They’ve done command performances for kings and queens around the globe and for several Presidents in the United States. Their award list, already expansive, will climax this fall when they are inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. They, the Oak Ridge Boys, will also be performing Thurs., June 25, locally — at the Coalfield Jamboree in downtown Logan!
Jackie Tomblin, president of the Coalfield Jamboree Board of Directors, says she is excited to be able to get the Oak Ridge Boys to come the historic theater.
“I’m as excited as I can be,” Tomblin said. “We’ve worked on it for quite a while. It’s going to be a plus for Logan. We’ve never had anybody this big at the theater.”
So how can a small theater like the Coalfield Jamboree, with around 1,200 seats, get a big name group like The Oaks to come? Well, it could be because of who you know.
A former Switzer resident and retired sound engineer for the Grand Ole Opry, Vic Gabany, has been involved with the Coalfield Jamboree since its founder, the late Tom “Rose” Tomblin, began renovating the former movie theater.
“I know how hard Tom Rose worked to renovate the theater. I remember him telling me that he hoped to be able to bring in shows for the people of Logan County to see who otherwise might not have the opportunity to see them,” Gabany said in a recent letter to the Logan Banner. “I was always glad to come up from Nashville and help Tom select sound and lighting equipment, as well as helping him with other concerns.
“I didn’t have much growing up in Logan and I have often thought of my grandmother taking this Switzer boy to the theater to see Gene Autry and Roy Rogers on Saturday matinees. During those years that theater was a big part of my life.”
Gabany said he and Jackie Tomblin had spoken about bringing the Oak Ridge Boys to Logan.
“A couple of years ago Jackie told me she thought The Oak Ridge Boys would do well in Logan although she knew their booking fee would be too high for her 1,200 seat theater,” Gabany said. “She told me if I ever saw where it would be possible to book them in Logan to let her know. Well, a few months ago I thought about what Jackie had told me and I called Duane Allen, lead singer for the Oak Ridge Boys.”
Gabany said he began working at the Opry in 1976, the same year Allen became the lead singer for The Oak Ridge Boys.
“Duane’s wife, Nora Lee, was a backup singer on the Opry so I got to know them both well. Ironically, 39 years later she is still a background singer on the Opry. I called Duane recently and talked to him about the small renovated Logan Theater and me growing up there.”
Allen gave Gabany the number to their booking agency and Jackie Tomblin began calling.
“Vic Gabany thought now would be a good time to try and get them to Logan,” Jackie Tomblin said. “I know I probably was on that phone fifty times between us before anything was done.”
The Oaks’ fact sheet reports that the group works more than 150 personal appearances each year, ranging from giant state fairs to select theaters in the round and including symphony halls, auditoriums, festivals and arenas nationwide. The group’s tour is comprised of some 20 men, ten performers along with a road manager, stage manager, lighting and sound technicians, and other crew. Moving the tour from location to location includes two customized buses and a semi-tractor trailer.
“It took a lot of work to get them in and they are a number one show,” Jackie Tomblin said. “I’m hoping we have a big turnout.”
The concert is sponsored in part by Pepsi, C&W Discount Furniture Company, Logan County Commission, Logan Bank & Trust, Southern Amusement, Justice Feed and Hardware, City of Logan, Hatfield Market and Deli, and Family Discount Pharmacy at Stollings and Mt. Gay.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 304-752-2900 or 304-687-8511 or by stopping by the ticket booth at the Coalfield Jamboree Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Again, the Oak Ridge Boys will perform Thurs., June 25, beginning at 7 p.m.