I was fortunate enough to meet Billy Dean at the Chatfield Center for the Arts on Friday, Jan. 18. He was kind enough to pose for a photo with me and other devoted fans following his concert where he performed with Dan Mahar.
I was fortunate enough to meet Billy Dean at the Chatfield Center for the Arts on Friday, Jan. 18. He was kind enough to pose for a photo with me and other devoted fans following his concert where he performed with Dan Mahar.
As I ended my column last week, I mentioned that my parents were taking me to the Billy Dean concert in Chatfield as a finale to my week-long birthday celebration. I knew it was going to be a great evening, but I never imagined how much fun I could have and how friendly and gracious Billy Dean and Dan Mahar would be.

First of all, I must compliment the city of Chatfield and the volunteers who have worked to transform the former Chatfield elementary school into the Chatfield Center for the Arts. I have attended a couple of events there and look forward to attending others in the future. Both events I've attended have been held in the Legion Room, which is an intimate setting that allows one to be casual and interact with the performers or presenters in a more personal way.

When Billy Dean had performed in Chatfield in October, my parents went and enjoyed the concert in the Potter Auditorium. I was disappointed that I had a conflict so could not attend that earlier performance. So, when I heard he was returning, I immediately reserved tickets and requested that my parents take me as a birthday gift.

I was glad I had waited as this time, with Billy and Dan performing in the smaller venue, we were sitting just a few feet from the stage and could feel the vibrations of the amplifiers and see the stitching in their cowboy boots!

We were the recipients of wonderful smiles and I almost swooned when I locked eyes with Billy and he smiled at me, showing me his wonderful dimples! OK, I admit it, I was star-struck!

I was a huge Billy Dean fan when he was most popular in the 1980s and '90s. Over the years, I will periodically put his "Greatest Hits" CD in my player, but I hadn't done so in quite awhile.

Of course, this week, following his wonderful concert, I've been playing it more often. My mother purchased his newer CDs at his October concert, so a I am looking forward to listening to those too when she's willing to share. I have no doubt she's been playing those a bit more frequently this week too!

Billy and Dan played two sets, with a brief intermission. Neither was feeling 100 percent as they were both recovering from a cold, but they gave all they had as they jammed to their music and belted out their songs.

Even after nearly two hours of singing, the two returned for a two-song encore, which brought one of my favorites to the performance, "Let Them Be Little." This song reminds me that our small loved ones grow up way too fast and that every moment should be cherished.

After we finally let them leave the stage, we had the opportunity to meet the two performers, get autographs and take photos with them. My mother and sister had attended a Billy Dean concert many years ago and had gotten a photo with him standing between them. My mom, therefore, wanted to get a similar photo with him, only with me instead of my sister. I joked that my sister had the advantage because everyone was much younger in that photo!

I did make my mom take another photo of just the two of us, like I said previously, I truly was star-struck and had enjoyed myself so much. It was a great birthday present and the photo at left is proof that I truly enjoyed myself!

We were unable to go to JAC's the next night when Billy and Dan performed there, but we did make sure to stay up and watch him on the cancer telethon late Saturday night.

I was so grateful to be able to see one of my favorite country music performers, but it was even more special because of the intimate setting and the generosity of the two men who entertained us that night. It truly was one of the best birthday gifts I've ever received.

Now, I think it's time to put that CD in again as I'm feeling the need to sing a few Billy Dean favorites!