When you arrived at Brunswick High School on Sunday you knew you were at the right place with Rhonda Vincent’s Martha White tour bus parked in the parking lot. They had food inside including barbeque sandwiches, chili, sodas, all the bake goods you would find at a bake sale coffee and hot apple cider. A portion of the proceeds from the concert series and all the proceeds from the food and additional donations go to support programs at the high school including drama, band, music, and athletics. Roadhouse Concert Productions has a great series lined up for Brunswick, Maryland this season, as evident with the great Rhonda Vincent and her band The Rage performing.
Local radio personality Dina Carole who does the traffic on 99.0 WFRE and 930 WFMD warmed up the crowd and held the flag. A student from Brunswick High School played the National Anthem on the saxophone:. A shining example of what these concerts support.
Rhonda Vincent took the stage for her first set. She opened the show with “Where We’ll Never Say Farewell.” Next she performed “Anywhere Is Home When You’re With Me,” and then went back to the new release for “Prettiest Flower There.” Returning to 20012, she performed “Is the Grass Any Bluer.” Then the band played an instrumental tune, and Rhonda played “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” a song she said she had not performed live before. She followed up with “Christmas Time at Home.”
As the set continued she even did requests when she sang “I’m Not Over You.” She closed her 13-song first set with a couple of gospel songs from her new album Sunday Mornin’ Singin’, including “Joshua” and a beautiful a cappella version of “His Promise Land.” Then the band launched into an instrumental song that highlighted every member of her award-winning band. They also did a quick cover of the original “Martha White Theme.”
Rhonda’s band included Hunter Berry on mandolin and fiddle, Mickey Harris on upright bass, Aaron McDaris on acoustic guitar and banjo, and Ben Helson on acoustic guitar. There was a 30-minute intermission during which time fans could grab a bite to eat, buy CDs, and get autographs of some of the band members. They also gave away a cast iron frying pan and announced the winner of a 50/50 raffle.
The second set opened with “Ragin’ Live For You Tonight.” Then she returned to the new album for “Silent Partner,” followes by “Tonight My Baby’s Coming Home.”Then she threw in another Christmas song with “Christmas Time is Coming.” Returning to the new album, she sang the pretty “Blue Sky Cathedral” and “God Put A Rainbow in the Clouds” with a memorable vocal performance by fiddle player Hunter Berry. Next was an instrumental that highlighted the dobra playing skills of Brent Burke.
“I’m In Love With An Angel” featured the vocals of Ben Helson and “Kneel and Pray” featured Mickey Harris on vocals. Yes, Rhonda might be the ‘Queen of Bluegrass,’ but she also gives her outstanding band their dues. She brought the set to a close with two older tunes, then “Old Rugged Cross” which almost became a sing along. They finished with “Bluegrass Express.” The band came out for an encore choosing to do another a cappella song “Fisher of Men.” The a cappella songs really highlighted Rhonda’s voice and the precise harmonies of the band. After the show she greeted fans.
It is not often you get to see an artist who has won over 80 awards, it is even rarer to see them perform in such humble venues as a high school, however her band performed like they were on the Grand Ole Opry and her fans left happy.
Running time: 2 hours and 45 minutes with a half hour intermission.
Rhonda Vincent and the Rage played one night November 18, 2012 at the Brunswick High School as part of Roadhouse Concert Productions Bluegrass Series for upcoming shows you can check out their website.
Read Mike Spain’s interview with Rhonda Vincent, and watch some videos of Rhonda’s performances.