The Laurens Riverfront Freedom Festival was a ball of observations, coupled with music and fireworks. Monday night’s lead-in to Independence Day was an example of what city folks have no idea they’re missing.
Malashia Cain, who sang “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, won the finals of Laurens Sings, earning a $1,000 check. The rising Laurens District High School senior said she’s going to use the bulk of it as a down payment on a car. She already had it picked out, even though she only won by a nose over Britany Fuller, who sang a spirited, Vegas-style version of “Proud Mary, and another eyelash over the youngest finalist, 12-year-old Mary-Kate Kennedy.
The winner fostered her love of music in a gospel choir with her sister and cousin at White Plains Baptist Church.
“I just love it,” Miss Cain said. “Every bit of it. All kinds. I sang a country song in one of the rounds.”
A few raindrops fell an hour or so beforehand, but the clouds cleared, and by the time the crowd was strolling in to the strains of 1970s rock standards – it’s not every day “Clap for the Wolfman” gets lifted from the archives – the Laurens Amphitheater had a little of everything this side of tires swinging over the aptly named Little River.
The self-evidence that Laurens Sings paved the way for Outshyne, a local band offering more of the classic rock that had been playing before the live music began.
The night was as wholesome as a porch swing, and, come to think of it, there was one of them up on the hill.