Motown history took center stage at the Anniston Performing Arts Center when Smokey Robinson closed out the Knox Concert Series season with a sold-out performance.

Robinson began his musical career while still in high school, when he formed singing group The Matadors, later changed to The Miracles, that was discovered by Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.

The label’s first No. 1 hit was Robinson’s “Shop Around,” and it was followed by other chart-breaking tunes such as “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” and “The Tracks of My Tears.”

Robinson performed the numbers for the Anniston crowd on Friday, March 14, as well as other favorites such as “I Second That Emotion” and “Tears of a Clown.”

“The King of Motown” brought the audience to its feet several times during the energetic performance and many couldn’t stop themselves from singing along to “My Girl” or “The Way You Do the Things You Do.”

As the last performance of the season, it was also Charter Night for the concert series. Under the direction of Knox board member Joan Frazier, a promotion was launched to encourage current subscribers to make advance purchases for the 2014-2015 season ticket packages.

Wearing maroon aprons and flashing “blue-light special” necklaces, other board members including Mandi King, Patricia Smith, Rodney Gibson, Margaret Roberts, Julia Segars, Art Moore, David McCormack, Phil Webb and Greg Brown circulated throughout the auditorium before the show selling subscription packages for what promises to be another exciting Knox season.

Negotiations are still in the works, but three of the events — the Russian Ballet, the Mexican Symphony and Beatles tribute Rain — have already been booked for next season.

Later in the evening, four lucky early-bird subscribers walked away with prizes — gift certificates for dinner for two donated by the Anniston Country Club, Classic on Noble, Garfrerick’s and Prime Dining.

After Robinson took his final bow, patrons gathered for a festive afterparty at the Anniston Country Club to talk about the concert, especially the moment two audience members were chosen to take the stage and assist with a vocal competition. Robinson then divided the auditorium in half to see which side could out-sing the other in a rendition of his popular tune, “Cruisin.’”

It’s not too late to take advantage of discounted ticket prices for the 2014-2015 Knox Concert Series season. A subscription currently costs $155 per person but after May 9, the price will increase to $180 — that is, if there are any tickets left. If you wish to make a purchase now, contact Mandi King at 256-235-2553.

Save the Date

April is National Crime Victims Month. On Monday, April 7 beginning at 5 p.m., the Mt. Cheaha chapter of VOCAL (Victims of Crime and Leniency) will hold a candlelight vigil at Zinn Park. Alabama State Attorney General Luther Strange will be the guest speaker and there will be special music and inspirational messages. VOCAL includes crime victims and their families as well as District Attorney Brian McVeigh, law enforcement personnel and concerned citizens. Everyone is welcome to join. Call 256-238-1077 for more information.