The Rowan County Concert Association presents the Stars of the Lawrence Welk Show at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, in Keppel Auditorium on the campus of Catawba College.
Singer Ava Barber is one of the featured attractions.
Born and raised in Knoxville, Tenn., Barber grew up singing in her oldest brother’s rock and roll band. When a new song would come out, she’d buy the record, learn the lyrics and go around the neighborhood putting on shows.
She began singing professionally at age 10, joined a local country music television show at 14 in Knoxville and stayed with it for four years. She began performing and recorded some records locally.
Then, Barber’s mother, an avid fan of the Lawrence Welk show, suggested that she send Welk her demos and records because he was always helping young acts. So she wrote to Welk in 1973.
A few months later, she got a letter from Welk telling her that if she was ever on the West Coast, to come and do the show. Husband Roger made the call.
Barber auditioned, and in February 1974, she did her first show and Welk hired her on the air as a regular.
She later had hits with “Waitin’ at the End of Your Run,” a truck driving song, and “Bucket to the South.”
After the live Lawrence Welk tapings ended in 1982, the Barbers moved back to Tennessee and formed their own touring band. Later, they leased their own theatre in Pigeon Forge, where they performed until 1996. Then, until 2000, Barber worked at the Welk Theatre in Branson, Missouri.
Since 2000, Barber has been touring with “The Live Lawrence Welk Show Tour.”
Bob Havens is an American Big Band and jazz trombonist who appeared on the Lawrence Welk Show from 1960 to 1982.
Musical from a young age, he landed his first professional job with a dance band at age 12. By 16, he won a scholarship from the Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan. He later played first trombone in the Quincy Symphony.In 1957, he joined Al Hirt at Dan’s Pier 600 on Bourbon Street when Hirt formed his first band. The front line consisted of Hirt, Havens and Pete Fountain. During his time in New Orleans, he recorded albums for Good Times Jazz and Vic labels with the Girrad Band and on Verve and Audio Fidelity with Hirt. He also recorded about a dozen albums for the Southland label with many other New Orleans musicians.
After joining the Welk show, he was a featured soloist on the weekly TV series.
Since the show ended, he has continued to be active as a freelance professional trombonist.
Havens now lives in Buies Creek and continues to record and appear at jazz festivals and concerts.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students, 18 and under. Tickets are available at the Rowan Visitor Center in the Gateway Building, 204 E. Innes. St; at Belk in Salisbury Mall; at the Literary BookPost, 119 S. Main St.; at Frost Bites, 207 S. Main St.; and at the Rowan Arts Council.
For information, call 704-636-0636 or 704-633-1474.
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