By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
In an event-filled weekend, the Leatherwoods cap off the movies and concerts with a performance that includes everything from Ozark Mountain music to gospel to bluegrass at Hempstead Hall on Sunday afternoon starting at 2 p.m.
Hempstead Hall Director Dolly Henley said, “I am excited to begin the program series at Hempstead Hall this weekend. The series is diversified and offers something for everyone. Guests will experience various genres of music-folk, country, rock, and symphony along with special theatrical features for children.”
The group will also be hosting local artists on stage as part of their performance on Sunday, including Homer Glenn White of Blevins, Linsey Heard of Hope, and students from the Dancetastics Dance Studio.
White, 91, brings more than eight decades of singing gospel music to the stage, and he said, “I normally just sing in church. This will be a new experience for me and I’m really looking forward to it.”
White is the musical director of the Marlbrook Baptist Church in Hempstead County and he will join the group during the gospel portion of the program.
Heard is a member of the Praise Team at First Assembly of God and will also be a featured singer with the string band. A Tyson Foods employee by day, she is “excited for the opportunity.” She is engaged to be married less than a month after the show.
Students at the Dancetastics Dance Studio will do a clog routine with professional clogger Gina Holderby, who has been clogging for almost 30 years.
Other guests will include George S. Smith, executive director of the Arts Council, who played his favorite instrument with the original Leatherwoods foursome – the picking bow. The picking bow is a simple, one-string instrument based on the principle of the mouth harp. Smith said, “It has one string. What can go wrong?”
Formed in the early 1980s by Jean Jennings, the band now consists of Jennings’s daughter, Pam Setser, who sings and plays guitar, mountain dulcimer, autoharp and spoons; Roger Fountain on fiddle; Danny Dozier, who sings, plays guitar, mandolin, harmonica and slide guitar; and, Teresa Johns who sings and plays bass.
Roger Fountain started playing the fiddle at a very young age. He has played with several Bluegrass bands traveling to Bluegrass Festivals all over Arkansas and was Fiddler of the Year for the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America for four straight years, from 1977-1980.
Danny Dozier started playing guitar at an early age, playing in bands throughout high school and college during the mid 1960’s and early 1970’s.
He was the band leader for a country music show at the Mid-America Amphitheatre in Hot Springs in the early 1980’s called The Country Music Story, and also worked at The Grandpa Jones Family Dinner Theatre in Mountain View.
He won the Merle Travis Guitar Contest held at The Ozark Folk Center in 1991 and 2009. His guitar influences are Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Doc Watson, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Reed, and James Taylor.
As a young girl, Teresa Johns sang in a family gospel group, and later was part of the group, Fullness of Joy where she played piano and did vocals. Her family moved to Mountain View in 1990, and it was there she grew to love the different styles of music and instruments of the Ozark Mountain region.
She learned to play the upright bass and joined The Leatherwoods where for the past 11 years she has been a vocalist and bass player.
Pam Setser has been singing since she was five. She sang for years with her mother and dad as “The Simmons Family.” At the age of nine, Pam, along with her parents went to Washington D.C. representing Arkansas in a national festival.
Setser has won second runner-up in the National Wrangler Country Showdown talent contest which was held at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
She has performed with Grandpa and Ramona Jones, Joni Bishop, actress/singer Mare Winningham and The Whites. She now performs at times with nine different groups but to her, the “Leatherwoods is home!” While performing regularly at venues in Mountain View, she “loves traveling to perform.’
Pam has appeared on The Louisiana Hayride, You Can Be A Star, Nashville Now, Hee Haw, The Tonight Show, and recently on the HGTV feature, “Top Ten Christmas Towns,” showcasing Caroling in the Blanchard Spring Caverns near Mountain View.
Pam was chosen Musician of the Year in 2016 for the Ozark Folk Center and Mountain View Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen of the Year for 2017.
Gina Holderby started clogging lessons at seven and has been clogging for 27 years. For almost 20 years, she has been the instructor for the Ozark Rhythm Cloggers.
She started clogging with Leatherwoods when she was 12 and has won many local and state talent contests. Holderby competed at the USA National Clogging Championship for 12 years and with her team from Memphis, Delta Rhythm Cloggers, who were named National Champions in 2013. Gina was inducted into the NCHC Clogging Hall of Fame in 2009.
Tickets are available now for $15, $5 for students and can be ordered at hempsteadhall.com.