The audience clapped their hands, tapped their toes, cheered loudly, and danced on the dance floor and in the aisles for the recent Brandy Roberts Tribute Show at the Many Community Center Sept. 9.
Roberts’ music show was met with wild enthusiasm and many people asked how quickly he would return for another show. Roberts promised Many’s Cultural District Chairperson, Mary Brocato, that he would be happy to return. “I had a blast,” Roberts wrote her after her returned to Shreveport. Brocato said she hopes to schedule him no later than the early spring of 2018.
“That will give all his new fans plenty of time to yearn for his return,” she laughed.
Roberts played Jerry Lee Lewis songs for three hours. He also played songs from Mickey Gilley, Charley Pride, Ray Charles and other popular rock ‘n roll, country, blues entertainers. Rather than just playing and singing the songs, Roberts talked about each song and told stories about the songs and the singers who made them famous.
A whiz on the keyboard and a singer with a crystal clear voice that sounds just like a young Jerry Lee Lewis, Roberts received a standing ovation at the end of his performance. Fans lined up for his autograph and eagerly bought his CDs.
Roberts played and sang every song from “Great Balls of Fire” to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and even threw in some gospel music for good measure. There was a song for everyone.
A conversation with his mother, Sandy Roberts, revealed that Brandy first took organ lessons as a young boy. Then he heard Jerry Lee Lewis and told his mom that was the kind of music he wanted to play. She said she told him he couldn’t play that kind of music on an organ but only on the piano. “So we bought him a piano,” she laughed.
Mrs. Roberts said after a period of time, his piano teacher called her and said, “I’ve taken Brandy as far as I can take him. After he hears a song once, he can play it.” Mrs. Roberts continued, “I never had to make Brandy practice. When he came home from school, he went straight to the piano and played the rest of the afternoon.”
Roberts’ repertoire of songs is extremely wide. He told his audience that he never knew ahead of time what he was going to play and he doesn’t play from a set list. “I just play whatever song pops into my head, and my band keeps up with me,” he explained.
Roberts’ music career is a true family affair. His father, Preston Roberts, is his manager, and his mother is his strongest and most faithful supporter. A devout Christian family, they came with Brandy to Many and enjoyed meeting and talking with people attending the show.
Some members of the audience commented on Roberts’ performance.
Mrs. Nancy Spiller of Many said, “I agree that this was a fantastic show. I think Brandy Roberts is just as good (maybe better) a piano player and showman as Jerry Lee Lewis himself. If I ever get chance to hear him again, I WILL!”
Mrs. Cheryl Wooley, also from Many, commented, “Good crowd and great music!”
Mrs. Cathy Seymour who came from Natchitoches to hear Roberts said, “He was fabulous!! We loved the evening. He is so very talented!!”
Ms. Vickie Weaver of Many said, “Brandy was great. The best yet. If you didn’t come you missed a great show.”
“It’s going to be impossible to bring a show to Many that will top the Brandy Roberts’ show,” Many’s Mayor Ken Freeman commented.
“We’re not even going to try,” Mary Brocato, who booked the show, responded. “But we will bring him back again and , in the meantime, we’ll try to bring some other good entertainers to Music in Many as often as we can. People will just have to be patient until Brandy can fit us into his schedule. But that will give us something to look forward to.”
Brocato added a personal comment: “It was my lucky night. I listened to a musician of the very highest caliber, and I made three new friends: Brandy, Preston, and Sandy Roberts. “Those kinds of nights happen only rarely,.”
Pictured above are Entertainer Brandy Roberts and Many Cultural District chairperson Mary Brocato. “Brandy’s not just the man playing the piano. He’s a really good person, and I feel lucky to be his new friend,” Brocato said.