Valley News -

By Tony Ault
Staff Writer 

Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation's 2019 Summer Concert Series ends

Roger Hegyi, as the 'True Willie,' celebrates Willie Nelson at the Santa Rosa Plateau Reserve


Last updated 8/16/2019 at 12:55am

Tony Ault photo

Roger Hegyi, the leader of the "True Willie" tribute band to country singer Willie Nelson, sings at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Center's 2019 Summer Concert Series, Saturday, Aug. 10.

Wearing a red bandana and a grisly beard and carrying a old guitar, a Willie Nelson lookalike appeared at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve Saturday, Aug. 10.

Roger Hegyi, or better known as "True Willie," from the tribute band walked down the center aisle of the outdoor stage venue at the reserve for the final Santa Rosa Plateau Plateau Educational Foundation 2019 Concert Series.

Hegyi and his band were a hit at the plateau's benefit concert, anchoring a gala concert series and art exhibition benefiting the foundation in its effort to bring thousands of local elementary school students to the reserve each school year to teach them how to become good stewards of nature surrounding them.

Hegyi, who is almost a spitting image of the country star, performed with his band that evening, including Johnny Higgins on keyboard, David Terry on drums, Mike Fleetwood on rhythm guitar and Cliff Saunders on bass, as they kept the audience delighted with Willie Nelson's top hits, "On the Road Again," Whiskey River" and "Your Always on My Mind."

His tongue and cheek humor, not unlike the real Willie, got the audience laughing with what he suggested was a national anthem, "It's all goin to pot."

A mid-performance technical problem with the loudspeakers didn't hinder Hegyi who took a break, walking out into the crowd shaking hands and offering photo opportunities to attendees that evening.

As the sun set over the plateau, the True Willie band's music echoed over the reserve with songs from other stars like the "Outlaws" and well-known traditional country singers, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings.

Tony Ault photo

Roger Hegyi, dressed in western clothes as the True Willie, a tribute to Willie Nelson, delights little Rylie Petruesca, her grandmother Robin Armcruster and family with a person-to-person visit during a break in the concert at the Santa Rosa Plateau.

The SRPNEF Foundation True Willie concert was sponsored by Barbara Bowers Cutting Edge Residential Realty, the Plateau Vineyards and Garage Brewing Co. who offered souvenirs and refreshments to the concert goers.

The art show featured 31 artists with their finely crafted pottery, paintings, photographs and jewelry creations on display in the SRPER Visitors Center, 39400 Clinton Keith Road in Murrieta, with a share of the sales going to foundation programs.

Ginger Greaves, executive director of SRPNEF, announced that the tentative 2020 Summer Concert series will feature The Bruce in the USA, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band, July 4; The Garth Guy, tribute to Garth Brooks band, July 11; Queen Nation, tribute to Queen, July 18; Motown Magic band, tribute to the Temptations, July 25; Huey Lewis and the News tribute band, Aug.1, and The True Willie, Aug. 8, 2020.

The annual SRPNEF 2020 Summer Concert Series may have a few sponsorship opportunities left. See the foundation webpage at for sponsorships and membership information.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at [email protected]


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