Five time Grammy winners and Country Music Hall of Famers The Oak Ridge Boys will perform in the Benson Auditorium on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. thanks to Women for Harding, an organization that provides need-based scholarships for freshmen at Harding.
“They’ve been around for a while, and their music is very appealing to an older crowd,” Liz Howell, Vice President of Alumni/Parent Relations and member of Women for Harding said. “Often times with bands like this that have been around so long, there are people who imitate them … We have the real ones. These are the original Oak Ridge Boys, so it is a big deal for those of us who are fans.”
According to Howell, Al Zar, the promotions manager for the event, invited the organization to host the concert in October of last year. She also said that they have sold over two thousand tickets so far, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit scholarships at Harding.
“There’s been lots of advertising on TV and radio,” Howell said. “So Women for Harding has been strengthened as a brand and … that gives us more exposure to people who would want to be involved and donate for scholarships.”
Howell said many tickets were bought as gifts for loved ones. For example, she heard of a woman surprising her mother with tickets because The Oak Ridge Boys were her mother’s first concert. For junior Paige Cushman, the concert was an opportunity to experience music that she said is simply classic.
“(My grandpa) was a big fan of classic, old school country music, and he’d put it on before church every morning,” Cushman said. “Those were just the songs of Sunday morning to us. It was just kind of his happy place.”
Cushman said that although she doesn’t know many of their songs, she is looking forward to sharing the concert with her father, and hopes other students take the opportunity to attend as well.
“It’s not really my favorite type of music, but I think it will be a good experience,” Cushman said. “I think that a lot of Harding students probably don’t know how influential they’ve been in the past. It’s a big deal that they’re coming here.”
Junior Macy Pate said she also grew up listening to The Oak Ridge Boys with her father and has bought tickets to the concert as a birthday gift for him.
“I’m happy that this opportunity came about because buying gifts for a guy who seems to have everything isn’t easy,” Pate said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him hear all of the songs I grew up listening to with him live. I think he’ll enjoy it.”
For students, tickets are available for $10 in the Alumni office. For those who are not students, tickets can be purchased for $26 or $36 at hardingtickets.com or by calling 501-279-5777.
“I always dreamed of doing a concert like this, and we’ve been very fortunate to get to do it,” Howell said. “I’m just a country girl from southwest Arkansas so this is a really big thing for me to get to be involved in.”