Colleen Mitchell has performed in every concert for two decades
Pam Clifton, Contributing Writer
With 20 years of Baby Boomer concerts, Colleen Mitchell has performed in every one of them. Even though she has not yet taken the stage for the 2023 concerts, she’s certain they’re going to be her favorite.
“’The British are Coming’ might be my favorite so far,” she said, “because the music is fabulous!”
Mitchell and the rest of the amazing Baby Boomers will take the stage Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Farmington’s Centene Center.
Tickets are $13 and can be purchased at the Farmington Civic Center, located at 2 Black Knight Dr., or call 573-756-0900.
Mitchell has been singing her entire life. Her first performance was the lead role in her school’s play “Ugly Duckling.”
Mitchell’s parents James and Bette Wright, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles —all sang.
“So for me, singing kind of began the day I was born,” she said.
Mitchell sang throughout high school and attended Mineral Area College and Southeast Missouri State University on a music scholarship. After that, she sang in a vocal group called Dazzle under the direction of Mike O’Brien and was fortunate to participate in competitions.
After that, Mitchell joined the local band GTO for 16 years and also started singing with the group Book of Ruth in gospel venues.
“I have many cherished memories from being part of these two groups,” she said.
Mitchell is currently singing with Lindsay Copeland and Kelly Littrell in the group Amaryllis.
As for instruments, Mitchell said she “can play a keyboard and a trombone … and a tambourine barely!”
Mitchell, originally from Bismarck, lives in Farmington. Her brother Steve Wright is a local musician, and her sister Camille is also part of Baby Boomers.
Twenty years ago is when Dr. Kevin White, creator of the Baby Boomer Concert Series, asked Mitchell if she would be part of the first show.
“I was lucky enough to be invited to perform in the very first concert … by accident,” she said.
She and White were at the same church at that time. She was rehearsing with a group on a weeknight at the church when he walked over to her and asked a question that would impact her life for two decades.
“Hey, would you want to sing in this concert I’m thinking about doing?” he asked.
“Sure,” was her simple response, and here she is 20 years later.
Mitchell has loved every moment of performing in the Baby Boomer concerts and struggles with narrowing it down to her favorite moments.
“It’s very hard to pick a favorite concert because I love them all,” she said. “I love backup singing, so all of those songs I get to sing harmonies on are really fun for me.”
She especially loves the encores when the group sings together.
Two of her favorite songs she’s performed are “Ode to Billy Joe” and Donna Summers’ “Last Dance” which reminded her of her college days.
Mitchell and her sister Camille sang Nancy Sinatra’s “Sugar Town” one year and were shocked at the number of people who said they kept humming that song and loved it.
“So, you never know what the Boomer crowd is going to like,” she said.
Mitchell has made lasting friendships with her fellow Baby Boomer performers.
“Such great friendships have been made,” she said. “A lot of us have a musical past together. Many of these people I only see at Boomers, but it’s like we’re all just best friends, which makes backstage a bit too much fun!”
Mitchell recalled a funny moment with her sister, who was not yet on stage but came running out and yelled, “I’m having a hot flash!”
She added, “I remember Rick Giles coming out in his rubber stretchy body suit, girls dressing up and singing ‘Walk Like a Man,’ Alan and Marilyn in the caveman costumes … and it’s very common for us to all walk out onto the stage and look at each other and say, ‘What part am I singing?’”
Mitchell retired from teaching in the Central R-3 School District and is a former instructor for MAC. She currently works at the college’s Wellness Center.