By Sherrie Norris
A rare High Country appearance by a trio of renowned musicians, including one with longstanding local ties, is happening at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2 at the Ross Auditorium of Watauga High School in Boone.
The Folk Legacy Trio is coming to town for a unique fundraising event — and promises to be one of those concerts you just don’t want to miss.
The group includes George Grove, former resident of Hickory and Blowing Rock, who spent 41 years with The Kingston Trio; he is joined by Rick Dougherty, formerly with The Limeliters and also with The Kingston Trio for 25 years; and Jerrry Siggins, former lead singer of the legendary doo-wop group, The Diamonds.
Joining the Folk Legacy Trio on bass during its local appearance is Boone’s own multi-talented musician and businessman, Graydon Eggers, who is also the show’s sponsor.
While those of us who grew up from the 1950s to the mid ‘70s will certainly want to attend — and take a trip down memory lane — this concert will also prove to be a valuable experience for the younger generation, as well.
In fact, the Folk Legacy Trio is coming to town in support of a group of exceptionally talented students currently making an indelible mark in the arts and entertainment world.
Proceeds from the concert will support the recently-named State Champion Watauga High School Pioneer Playmakers as they prepare to represent North Carolina — as one of only two schools in the state — at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Louisville, Kentucky in late February.
Last November, the Playmakers captured all four major award categories — best production, best director, best actor and best actress — at the state play festival sponsored by the North Carolina Theatre Conference.
About Sunday’s concert, Sarah Miller, who, along with Zach Walker directs the award-winning student group, had this to say: “It’s a thrill to be able to host musicians who have made such historic contributions to folk music. The Folk Legacy Trio has strong connections to the High Country, as well as a history of giving back to their hometown communities.”
As luck would have it, Miller explained, the bass player for the amazing group is Boone’s very own Graydon Eggers, her neighbor when she was growing up.
“My family and Mr. Eggers’ family have remained close over the last four decades,” she said. “Mr. Eggers has been the bass player in the WHS spring musicals, playing with our students and serving as a great role model for a decade!”
So it was, Miller said, when Eggers asked if they would be interested in having the Folk Legacy Trio come to Watauga High School to do a benefit concert for the theatre department, “We jumped at the chance!” she said. “What great luck to have the opportunity to host long-time-former members of the Kingston Trio on our very own stage at WHS!”
Plans for the upcoming concert were set into motion last fall, Miller explained— even before the Playmakers won the NC Theatre Conference’s State High School Play Festival.
“After the Playmakers won (at state), we felt even more blessed that the Folk Legacy Trio was coming to town to help us raise $20,000 we now need to fund the Playmakers trip to the Southeastern Theatre Conference!”
For Eggers, his involvement has not only a professional connection, but a very personal one, as well.
“George Grove and I first met at Tweetsie Railroad during the summers of our college years as Dixieland band musicians at the Tweetsie Palace,” he shared. “We were roommates at Wake Forest, housemates during his Army service and my Air Force service in Hampton, Virginia, and have crossed paths personally and musically many times since. It’s great after all this time to join George, Jerry, and Rick in concert—especially here in Boone—to play once more the folk music we have enjoyed for so many years!”
More About The Folk Legacy Trio
The great folk era — through which many of us grew up — will come to life again on Sunday as we are reminded of those songs that helped define a special time and place in many of our lives. We all remember the hits made popular by Peter, Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio, The New Christy Minstrels, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, Simon & Garfunkel and many others.
Thanks to the Folk Legacy Trio, we can take a stroll back in time when they bring some of those memories to the forefront in Boone. The Trio’s show is described as “a journey through American Musical History” with their signature dynamic harmonies enriching some of the most beloved songs ever written.
George Grove told High Country Press on Monday that when he left the Kingston Trio after 41 years, he and one of his partners in the group — Rick Dougherty — decided that they weren’t ready to leave the music. “The music had not yet left us,” he shared. “So we began the process of choosing a partner who might share our idea of singing all of the music of the great Folk Era — not just the repertoire of one group from that era. “
The duo auditioned a number of people, one of whom had actually won a Grammy and has a beautiful voice; however, none of those voices was the right fit, Grove said. “Another close friend of mine, Bobby Poynton (who sings with The Lettermen) said, “You really need to listen to Jerry Siggins, lead singer of The Diamonds. You probably won’t find a better voice or a kinder gentleman.”
So Grove and Dougherty met with Siggins, sang songs with him one afternoon, and begged him to sing with them — at the same time he begged them to sing with him!
“We rehearsed for several months, and our first formal concert was at the Rubicon Theater in Ventura, California,” Grove recalled. “For that concert, I asked Graydon Eggers, a fellow Tweetsie Railroad alumnus and my friend for life, if he would help us by playing bass. Graydon’s musicianship was without question, but more than that, we needed somebody whose social skills and common sense would have the effect of grounding us in our first few concerts. So, when possible, Graydon has traveled to different places in the country in order to support us with his musical skills on bass.”
A few months ago, while talking with Eggers about venues in North Carolina in which the group could perform, the idea was born to perform at Watauga High School and to do so as a charitable event for Miller’s award winning drama department, Grove explained.
“All of us in the Folk Legacy Trio knew instantly that this was a perfect fit,” he said. “We could present our individual and collective talents in The Folk Legacy Trio as seasoned performers at the same time that we do something to help young talents go further in the presentation of their performance skills.”
According to Bob Poynton, “There are few musicians today that have been charged with saving a genre of music. There are fewer, yet, that have the ability to do so. George, Rick and Jerry are accomplished in every facet of vocal performance and entertainment. With the recent resurgence of ‘new folk’ it is only fitting that the Folk Legacy Trio be formed as the foundation to a new generation of folk lovers.”
Their stop in Boone is just one of many on a busy schedule of events around the country. Plan now to come out and enjoy the show and support this amazing group of talented students.
Tickets are $25 at the door or may be purchased in advance at https://wataugatheatre.ludus.com/
If you can’t attend Sunday’s concert, but would like to support The Playmakers, find their page on FB or search WHSPlaymakers at www.GoFundMe.Com