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Gulf Coast Gala
News Release
Monday, March 03, 2008

The Oak Ridge Boys will headline Gulf Coast Gala

The country music supergroup The Oak Ridge Boys will be the featured entertainment at the fifth annual "Gulf Coast Gala" on Saturday, April 28, in the Carl Parker Center at Lamar State College-Port Arthur.

The annual black-tie gala debuted in 2005 as a way to benefit cultural and visual arts at the Museum of the Gulf Coast, and to provide support for the college's "Discovery" youth program, Alumni Fund, athletic scholarships, musical and theatrical productions  and a variety of special projects, such as Lamar State's July 4 celebration and the Regional Citizen Bee.

"This is going to be a fabulous evening; a first-class event - great food, good service and dynamite entertainment by one of America's best known vocal groups," said Dr. Sam Monroe, president of Lamar State-PA. "This event, which is co-sponsored by the Port Arthur Higher Education Foundation, will benefit many programs that enhance career potential, broaden intellectual horizons and enrich the quality of life for people in our area."

The Oak Ridge Boys - baritones Duane Allen and William Lee Golden, tenor Joe Bonsall and bass Richard Sterban - have been reaching reach across the spectrum of America's musical landscape for three decades with hits records in the country, gospel and pop music fields.

During those more than 30 years, the quartet accumulated 37 hit records, including more than a dozen No. 1 singles, 10 gold records, three platinum records and one double-platinum album.

They also earned five Grammy Awards, five Dove Awards, four Country Music Association Awards, four Academy of County Music Awards, one American Music Award. The Oaks also were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Oak Ridge Boys can trace their roots back to 1943, when the original Oak Ridge Quartet, based in Knoxville, TN, started singing gospel music in nearby Oak Ridge, where the atomic bomb was being developed.

The group began regular appearances at the Grand Ole Opry in fall of 1945.

After nine gospel albums, the group released its first LP as the Oak Ridge Boys in 1963.

By the late 1960s, more than 30 members had come and gone and the quartet included Allen and Golden. Sterban joined in 1972, and Bonsall came the next year.
Golden left in 1987 and was replaced by Steve Sanders, the groups' guitar player.

Sanders left in 1995 and Golden returned.

The group's sound began to change in the mid-1970s as they released albums containing more country songs, such as the title cut of their 1977 "The Y'all Come Back Saloon," which was a Top 5 single.

The Oaks also hit the top of the charts with songs like "You're the One," "I'll Be True to You," "Leavin' Louisiana in the Broad Daylight," "Tryin' to Love Two Women," "Elvira," "Everyday," "Bobbie Sue," "Thank God for Kids," "American Made," "I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes," "Fancy Free," "Gonna Take a River," "Little Things," "Make My Life with You" and "Touch a Hand, Make a Friend."

They also hit No. 1 with "It Takes a Little Rain," "This Crazy Love," "Gonna Take a Lot of River" and "No Matter How High," giving them a total of 16 career country chart-toppers and 29 Top 10 hits.

The audience at the gala will hear all of The Oaks' greatest hits in addition to some future hits off their newest album, "Front Row Seats."

"Instead of assembling another greatest hits package, we were fired up about recording a new country album," Duane Allen said. "This is all cutting edge, in-your-face, very aggressive country music."

William Lee Golden said the group is just as enthusiastic about recording today as they ever were.

"It's about loving the music and loving to sing," Golden said. "We all love harmony. That's what The Oak Ridge Boys are about is harmony.

Finding this fresh new material has been really refreshing for us. This is some of the most exciting music we've done in years."

The "Gulf Coast Gala" includes dinner and entertainment in the Carl A. Parker Center, 1800 Lakeshore Drive on the Lamar-Port Arthur campus. The event begins with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by dinner at 7 p.m., followed by The Oak Ridge Boys.

Four levels of sponsorships are available. Individual tickets are $125 per person.
Tickets and sponsorships are available from Carol Wommack in the Office of the President at Lamar-Port Arthur.

For tickets or information, call 984-6101.

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