By Marlene Robershaw
Riding into Ramona on Saturday, Sept. 26, for the opening of the Ramona Concerts 25th Anniversary Season will be the Riders of the Purple Sage.
The performance will be in the Olive Peirce Middle School Charles R. Nunn Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Music lovers won’t want to miss the toe-tapping performance of the kings of Western swing, Cody Bryant and the Riders of the Purple Sage.
Originating in the early 1940s, this authentic cowboy music ensemble provided music content and background for 20 Western movies, TV shows and concerts. Led by Foy Willing in the ‘40s, the band hosted the All Star Western Theater in Hollywood and rode the range with Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Monte Hale on the silver screen.
The current roster of five performers, led by Cody Bryant, presents a program that features fiddle, banjo, harmonica, mandolin, bass, drums and three lead vocalists. They blend elements of the classic sound of Roy Rogers and Sons of the Pioneers with bluegrass, Cajun and Bob Wills-style western swing. They are said to have “Western soul with Hollywood polish.”
Bryant is the musical director of the Riders. Singer, songwriter and award-winning multi-instrumentalist, Bryant’s movie soundtrack credits include Warner Brother’s 7th Heaven and Back to the Future.
Ensemble members Mike Ley, Jimmy Lee Harris, Evan Marshall and Landon McCoy have played with such greats as: Sonny and Cher, The Coasters, Tina Turner, Eddie Dean, Jerry Lee Lewis, Minnie Pearl and Johnny Cash, not to mention thousands of shows as soloists at theme parks, symphony orchestras, concert halls and international tours.
Accolades have come from Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Gene Autry and Fess Parker, who said, ”Listening to this band fills me with pleasures of bygone times.”
Performance tickets may be purchased at the door the night of the concert for $15 per adult and $5 for student and children. Season tickets for all four concerts are: Adults, $28; students, $10; and families, $58 (this includes two adults and all children and students under the same roof.)
All concerts are in the Charles Nunn Performing Center at 1521 Hanson Lane in Ramona.
The 2009-10 concert season will also feature Saxophobia (www.saxophobia.net), Pianist Dan Smith, and South American Harpist, Alfredo Rolando Ortiz (www.alfredo-rolando-ortiz.com).
To have a season brochure with all the details mailed, call 760-789-7474, 787-1566 or 788-2633. To join, remittances may be mailed to Ramona Concerts, P.O. Box 1273, Ramona, CA 92065.
Persons may also contact Ramona Concerts at www.ramonaconcerts.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about Riders of the Purple Sage is at www.ridersofthepurplesage.com.