Rocky Hock Opry plans fundraiser

Published 9:15 pm Saturday, August 24, 2013

Members of the Rocky Hock Opry Boys Quartet are, from left, Sam Morris, Jack Evans, Gary Brower and Brian Smith. The group will perform a fundraiser for the Nansemond River Pilot Club on Sept. 21 at King’s Fork High School.

Members of the Rocky Hock Opry Boys Quartet are, from left, Sam Morris, Jack Evans, Gary Brower and Brian Smith. The group will perform a fundraiser for the Nansemond River Pilot Club on Sept. 21 at King’s Fork High School.

By Frank Roberts

Special to the News-Herald

Wrigley’s Double Mint Gum used to claim its product would “double your pleasure, double your fun.”

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The Nansemond River Pilot Club can make that boast Sept. 21 as it presents music and comedy by the “Rocky Hock Opry Boys Quartet,” a two-hour show without a single curse word.

The Rocky Hock, N.C., group has been in town before. In April it helped raise money for Meals on Wheels. Usually, the quartet raises money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, having raised more than $300,000 during the past 14 years for the cause.

The Pilot Club itself has been a big supporter of the Relay for life, having donated $100,000 during the past 13 years running its popular Womanless Beauty Pageant.

The Opry show helps fund the Pilot Club’s donations to the March of Dimes, Edmarc, scholarships and other projects.

“Most of the shows have been sold out,” said Jack Evans, who is team chairman, emcee and singer. The idea for the format came from an obvious source. He had visited a show with a similar name — the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville — and felt the talented folks in the Rocky Hock community could do a show like that.

The cast of characters offers a fast-moving professional presentation — the reason the “customers” keep coming back, whether in Edenton or Suffolk.

The show is mostly country, but pop music and gospel are staples of the Rocky Hock crew — some of whom come from Virginia Beach and Plymouth.

Most of the music will have a happy ring, as the performers spotlight songs popularized by such folks as The Statler Brothers, the Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama and others, mixing it up with pop music and gospel.

There will be some sniffle moments, but most of the show is upbeat.

Here is a quickie look at the entertainers:

4Jack Evans began making music with a Sears-Roebuck guitar when he was 12. He has performed for other fundraisers, civic clubs, and on the radio. For 40 years, he has been music director at Rocky Hock Baptist Church, and he has performed with the Liberty Flag Quartet.

4Steve Evans, Jack’s son, played with a five-piece band that went the Southern Rock route. He later switched to country and bluegrass. His specialty is off-beat, innovative comedy as he portrays “Flatbilly Bob,” an unbelievable, keeps-you-in-stiches character.

4Stan Harrell of Virginia Beach has recorded in Nashville and appeared on “You Can Be A Star” on the Nashville network. The guitarist-vocalist is in the music ministry at London Bridge Baptist Church.

4Sam (Big Daddy) Morris is also a quartet member, and a staple of the Rocky Hock Baptist Church Men’s Choir. He has eight granddaughters and one grandson. He is always an audience favorite, thanks to a big voice, and the personality of a favorite relative. He sings with the group and solo.

4Stephen Mizell sings and drums, and his son, Cameron, also beats the skins, too, as does Dan Laino. He is pastor of the Open Door Baptist Church in Edenton. Evans notes that “he can play and sing just about everything.”

4Dan Laino, the group’s main drummer, played drums with the U. S. Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps. He also performed with groups in Chicago and Michigan.

4Brian Smith is the group’s showman/character. He is the keyboardist, singer, songwriter, director, and arranger. He is music minister for the contemporary service at Edenton United Methodist Church. He has performed with several Southern gospel groups all over the country. His children, Emma and Nicholas, sometimes “guest” with the Rocky Hock crew.

4Gary Brower, one of the vocalists, studied music at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. Hungry folk should know that he is a regional distributor for Little Debbie Snack Cakes. He was music director of Open Door Baptist Church in Edenton.

The show is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 in the auditorium at King’s Fork High School.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling 925-4541, 539-9988, or 621-3676.