By Seva May

For 182 years, Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for musical excellence as the aspirational destination for the world’s finest artists.

For Shreveport native, Rocky Maddox, performing at Carnegie Hall is an experience that words can hardly do justice. It’s a moment that surely must have filled him with wonder, awe, and a deep sense of privilege. To have the opportunity to grace the stage of such an iconic venue is nothing short of incredible.

The feeling began to build long before he stepped onto the stage. The anticipation, the nerves, and the excitement all intertwined as he prepared to share his craft with an audience that appreciates artistry at its finest.

“The acoustics in the theatre are incredible.  For me, when I’m singing a song – the right song, in the right place – it feels like I’m flying,” describes Rocky.  The over 2800-seat hall has four balconies. From the bottom row all the way to the top of the fourth balcony, the acoustics embrace every note, enhancing every sound in ways that makes the heart soar. 

Rocky began singing in front of an audience at the age of 13 when his music minister encouraged him to sing a solo at church.  Off he trotted to Christian Life Tapes and Books over on Jewella Avenue where he selected “He’s Still Working on Me” for his very first performance. 

That’s all it took.  He had found his calling.  From that moment on, Rocky has shared his music with us at church and on local stages.

A natural comedic actor, Rocky has shined in the roles of Harold Hill in “The Music Man,” Gomez in “The Addam’s Family,” and Cosmé McMoon in “Souvenir” just to name a few. 

He landed at Carnegie Hall because of a lifelong friendship with two, equally talented people:  Reagan Courtney and Cynthia Clawson.  Rocky was a student at Louisiana Tech and decided to attend Temple Baptist in Ruston.  Not knowing his way around the church, he opened a door, stepped in, and found himself face-to-face with Miss Clawson (who was there to perform a concert).  The door swung shut and they were locked in.  An instant friendship ensued.  Clawson’s husband, Reagan Courtney was from Ruston and had always told Rocky that one day he was going to put him in one of his musicals.  Reagan had written a Christian musical in 1973 that would become the largest-selling Christian musical of all time.  Churches from all over the world have presented “Celebrate Life” and this year marked its 50th Anniversary.  Where would you perform such a legendary musical?  Why, at the legendary Carnegie Hall, of course.  

Rocky had to be resuscitated when he was asked to play the role of the Apostle John. At Carnegie Hall on June 24, 2023.

One might say that performing at Carnegie Hall is not just a highlight of a career; it’s an unforgettable milestone in life. For Rocky, was an experience that leaves an indelible mark on his soul – a reminder of what it means to be truly alive, connected through music and shared emotions. He is still on cloud nine. “I must say this whole thing has been one of the great honors of my life.  It means so much because of the honor it brought to my dear friends, the kindness it has shown me as an artist, and, most importantly, because of the message that “Celebrate Life” has beautifully communicated for over 50 years about the love of Jesus.”

To perform on that renowned stage is both a privilege and an honor – one that forever changes how you perceive yourself as an artist. It becomes a touchstone for future endeavors, reminding you of what is possible when passion meets opportunity.

In short, performing at Carnegie Hall is like stepping into a realm where dreams become reality – where music transcends time and space, leaving both performer and audience forever transformed by its magic.  Carnegie Hall truly lives up to its signature slogan:  Bringing the Arts to Life!