South Carolina native Ron Dover has spent most of his adult life in the music business, spending eight years in the employ of Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Peabo Bryson and performing on recording dates with Roberta Flack, Bobby Womack and Natalie Cole.
But for the last 10 years, the saxophonist and vocalist has served as an anchor for the Atlanta-based Uptown Entertainment Band, and he couldn't be happier.
"We probably play 100 dates a year, some years more and some years less," Dover said. "We primarily do wedding receptions and corporate functions. We haven't played in a nightclub in at least 10 years."
Dover and his colleagues - bassist Victor "Bass Man" Choates, vocalists Kenneth "KB" Brown and Marsha Dupree, keyboardist Steve Wilson, drummer Reginald Williams and guitarist Domingo Hipono - will provide the musical background for the "Art on the River" and dance on May 9 at the Porterdale Mill Lofts on the banks of the Yellow River.
Although the members of Uptown Entertainment are well-versed in a number of different musical styles, they'll be serving up the best of Motown and the soul hits of the 1970s and 1980s at "Art on the River," which is co-hosted by the Southern Heartland Art Guild and the Arts Association in Newton County.
"We always try to tailor the program for whatever event we're playing," Dover said. "At a wedding, you're always going to get requests, so we've got to be versatile and on our toes. Concerts and corporate functions often have themes, so we try to gear the music to the event.
"Last year, we played at a function for John Deere in Anniston, Ala., and while they wanted Motown and beach music, they also wanted some country music, so we learned some songs and everybody got cowboy hats. We always try to go the extra mile for our clients."