Chuck Wagon Gang concert enjoyed by fans near and far

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Concert-goers Sarah Burdin, left center, and Nelda Chadwick, right center, pose with members of the Chuck Wagon Gang

Fans from a wide area visited Rector Thursday night, March 13, as the world-famous gospel performers The Chuck Wagon Gang performed at the Rector Community Center.

The event was brought to Rector through the efforts of long-time local radio host and performer Tommy McDonald and Rector's own Joey Pruett. McDonald, who began performing gospel songs with his family in 1965, has been contacted by the Chuck Wagon Gang through its various incarnations over the years whenever they were in the area and had an open date. McDonald has found performance areas for the group, which has sold over 39 million albums in its 71-year history.

Many are familiar with McDonald through his "Tommy Mac Show," broadcast on 96.3 FM, 860 AM and 910 AM from 6 to 11 Sunday mornings. McDonald's voice has been traveling along the airwaves for more than 30 years.

McDonald says bringing in performers like The Chuck Wagon Gang can help a small community like Rector.

"Really, Rector is the ideal location for something like this," McDonald said. "You can draw people from Paragould, Marmaduke, Piggott, Corning, Kennett and all of the small communities nearby. I believe small towns can grow from hosting shows like this. It brings people into your town and lets them see what you have to offer."

Pruett agrees with the idea of promoting Rector by offering events such as gospel concerts.

"We had people from all over come to Rector for this show," Pruett said. "There were people from as far away as Oklahoma, Mississippi and Tennessee to be here. It really is a great opportunity for us to show the type of community we have here."

McDonald also took the stage, as he and his T-Mac Band opened the show with a performance which also saw the inclusion of Pruett.

"There's such a history with gospel music," McDonald said. "These songs never seem old. They touch us as much now as they did all those years ago. I think that's why people will travel like they do to hear groups like The Chuck Wagon Gang."

Group members Stan Hill, Julie Hudson, Penny Greene and Dave Emery were a hit with fans both on and off the stage at the Rector Community Center.

"They were just happy to be here and dedicated to what they do," Pruett said. "It was a really good performance. They even stayed around after the show and just talked with the people who were there. I think everyone there really enjoyed it."

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