Friday, September 28, 2007

Fred Smith Summer Celebration
Piana Reception By Lee Greenwood

These Summer Celebrations are always long days. We now have two events down, one more to go, and only now on Friday Morning am I finally getting this posting done for the third event (check out the earlier posts on the Golf Tournament and Bloggers Press Conference below). Senator Fred Smith likes to pack a lot into a day and these Summer Celebrations are quite impressive because of it.

If you really want to see how hard Fred works and how much he can pack into a day, check out my posting from election day 2006 here.

The Golf Tournament was great. With the date being a month later this year the temperature was lower and the weather was just perfect. The North Carolina Bloggers Press Conference was held late afternoon, and while waiting for that, Lee Greenwood (shown above preparing) spent the time getting things perfect for both the Piano Reception and the Concert on the Lawn (posting for the Concert on the Lawn article still to go).

Lee's work ethic reminded me much of Fred's. It had been a long day with the Golf Tournament, his concert prepration and the bloggers concert. Surprisingly the Piano Reception was a solo show for Lee. I was not aware until I saw him getting ready that he would be playing the piano personally. And after hearing him prepare I can tell you, he is a GREAT piano player.

Part of the excitement of the Piano Reception was the song Lee has written for the Fred Smith for Governor campaign. "Good to Great" is a great song . . . . about Fred and about our State of North Carolina. The rumor of its debut was being talked about all day at the golf tournament, setting the stage for this to be a big event. Immediately after the Bloggers Press Conference, Fred (shown above) went out to the front steps of his house to meet people as they arrived to hear Lee give his piano recital and premier "Good to Great".

Harvey West (middle above) and Matt Dean (right above) were staffing the liquid refresehment bar for wine and soft drinks.

I am not going to try and name them all here in this posting, however there were a large number of North Carolina's leading Republicans at the event. Bob Edmunds (shown above on left), incumbent candidate for North Carolina Supreme Court was there and he will represent them all for our photos of the event.

Fred (shown above introducing Ellen Hill to some new arrivals) spent a lot of time out front and then moved to his usual position for these events, just inside the front door.

Ginny Smith, Fred's wife, was just a few feet away also greeting guests and making everyone feel comfortable. Fred and Ginny are great hosts.

The food was simply top quality, as you would expect. Since the Concert on the Lawn was going to follow the private recital, dress code was casual, though a few people still showed up with ties and cocktail dresses. It made for a rather broad spectrum of attire.

When the guest of honor (Lee Greewood shown above with David Smithdeal) came upstairs for the event, I caught up with him to take pictures (my job after all).

Robin Hawks and Claudine Clarke (shown above), were having a great time, and talking about their interest in the song Lee was about to premier, "Good to Great".

After a very short time, Lee went to the piano and started the indoor concert / recital. He played a number of his early hits, including his first hit, which he informed us had broken first here in the state of North Carolina. North Carolina was thus a key component to his successful music career. The songs included "God Bless the USA", Lee's signature hit that includes the great line, "Proud to be an American", a line that brings pride to a patriot's heart.

Within moments of starting the concert, everyone had jammed into the family room to listen, packing the room all the way back into the kitchen. You can't even see Lee up front by the fireplace.

Senator Smith was as excited as the rest of the audience at the chance to listen to this music superstar, and he was back against the wall (shown above middle right . . in the white shirt).

After a great period of music we came to the premier of the song, "Good to Great". Lee introduced it by telling the story of how he came to offer to write the song. You can see on the piano the hand written music sheets of the new song. And the picture above shows Lee playing this campaign theme for the first time in public. It was electric.

After the song debut, Fred went up to thank Lee, and they took a few minutes to talk about their growing relationship. Lee has become a super supporter. Fred is shown above telling how Lee capped the previous night's BBQ in Hendersonville. Ginny was singing the final song of the BBQ, the stardard way the BBQs are closed each time. The song she sang was as usual "God Bless America". The moment turned magic as Lee spontaneously jumped up from the rear of the room and ran down to join Ginny sharing her mic. Waving the crowd to join in . . . . Lee and Ginny sang God Bless America and the huge crowd went wild like a rock concert. The energy was amazing. It turned what had been a great night into a milestone in the 100 BBQ Tour that Fred is using as a unique part of his campaign.

These emotional comments ended the recital and everyone started heading outside for the Concert on the Lawn.

Click here to check out the article on last year's reception with Governor Rick Perry of Texas as the honored guest.


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