In 1969, at age 13, Sanders joined a Southern gospel quartet playing drums and recorded 3 albums. Then in 1974, at age 18, Sanders joined a contemporary Christian group, The New Life Singers, to play drums. This allowed him the opportunity to travel to Washington DC, the Bahamas and just about everywhere in between. The group disbanded about 5 years later, but this began his passion for music and the stage!
In 1978, Sanders married the former Ginger Anderson of Mobile and they have two children, Chad, and Amanda and 5 grandchildren.
In 1994, during Sanders’s employment with International Paper he began doing freelance entertainment management and promotions. He began working with Jayson Promotions out of Nashville, TN obtaining entertainment for the Greater Gulf State Fair in Mobile, AL. Some of the shows he coordinated were Tim McGraw, Alabama, Kansas, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, Billy Ray Cyrus, and John Michael Montgomery. He also coordinated shows for Jayson Promotions at the Choctaw Indian Fair in Philadelphia, MS during this time. Sanders has also worked as a Talent Consultant for Market Street Festival in Columbus, Ms – South MS Fair in Laurel, Ms and Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo in Opp, AL.
With more than a decade of operational and management experience, Allen Sanders has overseen 2 historic theatre renovations and in 2007 the new construction of an 1,800-seat theatre designed for traveling Broadway style shows and other entertainment. He began his journey of venue manager in 2000, after working for 23 years at the Mobile, AL based International Paper Company where he was laid off due to the closing of the Mobile plant in 1999. He then went to work for the city of Hattiesburg, Miss, as the Director of Cultural Affairs where he was responsible for oversight of eight buildings. These included the Hattiesburg Saenger Theatre, which was then in the middle of a $3.5 million restoration finished in November 2000. Sanders booked major acts to play at the venue including Classical Concerts, Comedy, Plays and Vaudeville shows.
Being a Mobile native, the Centre for the Living Arts from Mobile, AL came calling for Allen to join their team and hired him as the General Manager of the Mobile Saenger Theatre in 2001. From June 2004 through January 2005, the Saenger was closed for a $7 million renovation effort which Sanders led. Sanders booked major acts to play at the venue including Alison Krauss and Union Station, Merle Haggard, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Sinbad, and Willie Nelson, while reducing its deficit by more than $300,000 in less than 3 years and turned a profit the following 2 years.
In March 2007 Sanders accepted the role of the General Manager of the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre in Montgomery, AL at the Renaissance Hotel and Spa in downtown Montgomery. Here he has and continues to manage the 1,800 seats (MPAC). Sanders has booked major acts to play at the venue including 1st run Broadway plays (i.e., Jesus Christ Superstar, Hairspray, The Color Purple, Cirque Dreams), Sanders adds, “This is not an 8-to-5 job, the hours are long and I am lucky that my wife, Ginger, is so supportive of my career. There is simply no other place I’d rather be! “
Artist that Allen has worked with and brought them to the State of Alabama to perform:
Alice Cooper – B.B. King – The Oak Ridge Boys – Jerry Springer
Jeff Foxworthy – ZZ Top – Bob Dylan – Kenny Rogers
Jason Isbell + the 400 Unit – Lynyrd Skynyrd – Patti LaBelle
Huey Lewis +the News – STYX – The Commodores – Mavis Staples
Bonnie Raitt – Keb Mo – Smoky Robinson – Boston – Chicago
Randy Travis – Jamey Johnson – Willie Nelson – Merle Haggard
Crosby, Stills and Nash – Peter Frampton – George Jones
Alvin Ailey Dance Company – Larry the Cable Guy – Tim McGraw
Don Felder (formerly of the Eagles) – The Doobie Brothers