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Red, White and Bluegrass concert features gospel best

Monday, July 2, 2007

The second annual Red, White and Bluegrass concert will take the stage at 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 4, at Foster Park on Central Avenue South in Le Mars. Everyone is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy gospel bluegrass music and join in a salute to veterans.

Dean Osborne of the Dean Osborne Band will join together with Robin and Dedria Morgan and guitarist Ronnie Merrill, now of High Vision, in a reunion of Eastbound.

"The four of us coming bring a very long history together," said Osborne from his home in Kentucky. "The group (Eastbound) traveled for more than 10 years without a member change."

"We do trio and quartet vocals that we worked out over the years. These are songs that have a lot of meaning to us," Osborne noted. "We have a good time."

Always in the back of their mind is their ministry to be able to spread the Gospel through song.

"It's just a unique honor and it's something that we do every time we have the opportunity to get together for a reunion," Osborne said.

The LOGOS youth ministry of Presbyterian United Church of Christ in Le Mars will man a concession stand with pizza and cold drinks during the bluegrass concert.

This year's group for the Red, White and Bluegrass concert is once again put together by a group of community people, along with the connections of the Rev. Drew and Kim Tomberlin of Le Mars.

The Tomberlins got acquainted with Osborne and his group in Kentucky.

"We've been friends with them through our performing and working with Renfro Valley in Kentucky," explained Osborne. Renfro Valley is a large entertainment complex in that area. "They were supportive of our work with the Red Barn Show, and became good friends."

When the Tomberlins moved to Ohio, they took with them the concept of a 4th of July celebration involving Osborne and his music. Together they put together the Red, White and Bluegrass concert concept.

Osborne stresses part of the concert will have a salute to veterans.

"We can't ever do enough here in the U.S. for the veterans. We need to recognize them and how much fun can you have than to wrap it into a fun celebration of our freedom and our ability, because of these men and women, to worship how we choose, in whatever form," Osborne said.

Osborne will be saluting his own brother, a 2004 West Point graduate set to be deployed for a second tour to Iraq, and a brother-in-law making the U.S. military his career.

"We've really taken a lot of care in our concert to recognize veterans and their sacrifices," he said.

Following a week of concerts, Osborne heads back to Hyden, Ky., to prepare for the opening of the Kentucky School of Bluegrass Traditional Music, where he serves as director of the new school.

"Our first class walks in the door Aug. 20," he said. "It's exciting stuff. We're going to be the only two-year degree school in bluegrass music." The school is organized through the Kentucky Technical College system.

"It's a really ambitious studio artist program, and part of a vision some people had to capitalize on the things that eastern Kentucky has to offer," he said.

Osborne is excited to come to Iowa for a visit with his friends the Tomberlins, and to share his bluegrass gospel music with Iowans. "We're really looking forward to it," he said. "I can't think of any place I'd rather be on the 4th than playing with four of my friends in the heartland."

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