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Ms Mac and the Groovetones was born the summer of 2004 and has grown to become one of the most popular classic rock and R&B bands in the Four States area.
Front and center is Laura “Ms Mac” McChristian. The Rock Diva started her preparations for a career in music as a young child studying piano and sax. At 16, her love of rock brought her to her signature instrument—the bass guitar. Her education continued at Henderson State University where she added clarinet, flute, and marimba to her list of instruments while earning her degree in music education. She then added a masters in music education from the University of Northern Colorado and then her PhD in Education from Northcentral University. Dr. McChristian, a professor with the University of Arkansas, was nominated for NCU’s Dissertation of the Year for her thesis.
Ms Mac started her performance career in college playing a variety of shows with several bands and eventually spending two summers at Magic Springs as a performer and band leader playing up to seven shows a day. After college, she served as orchestra musician for musicals and operas. When she teamed up with Don, they performed as a duo at benefits and festivals laying the groundwork for what would eventually develop into Ms Mac and the Groovetones. Voted the #1 Rock Female in Arkansas in 2012 for her ability to belt out everything from sweet tender ballads to teeth-rattling hair metal, Ms Mac has dominated the regional music scene for the past nine years.
ACM award-winning and Grammy-nominated Don Riddle started his career in the music industry as a national touring rhythm guitarist and vocalist backing up artists such as Mel McDaniel, Jack Green, Tammy Wynette, and most prominently, Jimmy Buffett in the Coral Reefer Band. Don's music career eventually moved behind the scenes with the establishment of his own sound, stage and lighting company which has provided services for hundreds of successful concert events all across the country. In addition to these talents, Don charms the audience singing his own brand of blue-eyed soul and uses his years of training and experience to bring the arrangements and harmonies of the band's performances to a whole other level.
One of the most formidable figures of the Texarkana music scene is guitarist Ted Stone. Frontman of the popular blues band Deacon Dark and former vice-president of the Texarkana Blues Society, Ted brings his own brand of bluesy rock to the Groovetones with astonishing six-string pyrotechnics and continues to be the epitome of guitar virtuosity on the local music scene.
An original Groovetone, guitarist and vocalist Kirt Connor, also a member of the Midnight Hurricanes, is a national finalist for the Colgate Country Showdown and attended Henderson State University playing for the jazz ensemble NuFusion.
The most recent addition to the Groovetones is bassist Glenn “SmittyG” Smith, also a former member of Deacon Dark. He shares bass duties with Ms Mac allowing her to expand her performance fronting the band and helps keep the Groovetones’ foundation rock solid.
Present at the Groovetones' first performance in 2004 and continuing to lay down the best groove around is drummer Tony “Big Bang” Hargrove. Tony, also an employee of the University of Arkansas, has been well-known as the most versatile timekeeper around since his days with Guns-4-Hire, TripZen, and Nemesis.
The band performs in various local venues such as Fat Jack’s and La Fogata in Texarkana. Other venues include Abendigo’s Restaurant in Oklahoma, and the prestigious Peabody Hotel in Little Rock. They are a featured artist at several festivals including Star City’s StarDaze, Killeen’s FreedomFest, Mena’s Lum & Abner Days, Warren’s Pink Tomato Festival, Longview’s Alleyfest, and the Eldorado Music Festival. They have opened for Shenandoah, the Little River Band, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and have performed with many other national and regional acts. They also perform for private functions of any kind, and have supported organizations such as Relay for Life and CASA. The band has been the featured artist for the local USMC Unit’s Toys for Tots Drive since 2008. In 2006 and 2007, the band headlined for the BWI Annual Convention at Independence Square in Shreveport, Louisiana. Ms Mac and the Groovtones has performed for the Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council at Rockin’ The ArtSpark, the 2009 Four States Fair, and the inaugural State Line Music Festival. The band has also been featured in publications such as the Texarkana Gazette and HER Magazine.
Ms Mac and the Groovetones continue to be West L.A.’s best Rhythm & Groove Band!