THE OAKRIDGE BOYS
The Oak Ridge Boys
SUNDAY AT 2:00 PM
Theirs is one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry. The four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of Country hits and a Number One Pop smash, earned them Grammy, Dove, CMA, and ACM awards and garnered a host of other industry and fan accolades. Every time they step before an audience, the Oaks bring four decades of charted singles, and 50 years of tradition, to a stage show widely acknowledged as among the most exciting anywhere. And each remains as enthusiastic about the process as they have ever been.
“When I go on stage, I get the same feeling I had the first time I sang with The Oak Ridge Boys,” says lead singer Duane Allen. “This is the only job I've ever wanted to have.”
“Like everyone else in the group,” adds bass singer extraordinaire, Richard Sterban, “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.”
The two, along with tenor Joe Bonsall and baritone William Lee Golden, comprise one of Country's truly 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, I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes, Fancy Free, Gonna Take A Lot Of River and many others. In 2009, they covered a White Stripes song, receiving accolades from Rock reviewers. In 2011, they rerecorded a thirtieth 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 over 30 Top Ten hits.
FRIDAY AT 6:30 PM
The Petersens are an award-winning bluegrass band from Branson, MO. They began playing bluegrass in 2007 when they stumbled across a bluegrass festival while on a family road trip.
After their father retired from the United States Air Force, the family moved to Branson where they started to have more opportunities to play at Silver Dollar City, local festivals, and churches. After winning a gospel sing-off in town, the family was offered their own Branson show at the Little Opry Theatre where they have performed for the past eight years. In 2015 the band received international attention when banjo player and lead singer, Ellen, competed in the singing reality TV show, American Idol, and placed in the top 48. The band consists of mother, Karen, on the bass, oldest sister, Katie, on the fiddle, second oldest sister, Ellen, on the banjo, the brother of the family, Matt, on the guitar, and the youngest of the family, Julianne, on the mandolin. The newest addition to the family is Emmett Franz from Berryville, AR, on the dobro. The family tours throughout the United States, Canada, and Ireland, but spends most of the year performing at their bluegrass show in Branson.
The Petersens, an award-winning family band, are sure to entertain you with their family humour and top-notched bluegrass sound in their Branson show. The band performs traditional bluegrass standards, contemporary favourites, and original music written by the older siblings. To the mix, The Petersens add twin fiddle tunes, gospel acapella and yodelling to completely satisfy the bluegrass appetite of the audience. The band received national attention last year when banjo player, Ellen, auditioned for American Idol and advanced to the top 48 in the famous reality TV singing competition. For 90 minutes of great bluegrass family entertainment you won’t want to miss The Petersens.
The Petersens are currently performing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5 PM at the Little Opry Theater in the Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex.
Musical Leader, Fiddle Player, Songwriter
Katie is the oldest Petersen sibling and is the musical leader of the group. Katie graduated from College of the Ozarks in 2014 with a bachelors degree in Chemistry and Spanish. After graduation, Katie moved to Oxford, England to study C.S. Lewis and the Psalms through the Summit Ministries Oxford program. Katie is a great songwriter and it had always been a dream of hers to study her favorite author at Oxford. More recently, Katie’s love of traveling took her to Nicaragua to teach music and English at a school through Project Hope. You can read more about her time in Nicaragua here. Currently, Katie enjoys teaching fiddle and piano lessons to students and, of course, bluegrass with the family. The best way to Katie’s heart is through a cup of coffee.
Ellen Petersen, MBA
Director of Marketing, Banjo Player, Yodelist
Ellen is the second oldest Petersen sibling and banjo player for the band. Ellen was first handed a banjo while the family was at its first bluegrass festival at which the kids’ dad decided the family should become a bluegrass band. Ellen graduated from College of the Ozarks in 2014 with a bachelors degree in Chemistry and moved to Oklahoma City to work as a laboratory technician. That summer she auditioned for American Idol for fun as its bus tour went through Branson and she ended up making it to the top 48 on Season XIV. (See her initial audition here and read an interview about her journey on the reality TV show here.) After American Idol, Ellen moved back to Branson to focus more on music and began working towards her MBA degree at Missouri State University. Now a graduate, Ellen currently teaches Business Communications part-time to undergraduate business students at Missouri State and enjoys learning new ways to market the family bluegrass show. The best way to make Ellen smile is a bouquet of fresh flowers.
Director of Operations, Guitar Player, Comedian
Although Matt is the lone boy in the Petersen sibling lineup, he more than holds his own on stage and in the band operations. Matt graduated from College of the Ozarks in 2017 with a bachelors degree in Business. Since graduating, Matt runs most of the business aspects of the band including outside bookings and also handles the technical side of the Branson show. Outside of the band he enjoys running, leading a small group for boys at our church, and he is a pretty great two-stepper. Matt never fails to make each show unique and entertaining with his comedy and does a great job of keeping the band grounded. A sure way to make Matt laugh is a banjo joke
Mandolin Player, Eye Roller, Dimple
Julianne Petersen is the baby of the family and has been the full-time mandolin player for the band since 2017. Julianne started off playing the fiddle and clogging on stage when the band started in 2005 and has always been an audience favourite. (See a video of her dancing here.) Julianne has worn many hats the band through the years and even ran sound and lights for them at the young age of eight! Currently, Julianne is a sophomore at Gloria Deo Academy in Springfield and her favourite pastime is reading. The easiest way to make Julianne your friend is through chocolate.
SATURDAY AT 6:30 PM
Offering a captivating blend of gospel, a cappella, hymns, folk, and inspirational music, the Nelons are a world-class talented family. The ensemble is led by the legendary, multi-award winning vocalist, co-founding member Kelly Nelon Clark and her husband, the versatile singer, songwriter, musician, and producer, Jason Clark. Their daughters, Amber and Autumn, complete this supremely gifted musical troupe as they contribute their powerful vocals to this traveling family band’s harmonic sound.
They are regulars at the Gaither Hymn-Sing and will be joining the FRGJ.
Their trend-setting innovation, technical skill, and undeniable gift of communication have delighted audiences all around the world. Jason’s musicianship and his ability to arrange infectious harmonies, along with Kelly’s breathtaking alto, Amber’s soaring soprano, and Autumn’s haunting folksy vocal tone and mandolin playing blend to create a sound that is enthralling. They have played and sung their brand of music in large arenas, intimate rural area performing arts centers, festivals, fairs, and churches throughout the United States, along with numerous international appearances as well.
A concert with The Nelons leaves you encouraged by the message of hope shared from their hearts, warmed by the love of family you feel from the stage, and inspired by the beauty, purity, and majesty of each lyric they sing.
The Nelons, along with their band members, combine the best of a variety of beloved genres, in a way that unifies every audience, bridging the generational gap of the young and old. Simply put, this is just great music!