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Oak Ridge Boys perform at The Maryland Theatre

May 13, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

The Mother's Day celebration started a little early for Vivian Knick Saturday afternoon, and The Oak Ridge Boys were a big part of it.

"I just love them," Knick said as she enjoyed the first of two well-attended concerts by the veteran group at The Maryland Theatre on Saturday.

Flanking her throughout the tuneful tour de force, were her daughters Judy Slate, Carol McCreath and Beverly Suder, all fans themselves. They clapped, sang along with some old favorites and then pushed their hands upwards, palms raised.

"That means we're raising the roof because they are so good," Slate said.

After eight years of not recording any major albums, the four-member band released "Voices" in July 1999. Richard Sterban, bass singer, said the project was a chance for the group to show the world it is still progressing musically.

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No one had to convince Hagerstonian Jenny Tysen of that fact.

"Listen to those full-bodied voices ... this is true talent, not like the enhanced videos you see today," Tysen said as she enjoyed Saturday's concert.

Sterban, lead singer Duane Allen, tenor Joe Bonsall and baritone William Lee Golden have been together since the early 1970s. They range in age from 51 to 61.

"Our audience has aged along with us," Sterban said in a telephone interview earlier this week from Branson, Mo.

And, indeed, the predominant hair color in the audience Saturday was gray ... with some exceptions.

Tysen was one of the younger crowd.

"I've loved them since I was a child," she said, estimating that she has seen the group in concert about 12 times.

"They never grow old," Tysen said.

Their ability to touch their audience was literal Saturday as they sang "Reach Out and Take A Hand" and roamed freely through the seats, meeting their fans.

The Oak Ridge Boys have created 10 gold and three platinum albums and earned Grammy, Dove, Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards.

No strangers to The Maryland Theatre, The Oak Ridge Boys seemed pleased to be back on the historic stage again.

"It's just great to be back in Maryland," Golden said. "I feel like singing all day."

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