News Column

Legendary artists to play at benefit concert

June 1, 2013


June 01--ALTON -- Some Nashville stars will greet audiences next Saturday as part of a benefit to raise money for a senior citizen food program.

Senior Services Plus' fourth annual "Feed the Need" Concert to support Meals On Wheels will be held on June 8 at the Alton Amphitheater. The event will go on, rain or shine.

For the last three years, Senior Services Plus has raised money that allows it to continue to deliver hot nutritious meals to more than 600 homebound seniors throughout Madison and St. Clair counties each day. According to the Meals On Wheels Association of America, one in five seniors are going hungry.

The Meals On Wheels program provides "more than just a nutritious meal," SSP Executive Director John Becker said.

"It provides a peace of mind and the ability to continue to live independently in one's own home," he said.

The award-winning bluegrass band, The Harmans, will play and serve as hosts of the benefit. The festival also will feature the music of legendary artists Marty Stuart and Marty Raybon, both of Nashville, Tenn., and The Expedition Show.

"Everyone is excited to play in the Alton area for such a great cause," said Margaret Lanier, coordinator for the concert.

The Harmans are a local musical family affair. The Harmans Bluegrass Band today consists of first- and second-generation musicians having roots dating to 1975. The Harmans' music style ranges from traditional to contemporary bluegrass, country, gospel and other various types of music.

The family patriarch, Mike Harman, played with Alison Krauss and Union Station from 1986 to 1990. During that time, he performed on the Grand Ole Opry and was featured on multiple albums.

The rest of the group is made up of his oldest son, Mark, who plays guitar, banjo, bass fiddle, dobro and drums; middle son, Jeff, who plays the upright and electric bass, guitar, mandolin and drums; and youngest son, John, who plays the acoustic and electric guitar, banjo and mandolin.

Stuart is a five-time Grammy winner, platinum-selling recording artist, Grand Ole Opry star, country music archivist, Southern culture historian, photographer, musician, songwriter and TV show host.

His teenage years on tour with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt in the 1970s were followed by six years in Johnny Cash's band during the '80s and a chart-topping tenure as a solo artist in the 1990s. He has a musical variety show on RFD-TV.

Raybon's work has spanned nearly three decades and includes multiple No. 1 albums and awards. He has appeared on all the major television networks and performed around the globe.

The Expedition Show features a combination of bluegrass, tight vocal harmonies and humor.

The Expedition Show has been a fan and festival favorite since it began in early 2002. During the band's nine-year tenure, the entertaining group has been nominated twice by the International Bluegrass Music Association for Emerging Artist of the Year (2005 and 2007); and won or been nominated for numerous other awards.

Festival activities will begin at 3 p.m. with banjo and fiddle demonstrations and contests, a quilting fair, wood carver demonstration and more. Food and drink vendors will include The School House Grill, Morales Tacos and Heavenly Scent Popcorn, among others. Festival-goers also will be able to purchase sno-cones, popcorn, soda, beer, and other snacks and beverages.

Participants should bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. Dogs, outside beverages, including water, and coolers are not permitted at the amphitheater.

Tickets cost $20 per person in advance and $25 per person at the door. All proceeds will go to SSP's Meals On Wheels program. Tickets are available now by calling SSP at (618) 465-3298 ext. 111, or stopping by the center at 2603 N. Rodgers Ave. in Alton, online at, and at Jersey State Bank in Jerseyville.


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