Hometown singer set to close out series
Summer is ending, school is back in session, and our last concert of the Point Park Concert Series is less than a week away. This summer we were able to bring Downtown Parkersburg four concerts, filling Point Park with hundreds of people, food vendors and awesome entertainment. The Point Park Concert Series wouldn’t be possible without the support of our sponsors. A special thank you to this year’s Point Park Concert Series Title Sponsor, McClinton Mitsubishi. We would also like to thank our other sponsors, The Ross Foundation, Exit Riverbend Realty, Memorial Health System, United Bank, Wesbanco, CAS Cable, Chapman Printing and the Blennerhassett Hotel. This Friday, September 7, we will end our 2018 Point Park Concerts on the River with 1988.
After a private matter with Wanted, Bon Jovi Tribute, Ed Johnson left us in the good hands of 1988. 1988 focuses on pleasing the crowd by playing danceable material without straying too far from the 80s Hard Rock theme. Of course, the 80s were known for their “monster ballads”, and there is no shortage of them at a 1988 show.
The band plays several of the biggest ones every night. Not to ignore the aficionado, 1988 also throws in the head banging classics by Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Europe, Scorpions and others.
1988 has been playing in and around Ohio for years. In late 2013, they began to search for a new lead singer. Dave Belanger, bassist and manager, got a call from Joey D., the singer of Disco Inferno, who had just done an all acoustic show with Eric Martin of Mr. Big in Akron OH. Before Joey performed, a 19-year-old kid from West Virginia named Alex Schreckengost performed. Alex played acoustic versions of several 80s big hair hits which got Joey’s attention and led Alex to 1988. One short phone interview with Alex, an invite to a secret live “American Idol” style audition in Cleveland on a Wednesday night in Early January of 2014, in front of a crowd of about 100 people, Alex auditioned against three other hopefuls, and got the job.
Dave was a little nervous to hire a 19-year-old kid from West Virginia, who was just starting Marshall University and lived 3 hours away for a band whose majority of our gigs (at the time) were in Northeast Ohio but decided to give it a shot anyway. Needless to say, it has over 4 years later now with Alex. He continued his studies at Marshall, and just graduated this past May. He commuted every weekend from Parkersburg to wherever we were playing in Ohio and surrounding areas without fail, sometimes up to 4 hours one-way, never less than 1.5. Alex would stay in hotels all weekend, on his own dime, and always made it back to school for class on Monday morning. After graduating, Alex is now seeking a teaching position in central or northeast Ohio, while still planning to perform with 1988 when he does.
Alex breathed new life into 1988. His vocals and guitar playing are one of the highlights of the band, and they are the best version of 1988 that they’ve ever been. In all 4 of those years, the band has never performed in Alex’s hometown of Parkersburg, WV, until now.
Not only is 1988 grateful for the opportunity to do so, but we are excited to be welcoming one of our very own to the stage Friday night.
We look forward to wrapping up our summer series with 1988, our sponsors, and all of you! An opportunity to see 1988 is not to be missed. Young or old, if you want to experience the closest thing to what it was like in the 80s…this is it!
Wendy Shriver is Executive Director of Downtown PKB.