produce the dynamic sound of a full band without the fuss,” he said. During his life, he has performed at concerts, events and club venues for many years in bands, as half of a duo and for the last several years as a solo artist.
“I have a repertoire of more than 600 songs from the 1940s to today in virtually all genres from standards to Motown, easy listening to dance, pop to country, oldies to rock, Gospel, etc.,” Eckert said.
He will be singing 30 to 35 well-known songs during this Friday’s performance from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Deane Center. Among them will be “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
In September of 2022, Eckert sang in Hamilton-Gibson’s production of “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.” “For this Friday’s Deane Center show, I’ll be throwing in a few Sinatra tunes for people who may have missed it,” he said.
“Right now I’m concentrating on performing at classic country shows and Gospel shows for the various county fairs where I’m booked through this October,” he said. Among them are the Potter and Tioga County fairs as well as the Kettle Creek Music Festival in Cross Fork. He also performed at Mansfield’s July 4th celebration.
“I’m very content performing around Pennsylvania at various venues and coming back to this wonderful town and enjoying simple pleasures, such as singing with the Wellsboro Men’s Chorus and entertaining on First Fridays in Wellsboro,” he said.
“I grew up in West Milford, New Jersey, began singing and playing guitar in church when I was about nine or ten and have been singing professionally since I was 17,” said Eckert. “Starting in 1977 when I was 17, I played with a wedding/banquet/bar band in North Jersey and upstate New York until 1990 when I was 30 and my wife Sue and I moved to Pennsylvania where I was elected to a part-time job as a Chestnuthill Township supervisor in the Poconos. I retired as supervisor in 2020.”
In 1987, Eckert had been hired as a full-time New Jersey state fire marshal and fatality investigator. Beginning in 2000, he was named the full-time commander of New Jersey’s arson/K-9 Unit working with dogs trained to search for ignitable liquids at fire/arson scene investigations as well as for tobacco and cadavers anywhere in the state. From 1987 to 2015, he worked first as a state fire marshal and then with the K-9 unit, responding to calls day and night in New Jersey while serving as township supervisor in Pennsylvania.
“I did a solo act before I formed a duo in 2014 with Leigh Pollari. She moved to Nashville in 2020 to try to make it big,” he said. “Leigh just recorded a single with John Berry that he had previously recorded with Wynonna Judd called “We Can’t Unmake Love.” She also recorded a duet with Ronnie McDowell called “If You Ever Want to Fool Around.”
Since 2010, Chris and his wife had been camping with their RV in Tioga County and in 2020 decided to move here. They bought land in Delmar Township just outside of Wellsboro and built their retirement home on it.
The free concert series includes different artists from throughout the area on consecutive Fridays now until Sept. 1 thanks to the support and generosity of the Wellsboro Community Concert Association and Ward Manufacturing. Donations are always appreciated.
Audience members are welcome to bring lawn chairs and sit on the grassy area in front of the outdoor stage or on Central Avenue, which will be closed to traffic between Main Street and the Warehouse Theatre from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
If weather becomes an issue, Eckert’s free concert will be canceled.
The next free concert in the series is Molly’s Boys Jugband on Friday, July 21 starting at 4:30 p.m. Others on Fridays at 6 p.m. are Scott Turner’s Band of One on July 28, Drowsy Maggie on Aug. 4, Autumn Sun on Aug. 11, Sweats on Aug. 18, Houston Baker on Aug. 25 and Joe Stanky & The Cadets on Sept. 1.
Writing: Diane Eaton