By Jessica Mullins/What’s on Tap Editor
When you see blond-haired, blue-eyed Cassandra Jean (C.J.) Harding, it’s hard to imagine her transforming into “one of the major female vocalists of all time,” Patsy Cline. She does, however, and local residents can witness it at the “Denim ‘n Diamonds Concert: A Tribute to Patsy Cline” at 7:30 p.m. on March 13 in the Brock Auditorium.
Sponsored by The Richmond Area Arts Council, many community individuals and businesses, Harding’s tribute has been seen all over the United States.
Harding, a native of Georgia, gained her love for music, especially Cline’s, throughout her childhood.
“Patsy Cline is all my mother played. I learned to sing from listening to Patsy. When I was 14, I bought a guitar and taught myself how to play from a songbook,” Harding said on her official Web site.
Harding not only explored the world of music, but throughout the years she gained experience in theater, including costume, design and acting. It was a combination of these experiences and talents that led to her “Tribute” show.
“So with my love for the theater and music, I decided to put this show together,” Harding said.
Harding also comments how much she enjoys performing the concert.
“I discovered that people everywhere love Patsy Cline,” she said. “Folks would come up to me and say they didn’t necessarily like country but have always loved Patsy. I’m so delighted that I can bring back some beautiful memories for those who remember Patsy and introduce her songs to the ones who’ve only just started to become a fan. Cline loved what she was doing, and so do I.”
In the show, Harding transforms every aspect of herself to become Patsy, wearing costumes she makes based on Cline’s wardrobe, singing many of Cline’s big hits, including “Crazy,” and even donning a brown wig to fit the part. Many who have seen the show say it is as if Patsy Cline was truly right there on stage.
Cline, who was the No. 1 female country artist in the early 1960s, died in a plane crash in 1963. However, with devoted musicians and fans such as Harding, Cline’s legacy and music continues to live on.
Tickets to Denim ‘n Diamonds: A Tribute to Patsy Cline are $15 and can be purchased at the performance or in advance from the RAAC at 399 W. Water St. For more information, call 624-4242.