Salisbury resident and popular “American Idol” contestant Jay Copeland performed with the band Earth, Wind & Fire on the reunion show Sunday night, bringing the audience to its feet as they applauded and danced.
The 23-year-old Salisbury University native has gained favor since first auditioning for “Idol” in early spring and has been invited to present a concert in Downtown Salisbury next month, but on Sunday evening he was in the spotlight, appearing to be having the proverbial time of his life.
“Do it, Jay,” one of the band members called, as Copeland – dressed in a black T-shirt, striped blazer with black fringe and black leather pants, with gold chains around his neck – rocked like he belonged with the legendary band as the musicians sang a medley of hits.
Judge Lionel Richie was smiling and nodding and as the performance ended Copeland hugged the band members.
Within seconds, Facebook comments were posted supporting him and calling for fans to vote for him to perform live on the TV show “Live With Kelly and Ryan.” Co-host Ryan Seacrest also hosts “American Idol.”
Grace Foxwell Murdock, known as Salisbury’s Secretary of Kindness, and who has made T-shirts promoting Copeland, posted a video of him singing Sunday evening with the comment, “Can’t get enough. Thank you, Jay Copeland, for all your talent and hard work. We are all so proud of you.”
“Spectacular!” another fan posted.
Others wrote, “It’s not just his fabulous voice but also his joy that makes him special,” “Jay is headed for a huge career. His talent can’t be ignored,” “A true class act performance,” and “This young man has a lot of talent. He should go far.”
In Salisbury, Copeland will present the free, family-friendly concert at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 3, at the intersection of Times Square and South Division Street Downtown.
Copeland will perform “Idol” hits and other favorites, live on an outdoor stage used for the National Folk Festival.
The stage and viewing area will be held at the intersection of Times Square and South Division Street, on the hillside where the TidalHealth Stage is set up for the Folk Festival.
Gates will open at 6 p.m. and food trucks will be there selling snacks and sandwiches. In the event of rain, the performance will move to Maggs Gym on the Salisbury University campus. Updates will be posted on the city of Salisbury’s Facebook page.
“Our community partners and I are so proud of everything that Jay has accomplished, both here at home and as an ‘American Idol’ contestant,” Mayor Jake Day said.
“This event is a representation of the power that the arts have to bring together a community. We are excited to have the opportunity to host Jay for his first solo performance in this new stage of his career.”
The show will be a standing-room-only venue, with a few seats available. Guests should take chairs or blankets.
Parking will be in Lot 1 or in the parking garage, both on Circle Avenue across from the Wicomico County Library. South Division Street will be closed between Main and East Carroll streets to allow guests to safely walk from their cars to the show.
“It should come as no surprise that our community partners are answering the bell to make this free celebration concert a reality,” Mike Dunn, President and CEO of the Greater Salisbury Committee, said.
“The second the Copeland family contacted us last week, the planning and fundraising began. There has been an overwhelming response,” Dunn said. “It’s time to celebrate our hometown American Idol, James M. Bennett and Salisbury University graduate Jay Copeland.”