By Landon James
The Kingston Trio brought a roof-raising UMW performance to UMW last Friday that could have easily stopped any pacemakers present in the audience.
The Trio, who burst onto the musical scene in 1957, sustained a packed Dodd Auditorium for an hour while delivering hit after hit of folk explosion.
Tickets sold to students for $10 a pop with identification. For those who sported gray hair, tickets were $35.
The UMW Orchestra added a nice emotional backing to the Trio, but the collaboration was entirely unnecessary. The Trio’s mountainous harmonies and folk prowess functioned perfectly well on their own.
The Trio quickly jumped into their first song after taking the stage, and before anyone knew it they were in for the ride of their lives.
For, as not many people know from a simple listen to their records, a ticket to a Kingston Trio show includes a full comedic set from the band members. It’s an entire entertainment package.
Bill Zorn on guitar and vocals, George Grove on guitar, banjo and vocals, and Rick Dougherty with—yet again—guitar and vocals, comprised the Trio and played all their major hits, “Tom Dooley,” “MTA,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and of course, “Scotch and Soda.”
In addition to a comedic routine and near-historic set list, the band was visually entertaining. Constant jokes, sound effects and antics made the old men on stage look like kids again.
It also made the audience love them even more.
Compared to the other big acts UMW has sponsored, the Trio and their music may have seemed a little outdated and out of place.
“It’s comfort food for the ears,” Grove told the audience.
Grove joked that the old-timers watching have heard their music from records, the young folks probably from camp, and one his friends backstage probably heard it in rehab.
During the band introductions, it was revealed that Grove had been playing banjo and guitar for the Trio for 31 years.
“He did less time for murder in Virginia,” Dougherty commented.
The set progressed smoothly and with each passing harmony there came another hot on its tail.
“Remember Woody Guthrie?” the band asked. With a “so do we,” the Trio jumped into a ravishing rendition of “This Land is Your Land.”
After finishing their set, the band just took up their instruments and left the stage.
“We always come back, we need the practice,” Zorn said returning, and the Trio jumped into “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
Harrell Spoons, a Spotsylvania resident, has been a fan of the Trio since the beginning.
“I thought the performance was great,” Spoons said.
Terry and his wife Cheryl— Fredericksburg residents who requested first-name mention only—enjoyed every minute of their time in the uncomfortable seats of Dodd.
“This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” Terry said.
Terry also thought the orchestra worked well with the band, despite his skepticism coming into the event. As far as he was concerned, the entire performance was fabulous and thoroughly enjoyable.
To Cheryl, the performance was more than she had expected or anticipated.
“I don’t usually go willingly to things like this,” Cheryl said, who obviously was not regretting her decision.
For one night, the Kingston Trio took UMW by storm, raining folk, laughter and genuine, good-natured music.