Rockin’ in the New Year

Published 3:01 pm Sunday, December 15, 2013

Joy Riley

Joy Riley

New Year’s Eve at the Paramount Theatre is set to be one for the ages, literally.

From ‘50s and ‘60s rock, new-age country, contemporary and pop to hula hoops, there will be something for senior citizens to preteens on Tuesday, Dec. 31. It’s a Vegas-style variety show in Austin, beginning 7:30 p.m. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults and $7 for students, or $2 off in advance.

“It’s going to be fun,” said organizer Denny Charnecki. “It’s going to be a good program, something for everybody out there.”

Email newsletter signup

Charnecki, of the D.C. Drifters, is no stranger to rockin’ good times from the 50s and 60s, as he plays in many tribute shows at regional venues. But the longtime performer who missed last year’s Paramount bash on New Year’s Eve (because he was playing another venue) wanted to return for an epic show.

So this year, the D.C. Drifters and crew will bring another tribute show of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, along with a special Neil Diamond performance by Kevin Eastburn.

“It’s really good,” Charnecki said about the Diamond performance. “He does all the big hits, and with the big hair, the jacket and the guitar.”

Charnecki is particularly excited for three young, local acts: There will be duets and solos by Austin singers Amanda Corey and Joy Riley, and a crazy hula hoop performance by Austin’s Tori Wagoner.

“That alone is a show,” Charnecki said of the local performers, “so this is going to be extra, extra, extra cool.”

The show’s finale will gather multiple acts for some big-time hits to leave people amped up to enter the new year.

Corey, who has performed for four years with the Drifters at various shows, still anticipates a few jitters before such a show. However, a few nerves are likely a good thing.

“Nerves mixed with extreme excitement,” Corey said.

While Corey, a 2002 Hayfield High School graduate, will perform some of the doo-wop and great-girl performances from decades ago, she’ll also feature a bit of her passion: contemporary country music. Given the amount and variety of acts, combined with the pending new year, and Corey knows there will be plenty of hype.

“It’s just always such a fun celebration for the year, and I think there is always so much excitement in the air.”

Corey will pair with Riley — an up-and-coming singer who has won local talent contests — on several hits. Despite their local presence, the two have yet to sing together, Corey noted.

“So I’m really excited for that opportunity,” she said.

Charnecki said the duet will sing some new music for youngsters, making the night a great one for families.

Amanda Corey

Amanda Corey

Riley, like Corey, is a bit excited, yet nervous. She knows Charnecki well, as she grew up near him and has been involved in other events at the Paramount, including the New Year’s Eve program two years ago. To perform in the same show, though, is a bit of a treat.

“I’m honored,” she said.

Furthermore, (and Corey likely doesn’t know this) Riley is excited to perform with Corey. Their families are well acquainted, but the two singers on the other hand, don’t know each other that well. Riley, a 2013 Austin High School graduate, has looked up to Corey.

“She’s always just kind of been like a celebrity to me,” Riley said.

The crowd won’t sense any hesitation once the lights shine, though.

“It’s my passion,” Riley said. “I love doing it. I jump at it any chance I can.”

The Drifters, Corey and Riley have a knack for entertaining the home crowd. They love the Paramount. They love the microphone.