Music News Nashville by Rocket
Christmas is such a special time of year, and made even more so by the legendary Oak Ridge Boys who kicked off their 2013 Christmas Time’s A-Coming Tour at the Crystal Grand Theatre in Wisconsin Dells, WI. In their 24th season taking the Christmas Tour on the road, the Oaks performed their timeless hits as well as favorite Christmas songs for the sold-out audience.
The Oak Ridge Boys started out in the 1940′s as a Gospel quartet. The current Oak Ridge Boys configuration of Duane Allen (lead), Joe Bonsall (tenor), William Lee Golden (baritone) and Richard Sterban (bass), have been together since the 1960′s and 70′s and are responsible for the group’s most famous songs, many of which are performed as part of the Christmas tour.
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Legendary award-winning, hit-making group celebrate 24th Anniversary of Christmas Tour
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (November 11, 2013) – Grammy Award-winning music legends The Oak Ridge Boys are set to celebrate the 24th Anniversary of their annual Christmas Tour in 2013 with a festive show featuring live performances of holiday classics and their biggest hits. Additionally, while Richard Sterban, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, and Joe Bonsall are celebrating their 40th Anniversary of The Oak Ridge Boys, they have teamed with Compassion International as the official sponsor of the “Christmas Time’s a Comin’” Tour.
Sherman Halsey, age 56, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday, October 29, at his home in Nashville.
The son of Oak Ridge Boys longtime manager, Jim Halsey, Sherman began apprenticing in the entertainment industry at the age of thirteen. He would eventually establish a prestigious career in television and film, producing and directing television shows and music videos for numerous entertainers, including The Oak Ridge Boys, Tim McGraw, and Dwight Yoakum.
Sherman’s work greatly impacted The Oak Ridge Boys film and video catalog. He produced and directed The Oak Ridge Boys Live from Las Vegas series for The Nashville Network, multiple shows on behalf of the Feed the Children organization, and a number of music videos for the Oaks. His filmed version of “G.I. Joe and Lillie” has received more than five million hits on YouTube to date.
“Sherman produced almost all of the specials the Oaks have done over the past two decades,” said ORB lead singer Duane Allen. “He produced our first video, for a song called “Easy.” In fact, he was so far ahead of the market at that time there were no video shows on American television, so we broke the song in Australia. Through the years Sherman became among the elite in producing award-winning videos for many major artists in the music industry.
“I am at a loss for words to express the shock we Oak Ridge Boys, our staff, band, and crew are feeling. There is a huge hole left in our hearts today.”
We extend our sincere condolences, prayers, and support to the Halsey family. Sherman will be greatly missed.
Click HERE to read Sherman’s Legacy.com obituary.
A review by Tommy Jackson
For two-plus glorious hours, a big crowd at the Oak Ridge Boys Theater seemed oblivious to Obamacare, government shutdowns, Syrian weapons of mass destruction, and any other of the various gloom and doom stories that play nightly in our living rooms. The stark contrast to the above was a concert by America’s ambassadors on behalf of God, country and family at the theater that carries their name in Branson.
The concert was pure magic, but then you knew that going in. As I listened to these wonderful songs, I could see the universal smiles and nods of approval from all across the auditorium. “These are the people these songs are about,” I thought. The songs are the same kind of songs that have been sung around the family piano or else the Sunday afternoon church picnic from generation to generation. The Oak Ridge Boys’ message is the same as getting a warm hug from your grandchild, checking on the elderly neighbor down the street or feeling a lump in your throat and your eyes tearing up when the Colors are presented. It’s a great-grandmother in the nursing home holding the infant that bears her name. It’s the elderly veteran saluting the Flag from his wheelchair. It’s the police officer, firefighter, or soldier sacrificing their own lives in order that others might survive.
This group, which has now been together for more than 40 years, has that rare knack of making the audience feel special and that the performance is aimed right at them. How do the Oaks accomplish such a feat? It’s easy actually, because, to us, an Oak Ridge Boys’ performance is as sincere and genuine as it gets. It’s like a son scoring the winning touchdown for the high school team on Friday night and being cheered by thousands, but at the after church meal on Sunday, he’s just a part of the family. That’s how it is with The Oaks. They’re out front, sure, but to them and to the audiences that understand and love them, they are just a part of the family. Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban could just as easily be sitting by you at the dinner table talking baseball as they are playing for millions the world over. People leave an Oak Ridge Boys show happy. Of course, I don’t mean “happy” that it’s over, but instead “happy” and “content” the way an excellent meal leaves you. It’s a warm, comfortable feeling.
Longtime fans of The Oak Ridge Boys will remember Mark Ellerbee playing drums for the group from 1969-1981. Mark was also a notable songwriter, vocalist, and recording artist. As a vocalist, he popularized the 1970s contemporary Christian hit I Wish We’d All Been Ready. Mark, along with other former members of the Oaks’ band, also recorded several albums, including Rockland Road, released in 1976 and Planet Time, released in 1977.
Our hearts and prayers are extended to Mark's family.
Mark is pictured here (bottom rung/right) on The Oak Ridge Boys Sky High album, released by Columbia Records in 1975.
Click HERE to read Mark's obituary
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