NEWBERRY — A packed Newberry Opera House greeted Olivia Newton-John with enthusiasm Thursday evening.
The Aussie raised singer-actress-cancer survivor belted out tunes a crowd that reached beyond Newberry County residents and even out of state fans.
The 64-year-young Newton-John began her career in the 1960s and is still touring and working on a CD set for release next year.
There are 420 seats in the Opera House which Opera House Director Deborah Smith said completely sold out.
In fact, she says, “We could have sold out the show three times.”
Fans young and old, near and far gathered to hear the popular icon sing.
One couple, Euston and Ann Shealy, are Opera House faithful attendees and just wanted to attend a show at a favorite spot.
This was actually their fourth visit this week, they say. Ann Shealy says she really enjoys the opera singers and shows as those are her favorite.
While there were plenty of Newberry County residents, there were also fans who ventured from outside the county, or outside the state in Ron Wallace’s case.
The Greensboro, N.C. resident grabbed front row seats to hear one of his favorites. He also brought flowers which he would present to her later in the show. Until then, they were discreetly under his chair.
“I’ve been a fan since I was eight-years-old,” Wallace said who is now in his forties, “I first heard her on the radio (in the 1970s) singing ‘Have you never been mellow.’”
This is Wallace’s first trip to the Opera House and when asked what he likes about Newton-John, he elaborates, “I love her spirit, her voice, the way she looks. You feel so special (when she sings). It’s not just music but her as a person. She’s very giving, especially to the cancer fund since she’s a survivor.”
There were some other fans from North Carolina who came to see Newton-John as well.
Belinda Taylor says, “I love it all. I’ve been a fan for 34 years. The first time I saw her was in Atlanta, Ga. in 2001.”
Perhaps it was coincidental, but Amy Elkins who was in the next row, said that was her first show too. Elkins says her favorite song is “Tied Up.”
Closer to the county were Rex and Beth Taylor from Blythewood who were excited to see the Aussie lass in concert.
The Taylors say this was their third Newton-John concert within the last couple of years.
“I honestly love you” is a mutual favorite of the couple who profess to being fans.
As for Brenda Cobb and Melissa Bemuh, this was a Christmas treat for the friends. It was also their second Newton-John show.
“I can’t narrow it down to one song,” said Cobb, “‘Love is a gift’ is a favorite song.’”
“I grew up loving her,” said Bemuh, “Her grace, beauty and talent; her spirit is so strong. She’s such a beautiful soul.”
The night brought together many fans of the singer as well as Opera House groupies bringing in much desired business into the county.