After more than 50 years, the Motown Sound remains as popular and enduring as it has ever been.
Nobody does Motown better than The Motown Experience, a group that sings, dances and harmonizes to enchant audience members from ages 8 to 80. The group is bringing its show "A Motown Christmas 2017" to the Lucas Theatre on Nov. 26.
Dance, sing, or just sit back (if you can keep still) and watch the show as they perform all of the greatest hits from the likes of The Temptations, The Miracles, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. There are flashy suits, singing and dancing, and a polished show.
After years of performing with The Miracles, Dave Finley is now part of The Motown Experience.
"It's very, very interesting, to put it mildly," Finley says. "We seem to really have a pretty close bond. That doesn't always happen in this business. We're like friends."
Most of the members have Motown experience.
"I was with The Miracles from 1978 until 2012, when Bobby Rogers died," Finley says. "It was a different lifestyle and the travel was off the hook.
"I sang with the Del-Vikings from 1972 to 1977, when I got with the Miracles," he says. "I had even recorded some material with them before the end came."
Finley's musical parents encouraged their son to sing.
"I was born in Winchester, Va., about 55 miles northwest of D.C.," he says. "But I spent my whole life in Michigan. We moved there when I was 8 or 9 in the '50s.
"I come from a musical family. My dad was in the Special Forces as a vocalist. My mother, my father and myself would sing the old standards in three-part harmony," Finley says. "It was enjoyable. They encouraged me."
Despite his success in music, Finley worked two careers.
"I retired from General Motors," he says. "I was able to do music because of the leniency of General Motors at the time and my want of doing both things. It worked out for me."
Singing with The Miracles was Finley's breakout moment, but he wouldn't say it came easy.
"My wife was often able to join me to see the world herself," he says. "But it wasn't a big break; it was a lot of hard work.
"You had to learn to sing and dance at the same time," Finley says. "You can't just jump off without being groomed."
At first, Finley wasn't hired by The Miracles.
"In 1976, Smokey left, and in 1977, Pete Moore also left," Finley says. "They auditioned 250 people nationwide.
"Initially, they told me I had the talent, but since I had three children, a wife and a mortgage, they told me after the interview they wanted someone who was single. I thanked them for letting me try.
"I was in the Army in Vietnam," Finley says. "I went to school to get a bachelor's degree in business."
But his musical career wasn't over.
"At the end of the second year, they got in touch and asked if I was still interested," Finley says. "I said I would be after the completion of school, and the rest is history.
"It was amazing, a shock, frightening in a lot of ways," he says. "I never looked at myself as being a world-class entertainer. My wife calls me rebellious, but I think I just have my own way."
Being in The Motown Experience is similar to performing back in the day.
"As far as singing, dancing, harmonizing, yes; in other ways, no," Finley says. "It's more like the Del-Vikings.
"The Miracles was one of the top groups at Motown Records," he says. "Motown pushed them more than other groups and put pressure on them to deliver. It was a job, it was hard work."
The show almost always sells out in Savannah.
"We've had more sell-outs and gotten more standing ovations than we ever thought we would," Finley says. "Even though the music is 50 years old, they love it. A lot of children know the words as well as I do."
For Finley, the best part is watching the audience react.
"Entertaining them and watching them stand up and clap at the end of the performance," he says. "To see that your work is appreciated and people think you're great. They've got to pay to see the show, and if they still appreciated it enough to stand up and clap, that says it all."
Of all the stops across the country, The Motown Experience says Savannah is a favorite.
"All of the guys look forward to Savannah," Finley says. "We go every year. All of us are familiar with the area.
"The guys always look forward to Savannah because of the restaurants along the waterfront and the weather," he says. "Not to mention how well the people treat them in Savannah. We come every year, and they're looking forward to it."
IF YOU GO
What: "A Motown Christmas"
When: 7 p.m. Nov. 26
Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.
Cost: $27, $37, $47
Info: savannahboxoffice.com, 912-525-5050