Promoter does his version of ‘Putting on the Hits’ at Elks Lodge 135 showcase

Photos by Chris Sykes
At music and talent showcase organizer and promoter Charles Barner’s event on Saturday, Aug. 4, at Orange Elks Lodge 135 on Main Street, are, from left, the evening’s host and master of ceremonies, Pete Cook, West Ward Councilman Harold Johnson, Orange at large Councilwoman Adrienne Wooten and Barner.

ORANGE, NJ — Once upon a time, “Putting on the Hits” was a hit television show featuring talented people from all walks of life and different parts of the country singing, dancing and performing their favorite music.

On Saturday, Aug. 4, local promoter and talent agent Charles Barner put on his own version of “Putting on the Hits” at Orange Elks Lodge 135 on Main Street.

“It’s an entertainment, light buffet and showcase, just showcasing local talent, as well as celebrities from around the country — New York, South Carolina and a lot of people from New Jersey,” said Barner on Saturday, Aug. 4. “We all came together and this is just the first affair of many more to come. I hope to see everybody there at the next one. If you didn’t come today, you missed a good one and I’m looking forward to seeing you.”

Orange West Ward Councilman Harold Johnson and at large Councilwoman Adrienne Wooten were two elected officials who did not miss the event. Johnson said listening to the performances of oldies but goodies such as “Bad Girl” by Donna Summer, “Don’t You Remember” by Luther Vandross and “My Girl” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles was like taking a trip down memory lane to his youth in Atlantic City, and that was a very good thing.

“Other than his executive producer shtick here, Charles was very instrumental in helping me get re-elected this last May. He was wonderful and it was a joy to know that he lived in my ward and he had the influence of a lot of people in the community and he really supported me 100 percent. I really appreciate that Chuck Barner,” said Johnson on Saturday, Aug. 4. “Hailing from Atlantic City, I’m thinking that I’m sitting at the Club Harlem or the Wonder Garden. You cats and ladies were on the money. I’m traveling through Atlantic City in the late ‘60s. Everybody was spot on with your talent. We need to showcase this on a bigger event. We’ve got to do something to get this talent really exposed to our community.”

Lee Burgess came to the showcase wearing a hat with the word “Love” with his girlfriend, Phyllis Montgomery, and her friend, Kimberly Smith. He thanked Barner for giving him the opportunity to perform.

“I’m supposed to perform again tonight. I sang gospel music earlier and I’m going to be singing another song in a minute. My other song will be ‘I Can’t Stand It.’” said Burgess on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Montgomery said the showcase truly gave her boyfriend and other talented locals a chance to put their gifts to good use.

“He wrote the song ‘I Can’t Stand It’ himself. That’s R&B by him,” said Montgomery on Saturday, Aug. 4. “He sang gospel already. I love the old school and all that.”

Smith also said she really enjoyed the old school music and the chill vibe at the showcase.

“I enjoyed myself tonight. I heard music that I hadn’t heard in years,” said Smith on Saturday, Aug. 4. “It was nice, peaceful and serene. And I really enjoyed myself.”