A Johnston County family recently paid tribute to a dear family member while enjoying the music she loved at The Clayton Center in downtown Clayton.
The Langston family of Bentonville gathered for the September 30 concert – Twitty & Lynn: A Salute to Conway and Loretta – in honor of Rose (Roz) Langston Jackson, their sister, aunt and friend. Jackson, a devoted Conway Twitty fan, passed away on October 11, 2001.
Steven Langston, Cultural Arts Director for The Clayton Center and the Town of Clayton, booked the Twitty and Lynn tribute show, which features the grandchildren of the country music duo – Tre Twitty and Tayla Lynn. He knew that the music would appeal to The Clayton Center audience in general—it turned out to be a sold-out show—and he knew that his family members would welcome the chance to enjoy the music that Rose loved.
“We have missed her tremendously over the years, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for the family to get together and reminisce about the good times we shared with Rose,” he said.
So Langston invited the family to come to the show. More than 20 seats were sold to family members, with 16 of those purchased as a group in the first four rows just to the left of the stage. One of those seats was singled out in honor of Rose and left empty, draped only with a black cloth and adorned with a single red rose.
The tribute caught the attention of Tre Twitty, who paused in the middle of the show to inquire about the memorial seat.
Twitty told the story on the Twitty & Lynn Facebook page.
“Miss Loretta always said “Country music is about family. With Tayla and I doing the ‘Salute to Conway & Loretta’ show the past few years, I’m starting to understand exactly what she meant by that.
“Recently in Clayton, North Carolina, a family of 16 bought all the tickets on the first few rows…They left one seat vacant, however, and placed a single rose upon it. I noticed this and inquired about the gesture. A nice woman came up to the stage and brought me the rose and explained that her sister was named Rose and that she was the biggest Conway Twitty fan of all time.”
She had actually passed away before Poppy did, and they would all go see him every year until he passed in honor of her. Now they were all there to see us to keep the tradition alive.”
The woman who approached the stage was Gayle Smith, of Knightdale. A few other family members gathered around Smith as Twitty held the flower and sang “The Rose” in honor of their beloved Rose.
He wrote, “It was such a powerful moment that represents what the music of Conway and Loretta means to people. Not only Conway and Loretta, but traditional country music as a whole. After the song was over I asked the woman if she wanted the flower back. To which she replied “Nah, you can have it. I love my sister but I hate roses … You got it right Miss Loretta….Country Music is most definitely about FAMILY.”