|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
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Variety show coming to commerce center
BY BRIAN BESCH
LIVINGSTON -- The next performance of Ogden's Country Jubilee is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22 at the new Polk County Commerce Center. This 7 p.m. performance will be the second show Ogden's has had in the new venue. The Branson style country, gospel and comedy variety show has entertained those in and around Polk County for nearly two decades. It began in a remodeled Onalaska grocery store in September of 1994. In 2002, the show moved to the newly remodeled Old Town Theater in Huntsville. It has performed in Woodville at the Dogwood Festival and most recently in various venues around Livingston and as a Main Street Livingston fundraiser. The owner and producer of the show is Debbie Ogden Mayes. Debbie is a lifelong resident of Polk County, who also performs in the show with her three original characters. "I grew up performing in a show," Mayes said. "When we had a family reunion, we had a full band, singers and comedians within our family. You were expected to do something, even if it was to just stand up and tell a joke. We had our own emcee. We had parades and we put on a show. "Folks began asking me when the family reunion was, so they could bring lawn chairs and watch. A dream was born to offer an entertainment- starved public the Ogden's Country Jubilee. The dream was of a clean, family oriented show for all ages. God brought this dream to fruition almost 20 years ago and I thank Him for that. "I've never made much money, but feel like a millionaire in the sweet memories of precious musicians I've worked with that have gone to be with the Lord, as well as loyal patrons. I've had family members express to me the pleasure the show brought into loved one's lives. It's good to laugh and enjoy beautiful music; these are blessings from God. I'm so thankful that He guided my path and has continued to bless this." The show also features other Ogden family members. The family patriarch, John Henry Ogden, was an awardwinning fiddler in the state of Arkansas. John and his wife, Maggie, had 15 musically blessed children. Two of the siblings, Brenda Ogden Kelso and Ruby Ogden Loftin, will be appearing in the performance on Feb. 22. Brenda is a singer, songwriter, musician and comedian. Ruby plays and sings, something the children of Livingston's Central Baptist Church know from Sunday morning services. The Ogden's Country Jubilee band is a collection of musicians who have played for acts such as Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Gene Watson, Merle Haggard and many others. They are seasoned musicians who have chosen their families over a life on the road. John Ogden's great granddaughter, Laci Booth, and her father, Jody, are known for their voices and musical expertise. The band's other members include Livingston's Rocky Coward on lead guitar, Kevin Carter playing fiddle and vocals, Huntington's Steve Nelson on keyboard and vocals, Steve Carr of College Station plays bass, Rick Jones of Magnolia on drums and Cole Harrison from Bedias on steel and vocals. Amanda Carpenter- Wall of Conroe and Kari Hlavinka of Pasadena will do harmony and front and center vocals. Carter and Carpenter-Wall are original Ogden cast members, while singer and songwriter Chris Wells of Willis is new to the show. The show will also welcome back Shawn Ahmad, Dr. William Wall and Cole Jones, all from Livingston. Emceeing will be Billy Don Hampton, from Lubbock. Tickets for the show are $12, while ages 3 and under are free. They may be purchased at the Livingston City Hall, all three locations of First National Bank Livingston, Downtown Treasures, and on the day of the show, may be purchased at the Polk County Commerce Center from 3 p.m. until show time. For more information, call Mayes at (936) 933-5852.