Pianist Gregory Knight was to perform at the first concert of the Lincoln County Concert Association on Sunday, Oct. 3. He prepared for it, but he’s fighting an aggressive form of salivary cancer and his health has taken a turn for the worst. Knight’s never performed solo for the Lincoln County Concert Association. He was slated to perform for the LCCA on May 3, 2020, but that concert had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. Knight has performed at the Lincoln Cultural Center as a member of Puddingstone for a Christmas concert in 2017.

Because the pianist wasn’t going to be well enough to perform on Sunday, he reached out to his long-time friend, David Abernethy of Puddingstone to see if they’d fill in for him. Abernethy agreed and they’ll be performing a tribute to Knight.

Puddingstone was first formed in the 1980s as a trio has grown to a six to seven-member band. The name of the band comes from the puddingstones were once used by Cherokees and other Indian nations as healing stones. It is technically mud that forms at the bottoms of lakes.

“It’s a conglomerate of stones,” David Abernethy said. “Anything that happens to float down and is mashed together by pressure. They’re all different which is why they thought it had spiritual aspects. Given that the instruments and music that we play is so varied the name suits us well.”

The group currently consists of Abernethy, Mike Willis, Denise Baxter-Yoder, John Coffey who is substituting for Gregory Knight, Paul Holt, Suzanne Williams and Matthew Davis and between the seven of them, they play the hurdy gurdy, gemshorn and viola de gamba as well as electronic wind machines and drum sets. The combination of the ancient and acoustic instruments with the electronic instruments is what gives the group their mesmerizing sound.

“Puddingstone evolved over the years into a group that would take a piece of music, tear it down to virtually nothing and then start rebuilding it,” Abernethy said. “We’ve never had an audience that didn’t love us. I’m not saying that we play better than anyone else because that wouldn’t be true. What I am saying is that we play so many different types of music and instruments that nobody does what we do.”

Adult membership to the Lincoln County Concert Association is $60. Students grade 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Membership includes all six concerts. That fee also covers all the concerts of LCCA’s three reciprocal associations in Gastonia, Statesville and Albemarle. Membership to LCCA is not required to attend a concert. Tickets will be available at the door for $20 per ticket. 

“Since part of our mission is community outreach, we are pleased to announce for the first time that we will be offering free admission to all children grades 12 and under,” LCCA chair Rick Ramseur said. “They can accompany their parents or grandparents and be exposed to all types of live performance.”

The concert begins at 3:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Cultural Center which is located at 403 East Main Street in Lincolnton. Tickets can be purchased at the door beginning at 2:30 p.m. Adult tickets are $20 and students grade 12 and under will be admitted free if accompanied by an adult. For more information, call (704) 735-7287.


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