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‘Gone Country’ to play at Memorial Auditorium

“Gone Country” participants (from left) Paul Larson, Thai Hua, Jon Konz, Lee Stover, Aubrey Anderson, Ken Clark, Bill Shoup and Cindy Anderson rehearse at the Memorial Auditorium in Worthington. Brian Korthals/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — It’s a mix of old and new for this year’s version of “Gone Country.”

In its ninth year, “Gone Country” is going to pay homage to classic music while also mixing in some newer songs and artists.

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“We’re trying to show a little bit of newer country as well,” said Cindy Anderson, the show’s music director. “We’re highlighting the older country, but throwing in new country on top of it.”

“Gone Country” will have two shows Saturday — at 2 and 7:30 p.m. — at Memorial Auditorium. For the evening show, doors will open at 6 p.m. and feature music from Tommy Binford, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Once the shows begin, local artists will showcase country music at its finest.

“This year its a salute to the Country Music Hall of Fame,” Anderson explained. “What we’re trying to do this year is we’re doing some of the classic artists like Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Buck Owens, Glen Campbell. We also want to combine it with newer country as well — people who will eventually end up in the Country Music Hall of Fame, like Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.”

To be selected to perform, the artists went through auditions.

“There were auditions that happened in November and people were chosen,” Anderson said. “Some of the other music will be provided by the Sideline band, which is the house band for this show. I think there are seven different performers. It can rage from a soloist to a duet to trios and quartets.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Anderson continued. “I think it’s going to be a nice change of pace from what we’ve done in the past. If you’ve liked ‘Gone Country’ before, hopefully you’ll like this as well. It’s just a little different flavor this year.”

The artists are of all ages, Anderson said.

“We have younger artists this year also,” she said. “We have one of our kids who is going to be in this who is in seventh grade. Another one is a junior in high school, and Kay Prunty is going to have two groups of her dancer kids who are performing in this.”

“Kieth Olson and Rich Besel are also going to come and do their Ole and Sven,” Anderson added. “They’ve done that years before at ‘Corn off the Cob’ and things like that. They are going to be showing up for little skits here and there.”

Master of Ceremonies this year will be Justin Spaethe.

“He’s probably known around town for his DJ company, DJ Jayden Thomas. People may know him by that name,” Anderson said.

Much of the talent comes from the region.

“Most of them are from Worthington,” Anderson said. “We do have a couple from Adrian. We have two guys — one is coming from Brandon, S.D. and another one is coming from Spirit Lake, Iowa. They are part of a trio — one lives in Worthington, one in South Dakota and the other in Iowa. They are the tri-state trio.”

Tickets may be purchased in advance at the auditorium, or at the door before the shows.

“I think this one will be fun because I think a lot of times the music has been geared for older country, but this year it’s going to be stuff that people who are a little younger might enjoy,” Anderson said. “One of the groups is doing ‘Wagon Wheel,’ another group is doing Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story.’ We have a group performing ‘Live Like You Were Dying.’ So there’s the old country, but then there is also the new country. I think it’s a nice mix of the old and the new.”

All tickets are reserved seating; there is a small discount for tickets purchased in advance. Tickets are also available at the door before each performance. For more information, call 376-9101.

Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.