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The Manny B. Group takes to stage for Gratiot fundraiser

GRATIOT—A local star will take to the stage on Saturday to support the fundraising efforts of the Gratiot Community Development Committee to make repairs to the community center.
The Manny B. Group, a four-person band that performs classic rock, will put on a two-part show on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Gratiot Community Center starting at 6:30 p.m.
Manny B. said he has performed an award-winning monster show with several costume changes and special effects. The Manny B. Group performed at Six Flags Great America as the featured act for seven years during Fright Fest. The band also performed throughout the country, including Las Vegas and many casinos in various states.
Manny B. said bands have been coming to Gratiot for a community fundraiser since 2005, but this is the first year his band has been asked to perform and it is also the first year that the event will have a Halloween theme.
The regular show will start at 6:30 p.m., then at 7:30 p.m. the group will take a half-hour break to put on make-up and change costumes and return at 8 p.m. for the monster show.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Manny B. said. “We’ve got experience performing for mixed crowds at Six Flags and casinos.”
Manny B. said he does spoofs on many artists, including Tina Turner, Willie Nelson and ZZ Top.
The Manny B. Group consists of Manny B., who formed the group 33 years ago and plays guitar and keyboard while singing; Donny Watts has been the drummer for 30 years; Manny B.’s brother, Papa Phil, has been with the band 15 years playing base and Burl Hibbler is the newest member, joining only two months ago to play keyboard.
“I determined at an early age that I didn’t have to be a recording star to make a living doing this,” Manny B. said. “When you see the group, one thing you’ll notice is we have so much fun doing it. After all of these years this is why we perform. It’s so fun to do. It’s our passion.”
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are two for $25, one for $15 and children 5-12 are $5. Tickets are available at Gratiot Fast Stop or by calling (608) 922-3381. Food, soda, beer, wine coolers and popcorn will be sold throughout the event.