Nikiski singer gets opening spot for Brooks and Dunn

Posted: Thursday, September 07, 2000

She is at it again.

Suzette Graham and company will provide the opening act for country music duo Brooks and Dunn on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

Graham, along with Lacy Oliva as her backup singer and three dancers, will entertain the crowd for 30 minutes with cover tunes, a 1970s medley and three original songs written by Graham.

The screaming, clapping and adulation set the mood for the her shows.

"It is the most fulfilling 30 minutes," she said.

"Suzette and Company," as they often refer to themselves, have practiced daily for the concert since learning of the upcoming show.

Graham, a Nikiski resident, has opened for Vince Gill and Trace Adkins in Alaska, sang with many artists and has been invited to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Wednesday will mark Oliva's third concert with Graham.

"I let her do all the worrying, so I can do all the fun stuff," she said.

While Graham and Oliva belt out the music, dancers Lindsey Pritchard, Cara Mazurek and Megan Mazurek of the Nikiski High School Dance Troupe will perform moves they choreographed, with the help of Darcy Swanson. The girls have more than 10 years combined dancing experience.

"We just add the touch," Cara Mazurek said.

The girls beamed with excitement while explaining the concert is one of those dream-come-true moments.

"What an opportunity for them," Graham said.

The group agreed the most exciting part of the experience is being in front of the crowd, and meeting Brooks and Dunn.

To get ready for a show, Graham said she must mentally rehearse every step. She said she goes through all phases of the concert, step-by-step, starting with walking onto the stage, to rehearsing all the jokes and songs and exiting the stage.

"I have to know here, (pointing to her head) what's going to happen," Graham said.

This concert is different because she has area businesses sponsoring her trip to Anchorage.

This concert is not the only thing in the works for Graham. She has been recording a country album, locally, that is due out by the end of October, about the same time she and her family are uprooting and moving to Nashville to further her career.

Graham said she hopes as many central Kenai Peninsula residents attend the concert as possible.

"We really need Kenai support to pull this off," she said.

When the show is finished and the lights go down, the excitement of the moment fades with the applause.

"The next day, you don't have have anything to do, but it is worth it," Oliva said.

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