Otis Redding’s teammate has high hopes for the performing arts center

Newton Collier remembers playing trumpet at the Apollo Theater with Redding and his mentor. He wants more young musicians to have the same experiences.

MACON, Ga. — The Otis Redding Foundation is celebrating the next steps in building the Otis Redding Center for the Arts after a “yes” vote by the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Board.

Last week, the foundation inaugurated the new center for the performing arts. Newton Collier played trumpet alongside Redding, and he has a lot of stories.

“The only thing I ever heard was, ‘If you’re playing Apollo, you better be good, or you better know a good joke afterwards, because if you’re wrong, they’re on you like white on rice’.” he recalled.

Collier is from Macon and he has more stories, but he told us he couldn’t share them all. He grew up in Tindall Heights right across from the practice site of Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers.

“I could always listen to them play,” he recalls.

One of the band members mentored him on the trumpet. A few years later, there he was, playing the Apollo with his mentor and the King of Soul: Otis Redding.

Collier wants more young musicians to have the same experience. He hopes they get that at the Redding Center.

“It’s the future. The future is here, because it’s in these kids trying to play here,” Collier said.

The “future” has plenty of educational experiences for students, including practice rooms, recording studios, and a small amphitheater for live performances.

“With this institution coming in and the foundation, that’s what we need. That’s what Macon needs. It’ll bring more kids together,” Collier said.

They plan to open in late 2023.