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'Christmas Time's a-Comin' to NPAC

staff report • Nov 29, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Representing a tradition that dates back to World War II, the original Oak Ridge Boys, based in Knoxville, began performing country and gospel music in nearby Oak Ridge, Tenn., where the atomic bomb was being developed.

Known then as the Oak Ridge Quartet, the band began regular Grand Ole Opry appearances in the fall of 1945. In the mid-1950s, the band was featured in Time magazine as one of the top-drawing gospel groups in the nation.

Today, the band’s four-part harmonies and upbeat songs have spawned dozens of country hits and a No. 1 pop smash; earned them Grammy, Dove, CMA and ACM awards; and garnered a host of other industry and fan accolades.

The Oak Ridge Boys will bring their “Christmas Time’s a-Comin’” tour to Greeneville’s Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Dec. 8. Show time is 7:30 p.m.

The first portion of the nearly sold-out show will feature fans’ favorite Oak Ridge Boys hits and, following intermission, the band will perform more than an hour of Christmas favorites.

Tickets are $38.50 and $42.50.

Every time “the Oaks” step before an audience, they bring four decades of charted singles and more than 50 years of tradition to a stage show widely acknowledged as among the most exciting anywhere.

And each member remains as enthusiastic about the process as he has ever been.

“When I go on stage, I get the same feeling I had the first time I sang with The Oak Ridge Boys,” said lead singer Duane Allen. “This is the only job I’ve ever wanted to have.”

Bass singer Richard Sterban says he had always loved the band — even before he was a part of it.

“Like everyone else in the group, I was a fan of the Oaks before I became a member. I’m still a fan of the group today. Being in The Oak Ridge Boys is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream,” he said.

Members have come and gone through the years, but Allen and Sterban, along with tenor Joe Bonsall and baritone William Lee Golden, make up the current lineup of one of country music’s most legendary acts.

Their string of hits includes the country-pop chart-topper “Elvira,” as well as “Bobbie Sue,” “Dream On,” “Thank God For Kids,” “American Made” and many others.

In 2009, the band covered a White Stripes song, receiving accolades from rock ’n’ roll reviewers. And then in 2011, they re-recorded a 30th anniversary version of “Elvira” for a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store project.

The group has scored 12 gold, three platinum and one double platinum album — plus one double platinum single — and had more than a dozen national number one singles and more than 30 top 10 hits.

To order tickets, call the NPAC box office at (423) 638-1679 or visit www.greenevillenpac.com.

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