BERRIEN SPRINGS — It’s been more than 30 years since The Oak Ridge Boys last graced the stage of the Berrien County Youth Fair.
That will change when they return Aug. 19 to headline the fair’s grandstand entertainment, youth fair organizers recently announced in a news release.
The country music act, which has had dozens of country hits over its more than 50-year career, has earned Grammy, Dove, CMA, and ACM awards and garnered a host of other industry and fan accolades.
The Oak Ridge Boys performed at the fair in 1973, 1986 and 1988, and at the Cass County fair in 1992 and the Van Buren County fair in 2003. The group is made up of lead singer Duane Allen, bass Richard Sterban, tenor Joe Bonsall and baritone William Lee Golden.
While the band has gone through changes in performers and names over the decades, the group members are still enthusiastic about the legacy they’ve left in country music.
“When I go on stage, I get the same feeling I had the first time I sang with The Oak Ridge Boys,” Allen said in the release. “This is the only job I’ve ever wanted to have.”
Sterban, who was a fan of the band before he became a member, said he’s still a fan of the group today.
“Being in The Oak Ridge Boys is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream,” he said.
The Oak Ridge Boys have shown off their four-part harmonies in songs like “Elvira,” as well as “Bobbie Sue,” “Dream On,” “Thank God For Kids,” “American Made,” “I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes,” “Fancy Free,” “Gonna Take A Lot of River,” and more.
“We always look for songs that have lasting value and that are uplifting,” Allen said. “You don’t hear us singing ‘cheating’ or ‘drinking’ songs but ‘loving’ songs, because we think that will last. We also don’t put music in categories, except for ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ When we get through with it, it’s probably going to sound like an Oak Ridge Boys song no matter what it is.”
The concert begins at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at the fair’s Grandstand. Tickets are on sale now for $12, $27 and $38. They can be bought over the phone at (269) 473-1500 or in person at the fair office, 9122 U.S. Hwy 31, Berrien Springs, between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. They can also be bought online at www. bcyf.org.
The 2020 Berrien County Youth Fair, which is celebrating 75 years this year, will run Aug. 17-22.