Gatlin Brothers to headline opening weekWORTHINGTON — To celebrate the grand re-opening of the renovated Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, its manager, Margaret Hurlbut Vosburgh, wanted to make a big splash.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — To celebrate the grand re-opening of the renovated Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, its manager, Margaret Hurlbut Vosburgh, wanted to make a big splash. So she scheduled a week’s worth of entertainment in the facility, culminating with a performance by a big-name, national touring act — Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers.
Working with an entertainment management company, Vosburgh initially considered other names, but the Gatlin Brothers “just felt right,” and could fit the Minnesota appearance into their touring schedule on relatively short notice.
Raised on gospel music, Larry Gatlin and his brothers — Steve and Rudy — first started singing as small children in their hometown of Abilene, Texas.
After attending the University of Houston on a football scholarship and majoring in English, Larry moved to Nashville and began to write songs for other artists, including Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Barbra Streisand, Tom Jones and Elvis Presley. In 1972, he landed a solo deal with a record company and recruited his brothers to sing backup.
He landed his first hit with “Sweet Becky Walker” and his second with “Broken Lady,” which resulted in a 1976 Grammy Award.
That same year, all three Gatlin Brothers were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.
Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, the Gatlin Brothers’ success continued, and they toured the country, packing major concert halls. Then, in 1992, they decided to call it quits with their “Adios Tour.”
“We just thought our time in the spotlight was probably over,” recalled Larry. “We had a great run and are thankful for it. We felt it was someone else’s turn in the spotlight.”
But after a long hiatus, a concert promoter convinced the Gatlins that wasn’t the case, and they embarked upon “The Gatlin Brothers Never Ending Reunion Tour,” The Worthington concert is part of that tour.
“A long time ago, we decided to make music for our fans and people who come to our shows,” Larry said. “and I know that Steve, Rudy and Larry are going to stand up and sing in tune every night.”
The Gatlin Brothers concert will end a full week of entertainment at MAPAC, which begins with the annual local variety program that showcases local talent, “Gone Country VI,” at 7:30 p.m. April 1 and 2. In Harmony and The Gospelaires will present a concert at 7 p.m. April 4; the Great Plains String Quartet and Worthington High School String Quintet will be featured at 7 p.m. April 5; and Noah Hoehn, Worthington native who has earned national acclaim for his harmonica and percussion talents, will take the stage at 7 p.m. April 7.
The grand opening week finale, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, will perform at 3 and 7 p.m. April 9.
Tickets for all upcoming performances can be secured at the MAPAC box office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone 376-9101 for more information.
A short dedication ceremony for the renovated Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, rededicating it to veterans of all wars, will begin each of the “Gone Country” performances on April 1 and 2. The Armed Forces medley will be played by the band, and all veterans in the audience will be asked to stand and be recognized for service to their county.