Oak Ridge Boys fans hold key
By Don Rhodes| Columnist
Thursday, November 26, 2009

Richard Sterban toured for several years singing backup for Elvis Presley as part of the Stamps Quartet.

The Camden, N.J., native is just as happy singing bass with the country quartet The Oak Ridge Boys, which he's done for 37 years.

"The Oaks," as their fans call them, are about the only major country vocal group still around after more than three decades.

Alabama, The Judds, The Glaser Brothers, The Osborne Brothers and The Statler Brothers, all past winners of the Country Music Association's Vocal Group of the Year award, have retired or no longer exist.

The Oak Ridge Boys, winner of the CMA's Vocal Group award in 1978, still record regularly and tour extensively.

They'll have their 2009 Christmas show at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St.

"We're the group that refuses to go away," said Mr. Sterban in a recent telephone interview from Branson, Mo., where The Oaks were getting ready to present their seasonal offering in The Oak Ridge Boys Theatre.

"I think the key to our longevity after all these years is we still love what we do," he said.

This is the busiest time of the year for the Oaks, who are on their 20th Christmas tour, according to Mr. Sterban.

"We used to refuse to start our Christmas shows until the day after Thanksgiving, but we finally had to give in because the demand was so great. We already have our Christmas tour for next year almost completely booked."

The Oaks also include lead vocalist Duane Allen, tenor Joe Bonsall and baritone William Lee Golden.

The first part of the show is a showcase of their hits, including Bobbi Sue and Elvira , which features Mr. Sterban.

It also will feature songs from their new CD, The Boys Are Back .

One of their biggest hits, Eddy Raven's Thank God for Kids , was recorded in 1982 for The Oaks first Christmas album, simply called Christmas .

That song will be part of the second half of the concert, which will also feature other holiday tunes.

Mr. Sterban will take a post-tour break with his wife, Donna, in the British Virgin Islands , where he plans to pursue another love: snorkeling.

And you can bet he already knows what the weather should be like there.

"I'm a Weather Channel junkie and even studied meteorology in college," he said. "The Weather Channel has been having celebrities on, and I'd love to do that."

Don Rhodes has written about country music for 39 years. He can be reached at (706) 823-3214 or at don.rhodes@morris.com.

COUNTRY CHRISTMAS

WHAT: The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Show

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St.

COST: $29.50 and $39.50

BUY: (877) 4AUGTIX or augustaentertainmentcomplex.com

From the Thursday, November 26, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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