Phyllis & Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series


The Phyllis & Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series

In August 1999, Phyllis and Bob Cowan announced the endowment of the Phyllis & Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series. The principal funds the series in perpetuity, and only the dedicated interest is used twice each year to bring cultural opportunities and the finest performers in the world to our community at no cost to all citizens. The Friends of the Series also supplements this fund.

A performance by Marvin Hamlisch, pianist and Oscar-winning composer, on September 14, 2000, inaugurated the Phyllis & Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series. The series presents, two to four times a year, performers who offer the finest artistic and cultural opportunities to the students and the citizens of Midland by providing events of an international interest and scope. Performances in this series stimulate and inspire the Midland arts community, which prides itself on a rich tradition of excellence in the performing arts.


 The Phyllis and Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series

One Night in Memphis

A tribute to the Music of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis,
and Johnny Cash

One Night in Memphis Vertical

Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Al G. Langford Chaparral Center

One Night in Memphis...

Show Bio
One Night in Memphis Horizontal"One Night in Memphis" is a rocking concert tribute to legendary Sun Records recording artists Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. Over 90 minutes of rockabilly, country, gospel, and pure 1950's rock and roll music performed live and backed by an authentic and energetic rockabilly backup band. Created and directed by John Mueller from the highly acclaimed show, "Winter Dance Party" this show has met with the same accolades, sell out shows and audience standing ovations. Be a witness to a rock and roll royalty jam session with the music and talent that has stood the test of time. True American music featuring the hits, "Blue Suede Shoes," "Folsom Prison Blues," "Great Balls of Fire," "Whole lotta Shaking Going On," "Shake, Rattle and Roll," "Don't Be Cruel," "Hound Dog," and many, many more with acclaimed national talent, all performed live without tracks and guaranteed to get any audience rocking and rolling!

On December 4th, 1956 music history was made. This date found Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley together at Sun Record's studio in Memphis, TN. A jam session ensued which seems to have happened by pure chance. Perkins, who by this time had already met success with "Blue Suede Shoes," had come into the studio that day, accompanied by his brothers Clayton and Jay and by drummer W.S. Holland, to cut some new material, including a revamped version of an old blues song, "Matchbox." Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, who wished to try to fatten this sparse rockabilly instrumentation, had brought in his latest acquisition, singer and piano man extraordinaire Jerry Lee Lewis, still unknown outside Memphis, to play piano on the Perkins session. 

One Night in Memphis verticalSometime in the early afternoon, Elvis Presley, a former Sun artist himself but now at RCA, dropped in to pay a casual visit. He was at the time, the biggest name in show business, having hit the top of the singles charts five times, and topping the album charts twice in the preceding 12-month period. Less than four months earlier, he had appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, pulling an unheard of 83% of the television audience, which was estimated at 55 million, the largest in history up to that time. 

After chatting with Philips in the control room, Presley listened to the playback of Perkin's session, which he pronounced to be good. Then he went out into the studio and some time later the jam session began. At some point during the session, Sun artist Johnny Cash, who had recently enjoyed a few hits on the country charts, popped in. Cowboy Jack Clement was engineering that day and remembers saying to himself "I think I'd be remiss not to record this" and so he did and the night became rock and roll music history. Many famous artists such as Bob Dylan recall listening to these recordings and being tremendously inspired by. 


Past performers for the Phyllis & Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series

(September 2000 to Present)


Jason Isbell with Amanda Shires  
Moscow Festival Ballet Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández
Jay Leno The Avett Brothers
Gladys Knight Dance Theater of Harlem
Texas Jamm Band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Cirque Chinois Lyle Lovett and his Large Band
Barrage The 5 Browns
Russian National Ballet Theatre Garrison Keillor
Marvin Hamlisch The Kingston Trio
3 Mo' Divas Jason Bishop
The Ten Tenors AEROS
Dave Barry Bob Newhart
Golden Dragon Acrobats Ruthie Foster
The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Smokey Joe's Cafe
Preservation Hall Jazz Band Laurence Luckinbill in "Teddy Tonight"
Eroica Trio Moscow Boys Choir
The Flying Karamazov Brothers Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez
Andre Watts Marvin Hamlisch

The Phyllis & Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series Committee
 David Stroman, Esq. - Chair   
 Rebecca Bell  Danny Holeva
 Michel Curry, Esq.  Edward McPherson
 Rabon Bewley  Sue Roseberry
 Neil Dufford  Vicki Thomas


3600 N. GARFIELD · MIDLAND, TX 79705-6399 · 432.685.4526

(FAX) 432.685.4714