ST. GEORGE – The sounds of the 1970s rocked the Burns Arena on Tuesday night as hundreds of Hunstman World Senior Games athletes, supporters and community members came for a night of music and entertainment provided by Jim Witter’s Piano Men.
Taking a respite from their varied sports, the athletes were treated to a lively evening that began with a tribute to the many countries represented at the games and continued with a high class ballroom dance display by the Provo High School Ballroom Dance Team.
Boys and girls from the team danced their way across the stage, thrilling audience members with both standard and latin ballroom dance numbers, capping them off with a stunning Paso Doble.
Athletes and spectators came from far and near to hear the headlining act pay tribute to the 1970s through the music of Billy Joel and Elton John.
Candy Trapp and Charlotte Deveraux of American Fork came to the games to compete in bowling, representing Jack and Jill Bowling Lanes. While they hope to fair well at the games, they said, on Tuesday night they came to party clad in Elton John glasses they had purchased in a McDonald’s Happy Meal.
“We came to bowl,” said Trapp, “But we really just have a lot of fun together.”
The concert hearkened back to when bell bottoms were popular and everyone wanted to buy the world a Coke as Jim Witter and his band deftly played through some of the 70s most classic tunes penned and performed by two legendary piano men.
In addition to the music, the night proved to be for some, a stroll down memory lane, and for others, a trip through the history books as a giant screen played images and words of trivia from the decade made famous by Richard Nixon, disco, Apollo missions, polyester and much more.
Adding to the fun, Witter recounted a moment of triumph and despair at one of his high school dances and then turned the front of the arena into an impromptu dance floor, inviting couples to come up and dance while he played Billy Joel’s 1977 love song “Just the Way You Are.”
The crowd participation continued with a sing-along of favorite TV theme songs of the era, which delighted the crowd. Many yelled out their favorites, including “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Brady Bunch,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Welcome Back, Kotter.”
Before his closing and encore numbers, Witter spoke to the athletes.
“I know you are tired from competition,” Witter said, “I hope we have energized you.”
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