PORT ARTHUR – Ronnie Milsap will headline the 13th Annual Gulf Coast Gala at Lamar State College-Port Arthur. As part of his farewell tour, at 7 p.m., April 30, at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center, 1800 Lakeshore Drive.
Milsap became country music’s first successful blind singer and the biggest crossover artist of his generation, appealing to both country and pop music markets with hit songs that incorporated pop, R&B, and rock and roll elements. His biggest crossover hits include “It Was Almost Like a Song,” “Smoky Mountain Rain,” “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me,” “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World,” “Any Day Now,” and “Stranger in My House.” He is credited with 6 Grammy Awards and 40 No. 1 country hits, third to George Strait and Conway Twitty. He has sold more than 35 million albums during his career and was selected for induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
“Spring is always an exciting time when the Gala comes around but to have someone of the caliber of Ronnie Milsap performing is truly exciting,” LSCPA President Dr. Betty Reynard said. “The level of talent he possesses is unsurpassed. No doubt he will be amazing to see in person.”
Born nearly blind due to a congenital disorder, Milsap was abandoned by his mother as an infant and raised by his grandparents in the Smoky Mountains. At the age of 5, he was sent to the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, N.C. He eventually lost his remaining vision. When he was seven, his instructors began to notice his musical talents. Soon afterward, he began studying classical music and learned several instruments, mastering the piano.
In the late 1960s and early 70s, Milsap worked as a session musician, playing for several well-known artists. Among those was Elvis Presley, with whom he played on “Don’t Cry Daddy” in 1969 and “Kentucky Rain” in 1970.
The black-tie event also features a meal prior to the music. For tickets and more information, call 409-984-6262.
Lamar State’s first gala was developed in 2004 to benefit cultural and visual arts at the Museum of the Gulf Coast, and to provide support for the college’s “Discovery” youth program, Alumni Fund, athletic scholarships, musical and theatrical productions and a variety of special projects, such as Lamar State’s July 4 celebration and the Regional Citizen Bee.