Buddy Holly didn’t make it to his scheduled performance in Peoria in 1959, but musician Johnny Rogers will give audiences a feel for his music and more.
The Illinois Central College Guest Artists Series presents Rogers and his backing band with their show Buddy and Beyond: The History of Rock and Roll on May 19 at 7:30 pm in the ICC Performing Arts Center, located on the East Peoria Campus.
Due to the fateful plane crash known as “the day the music died,” Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper never made it to Peoria to perform as part of the Winter Dance Party tour in 1959. But Rogers will pay tribute to those performers and others during his performance.
“I’ll start it off with Buddy Holly and I’ll put in a tribute to the Bopper and Ritchie Valens, because they were on that last tour with him and on the plane,” Rogers said. “Then after that I’ll do Johnny Cash and do the whole Million Dollar Quartet thing with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. Then I’ll move into Ricky Nelson, the Everly Brothers. It’s kind of a history of rock and roll.”
Not only does Rogers perform the music of Buddy Holly, but he also is a big fan of the late performer.
“When I heard Buddy Holly, I became the biggest Buddy Holly fan out there, and I have a large memorabilia collection of my own,” Rogers said. “I actually own a pair of glasses that belonged to Buddy, and a shirt that was given to me by his first girlfriend that she made for him. And I’ve got some actual photos that have never been published of Buddy.”
Rogers has performed his show for several relatives of Holly as well as other performers who played shows with the late singer.
“I had the honor of performing for Buddy’s own family, and I’m still very close with his family,” Rogers said. “The reaction of the family was that I was the closest to Buddy they’d ever seen.
Rogers played for the last four U.S. presidents. His show was voted as one of the best in Branson two years in a row. Rogers was inducted into the Iowa Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame in 2016, and he was recognized with the most versatile artist award in Nashville by the Josie Radio Show program. Rogers said he’s looking forward to playing in Peoria, and he thinks music fans, especially people who are fans of old time rock and roll, will enjoy the show.
Sculpture Walk Peoria will be the highlighted community partner for the event. The community partner program, a part of the ICC Guest Artists Series, highlights a non-profit or community organization which has ties to the Guest Artists Series performance.
Patrons at the event who donate to Sculpture Walk Peoria will be entered in a drawing for two free tickets to a future ICC Guest Artists Series event.
As it does for all ICC Guest Artists Series events, CityLink provides Park and Ride service from Peoria for the performance. Buses leave Evergreen Square near the former Lenscrafters building at 6:45 pm and transport passengers directly to the ICC Performing Arts Center. Buses return to Evergreen Square immediately after the show. Fares are $1 one-way. Senior citizens 65 years of age and older with verification can ride for 50 cents one way.
The performance is presented by the Arts at ICC. The Arts at ICC has a rich history of enhancing the arts community and expanding education beyond the classroom. Arts at ICC presents more than 500 exhibits, performances, lectures, rehearsals, meetings, master classes, clinics, seminars, receptions, orientations, forums, auditions and tournaments annually.
Tickets cost $25 for the general public and $15 for students. Tickets can be purchased at ArtsAtICC.com or by calling the ICC Performing Arts Center Box Office at (309) 694-5136.