Evening of Soul to help culture center

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Tutu D'Vyne doesn't hold back with fans.

"I'm very personal with the audience. I'm someone who's going to come off that stage and talk to you," said D'Vyne, lead singer of one of the region's most popular rhythm and blues bands.

Playback "The Band" featuring Tutu D'Vyne will take the stage with An Evening of Soul at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Municipal Center Conference Building at 215 The Alley in Aiken.

Proceeds will benefit Aiken's Center for African American History, Art and Culture. The organization has raised $1 million so far to restore the Immanuel Institute building and design exhibits celebrating black contributions to Aiken County. It expects to open in phases beginning next year, said Jo-Anne Saunders, the center's development coordinator. An Evening of Soul will be a performance for everyone, she said.

"It will make you forget all your troubles," she said. "They give you that old school R&B feel. But they've been able to transcend age barriers because the quality of the band is so good."

D'Vyne said her band plays a little bit of everything: rhythm and blues, pop, soul and country. Popular selections include Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett and old Michael Jackson songs.

"Even young people will come hug me," D'Vyne said. "Sometimes they say 'My grandmother just loves you!' and I wonder, 'How long have I been singing?' "

D'Vyne said when she performs she tries to give people something they're not going to get just listening to a CD in their car.

"I try to get there early so I can look around," she said. "I can spot who's celebrating, who's looking for a little help and who doesn't want to be bothered. Those are the people I'm going to go for. I'm there to make them smile."

Reach Carole Hawkins at (706) 823-3341, or carole.hawkins@augustachronicle.com.

If you go

WHAT: Playback "The Band" featuring Tutu D'Vyne with An Evening of Soul

WHEN: 7 p.m. Dec. 9

WHERE: Municipal Center Conference Building at 215 The Alley in Aiken

COST: $35 per person, $65 per couple


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