Area performers channel icons in 'Happy Flower Radio Hour'

November 13, 2011 12:06:00 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


Some of country/western music's best-known pioneers will be on stage Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Columbus Arts Council's Rosenzweig Arts Center. Or, at least some of their best-loved songs will be interpreted by local singers paying homage. The old-time "Happy Flower Radio Hour" is a nostalgic trip to an earlier time, when families gathered around the radio for entertainment -- when shows like the "Grand Ole Opry" and "National Barn Dance" aired. 


In conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution exhibit, New Harmonies: Celebrating America's Roots Music, now on display, the arts council presents this re-enactment featuring Golden Triangle musicians. The roster includes veteran recording artist Mack Banks, as Ernest Tubb; Katie Burchfield, as Loretta Lynn; Shane Tubbs and Melanie Hintz as Johnny and June Carter Cash; and Lulu Richardson, Melissa Tubbs and Angie Basson as Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters.  


Caryn Bivens will channel Patsy Cline, while her husband, Steven Bivens, will bring his best Conway Twitty. Stacy Clark, Larry Cantrell and young Aiden Dunkelberg will take part, too. And no country/western event would be complete without Minnie Pearl. Edwina Williams will take a brief break from duties as Mother Goose to appear as the irrepressible straw-hatted character. 


"During the New Harmonies exhibit, we've been presenting a lot of additional programming to explore the roots music of America," said Beverly Norris, the Columbus Arts Council's New Harmonies coordinator. "We really wanted to do something to showcase all the talent we have here locally." 


Katie Burchfield is looking forward to going on stage as country music icon Loretta Lynn Saturday. 


"I love her songs, like 'You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take my Man).' I like being ladylike and still standing up for yourself instead of the modern-day victim mentality. It's nice to see women of strength and class in music." 




How to go 


Tickets for Saturday's 7 p.m. "Happy Flower" show in the Omnova Theater on the second floor of the arts center are $12. For more information, contact the Columbus Arts Council at 662-328-2787 or go to 


The New Harmonies exhibit at the arts center is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 501 Main St. in Columbus. The exhibit is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and Mississippi Humanities Council. 


Other remaining New Harmonies-related programs include a bluegrass concert Nov. 25 featuring Grand Ole Opry veteran Jim Brock, master banjo player Larry Wallace and Jimmy D. Brock ($12); a free program of American Indian Song and Dance at Rent Auditorium Dec. 9; and New Harmonies' closing ceremony Dec. 10.

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.