The Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center (PAC) in downtown Florence officially opened its doors on Friday, Sept. 9, hosting an inaugural concert featuring Roberta Flack.
Flack, a 4-time Grammy award-winner and 13-time nominee, performed for nearly two hours on the main stage. The facility’s opening night concert saw a sold out crowd of 849 patrons and a pleased performer, said Laura Sims, Director of the PAC.
“Roberta was such a great act to have for an inaugural concert,” Sims said. “She was so gracious to us and appreciative of the community. She said she loved the audience and they had a great time.”
Flack performed old and new music. She opened the concert singing one of her most widely recognized songs, “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” and followed with a rendition of “No Woman, No Cry.”
Throughout the performance, Flack reflected on her past life, both personal and professional, describing events that ranged from musical celebrations in her family’s backyard to filming airline commercials in Jamaica in the 1970s.
When the main set was over, the audience stood in ovation before Flack and her band returned to the stage for a multiple song encore, two of which were covers of Beatles songs.
Many FMU students and faculty attended the event along with members of the Florence community.
Cody Simpson, junior and SGA President at FMU, said he thought the event brought the citizens of Florence and students of FMU together for the night.
“It was great,” Simpson said. “I really enjoyed the concert, and I think Ms. Flack brought us all together.”
Logan Trively, senior and a Student Government Association Senator at FMU, said he was proud to be a student at FMU because of what the university does for the community.
“It’s interesting learning how much the university has done for the community and how much the university means to the community,” Trively said. “Being a student, I am able to take pride in that.”
Longtime WBTW News 13 anchor Bob Juback emceed the event.
Other attendees included James “Jim” Clyburn, U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 6th congressional district; Ken Ard, Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina; Hugh Leatherman, Sr., South Carolina State Senator and Dr. Fred Carter, President of FMU.
For information about upcoming events at the Performing Arts Center, the box office can be contacted at (843) 661-4444.