The Homecoming Concert for Rachel Hale was highly energetic and full of references to Prescott and Southwest Arkansas Friday night at Hempstead Hall.
Hale, a Prescott native, took the stage after a 45-minute meet and greet. At the meet and greet, cameras were flashing as Hale accommodated the hometown crowd. She took pictures with fans, band members, and her three special guests, Nick Boddington, Josh Holliday, and Johnny Keiser.
The former American Idol contestants and friends of Hale were impressed with the friendliness of people in Arkansas.
“I'm not that familiar with Arkansas, but there are some really friendly people here,” Boddington said. “I am off to Los Angeles after I leave here, to pursue a recording contract.”
“I have relatives in Arkansas, so I'm kind of familiar with people in the state. They are very friendly and I'm glad I got the opportunity to perform here,” Holladay said.
“I have met a bunch of nice people,” Keiser said. “I have to admit this is a little bit less stressful than Idol. I have moved from South Florida to Nashville, Tenn. to pursue my songwriting career. I'm excited about it.”
As far as Hale's plans, she is going back to Nashville to pursue recording her first CD.
“I am under contract with American Idol until August of this year, and after that, I can release my CD,” Hale said. “Idol definitely jumpstarted my career. To be on the show really helped.”
Her performing on the show didn't happen overnight, however. According to Hale, she has been singing since she was three years old.
“I have sung in church since I was little,” she said. “I started taking voice lessons when I was 10 and I am on a praise team at my current church.
“I had to take a semester off from Belmont University in Nashville to perform on Idol,” Hale said. “There are about 7,000 students at Belmont, so it's not a small university. My major is songwriting and I will graduate in December of this year.”
Her interest in songwriting began at Arkansas School for Math, Sciences, and Arts, in Hot Springs, where she attended her junior and senior year of high school.
Her friend and fellow student at Belmont, Josh Holladay, performed several songs with her, and then took the stage for a couple of solo numbers.
Johnny Keiser took the stage and thrilled the audience with a couple of smooth soul numbers, and Nick Boddington sang some emotion-filled songs while on the stage.
The group sang together on several occasions during the concert and ended the night with a rendition of Diana Ross' “Ain't No Mountain High Enough.”
The crowd seemed to enjoy the concert and they flocked to the merchandise table as all three performers signed autographs.