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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kings Prairie crowd enjoys rousing performances

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Performers at the Kings Prairie concert are shown above closing the event with "I'll Fly Away." Singing are, from left, were Peggy O'Rourke and Margaret Lingerfelt from Country Sunshine; Bella Coleman and Janie Blanchard from the Granny Chicks; Connie Moser; Joe Johnson; Al Brumley Jr.; Duke Mason; Bob Mason, Rex Lingerfelt and Forrest Enlow with Country Sunshine. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]]
Perfect weather conditions combined with three hours of music to make the 10th annual Kings Prairie benefit concert last Saturday a full and satisfying event. More than 225 people gathered on the grounds of the historic Kings Prairie schoolhouse for music and refreshments to help support the rural Monett community center.

Organizer and master of ceremonies Al Brumley Jr. opened the show with "Turn The Radio On," one of the best known songs of his father, Albert E. Brumley. Mary Thomas, from Neosho, an unannounced singer, followed with the gospel song "One Less Stone" and hymn "He Touched Me."

Country Sunshine next took the stage on the lawn beside the schoolhouse. Headed by veteran performer Rex Lingerfelt, the band, wearing classic cowboy show garb, included Lingerfelt's daughter, Peggy O'Rourke on keyboards, wife, Margaret, on vocals, Forrest Enlow on guitar and Bob Mason on steel guitar.

Playing for 50 minutes, Country Sunshine played selections that included Bob Wills' hit "San Antonio Rose" and George Strait's "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?", Margaret on vocals for Kitty Wells' "Honky Tonk Angels" and Peggy on vocals for Leann Rimes' hit, "Blue."

Rex, playing amplified guitar with his characteristic extra reverb, played lead on most numbers and sang on several, including a Hank Williams Sr. medley. Mason was the featured instrumental soloist on "Panhandler Rag" and "Steel Guitar Rag."

Another unbilled singer, Connie Moser, of Neosho, offered the next two numbers with recorded accompaniment. With a particularly strong voice and stage poise, Moser sang "Revelation Song" from Gateway Worship and "Our Hope Endures" by Natalie Grant, earning an enthusiastic audience response.

The Kings Prairie concert is better known as a showcase for acoustic music. The next group, the Granny Chicks, offered a 40-minute vintage dose of "old-time" tunes, augmented by sisters Janie Blanchard and Bella Coleman, from Neosho, on accordions. They were joined by Joe Johnson on vocals and lead guitar, and backed by Rick Carneal on dobro.

The sisters cultivated a "mountain sound" with their singing, more folky than trained. They sang "Sugar Moon," "How's the World Treating You," the Cajun-flavored "C'est La Vie" and gave their most robust rendition on Dolly Parton's hit "Muleskinner Blues." Johnson provided lead vocals on "Once More" while Carneal took the lead on "I'm No Stranger To The Rain" and "Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good."

Brumley, who has performed only a couple numbers at Kings Prairie shows in recent years, offered a solo set of numbers playing guitar along with taped accompaniment. He offered another of his father's hits, "Amazing Grace is the Sweetest Song I Know." The accompaniment to "Did You Ever Go Sailing Down the River of Memories" featured Brumley's brother, Tom, on steel guitar. An original song, "Dandelion Yellow and Huckleberry Blue," featured an accompaniment with the strings of the Springfield Symphony.

Taking the stage at 8:25 p.m. was concert headliner Duke Mason, who charmed the audience with his seasoned stage manner and polished singing.

Mason began with his set of Elvis Presley songs, including "I'm All Shook Up," for which he enlisted the audience to add an "Uhh" for the refrain on cue, and "Teddy Bear," using a recording of the Jordanaires as his background singers. Mason's soulful treatment was well-suited for his version of "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You."

Switching to gospel music, Mason offered upbeat versions of "Going Up To Heaven To Get My Reward" and "I'll Walk Them Golden Stairs When I Die." Mason encouraged the audience to give a good reception of "Everybody's Going To Have A Wonderful Time Up There," which he hopes to put on an upcoming recording.

Each of the featured performers offered a patriotic number and earned a hearty audience response. Country Sunshine started the series by closing their set with Les Dylan's "Let's Talk About What's Right With America," with Rex on vocals and Peggy providing harmony. The Granny Chicks got strong applause with their treatment of Aaron Tippin's hit, "Where The Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly."

For his patriotic number, Brumley read the narration "The American Way" by rural Monettan Larry Hyde, spoken over an orchestral version of "America." The selection got Brumley a standing ovation.

Mason closed his set with "America," backed by a taped accompaniment with vocals. As the song passed its halfway point, audience members a few at a time rose to their feet. By the end, the entire crowd was all standing and cheering.

To close the concert, Brumley brought all the performers back on stage for a rousing rendition of his father's enduring 1932 hit, "I'll Fly Away." Brumley passed the microphone to several on stage to share in singing the vocals.

Unlike last year's rain-out, the weather proved ideal for the concert, with cooler temperatures and a pleasant breeze. The audience also stayed well into the final set of music before any departed, unusual for a three-hour show.

Donations were taken to help pay for upkeep of the grounds and building and the cost of drilling a deeper well to allow the addition of bathrooms on the grounds. More than 300 homemade pies sold out.

The Monett Rural Fire Department helped bring in guests from the parking area on golf carts donated by Burton and Sons. Malcolm Mosby provided the sound system. Weiser Tent provided the stage, and Wickman Gardens supplied stage decorations.

Buchanan Funeral Home provided chairs. Schoon Catering supplied barbecue meat for concession sales. Tyson Foods helped with ice for the drinks, and Wolf Pack Port-A-Pottys provided additional facilities.

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