Episode, formerly The Drifters, to perform benefit concert Saturday


Episode, formerly known as The Drifters, will perform classic soul hits in Saturday's benefit concert at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall.

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Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 1:20 p.m.

Audiences can flash back in time and enjoy an evening of classic music at Saturday's benefit concert featuring Episode, formerly known as The Drifters, and Little Jake Mitchell & The Soul Searchers.

Facts

Benefit concert

What: Episode, formerly known as The Drifters, performs with Little Jake Mitchell & The Soul Searchers
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall, 3000 NW 83rd St.
Tickets: $35-$75, with a $10 discount for seniors 60 and older, proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Florida.
Info: 395-4181

Patrons will tap their feet and maybe even dance a little while listening to songs by The Drifters, the legendary R&B/soul group that topped the charts in the 1950s and 1960s with hits like “Under the Boardwalk” and “Stand By Me.” Soulman Little Jake Mitchell & The Soul Searchers open the concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall.

The concert benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Florida. Tickets, which range from $35 to $75, with a $10 discount for seniors age 60 and older, are available at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall box office by calling 395-4181 or at www.sfcollege.edu/finearts.

Joel Robinson, match specialist for Big Brothers Big Sisters, said Episode last year played to an audience of 250.

“Last year we had a great turnout,” Robinson said. “That's why we decided to bring it back.”

Episode's singers include Charles Fowler, baritone and tenor; Jeff Hall, tenor; Joseph Turner, baritone and tenor; Will “Mario” Kinsey, bass; and Adrian Fowler, tenor and lead singer. Kinsey lives in Gainesville, but the other members live across the U.S.

Charles Fowler was a member of The Drifters with Bill Pinkney and is the last surviving member of the group following Pinkney's death in 2008 at age 84.

He said Hall and Turner also were members of the group, and Kinsey and Adrian Fowler sang with the group in the past, but were not members.

Because of legal issues after Pinkney's death, Fowler said the group can no longer use the name.

Episode is another episode of the same group, The Drifters, said Fowler, adding that the band performs all of The Drifters' top hits.

“This is a concert of music that will never die,” Fowler said. “People keep asking for it and that's why we do it.”

“We love it when people participate,” Fowler continued. “If you feel like dancing in the aisle, please do it.”

Little Jake Mitchell said he has been preparing for the concert, which for him is extra special because this will be the second time he will be appearing with The Drifters. The first time was 1957, and Mitchell was 13 when he played a 10-day gig with The Drifters at the Plaza Hotel in Hallandale, Florida.

“I feel wonderful and blessed,” Mitchell said. “I will be playing songs by Tyrone Davis and Jackie Wilson.”

Mitchell, who lives in Gainesville and is a graduate of the all-black, historic Lincoln High School, is a veteran musician who counts B.B. King as one of his mentors. He has gone on the road with James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Bobby “Blue” Bland. Mitchell's first record was with Chess Records in 1957 on the same master tape as rock guitarist Chuck Berry.

Mitchell's band, Little Jake and the Blenders, was the first African-American group to perform at the Gator Growl celebration on the University of Florida campus in 1960. In 1965, Mitchell performed at the Apollo Theater in New York. He recorded with Impact Records in Detroit, releasing the songs “Work With Me, Anne,” “Not a Chance in a Million” and “I've Gotta Know.” In 1975, he recorded “You Can Make It If You Try” with Newtown Records, the same label as Patti LaBelle and The Bluebells. Mitchell also owned his own record company, Golden Hit Productions, from 1966 to 1972 in Detroit.

The concert is a signature fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Florida, a nonprofit organization that provides mentorship services to children in six counties, including Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Gilcrist, Levy and Marion. Children in the program are ages 6 to 18, or until they graduate from high school.

Robinson said mentors are needed desperately, but even more so for boys and teens. He said there are 150 children on a waiting list for mentors.

“They (children/teens) come from homes of single working mothers,” Robinson said. “Unfortunately boys (on the waiting list) have to wait one-year to get a match. The biggest need for these boys is a male role model.”

For more information, call 375-2525

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