On Thursday Sept. 8, the Stephenville Senior Citizens Center hosted their annual Grandparents' Day dinner and program. To begin the evening's festivities, Senior Recreational Coordinator Sandy Morgan welcomed everyone, then recited a couple of humorous poems about being a grandparent.
After Mrs. Morgan's rib-tickling welcome, she introduced the evening's musical guests, Southern Anthem, a musical family from Goldthwaite, Texas consisting of lead singer Wendy Pausewang, who also plays guitar and saxophone and her children, 15-year-old Mikaela, who plays bass guitar, acoustic guitar, and shares vocal duties with her mother, 17-year-old Derek, who also does vocals and plays lead guitar, banjo, and mandolin, and 11-year-old Logan, who is quite the little phenom on the fiddle.
This talented group's top-notch musical skills and infectious harmonies have taken them to venues across the nation, they have performed in Branson, Missouri at the Wheelhouse Restaurant, Treasure Lake RV Park, and on shows such as the Buck Trent Breakfast Show and Wade Benson Landry's Swingin' Cajun Style. In 2012, they performed on board the General Jackson Showboat in Nashville, Tennessee as part of the Shotgun Red Show, which was later broadcast on RFD-TV.
As guest dined on a mouthwatering meal, consisting of fries, hushpuppies, cole slaw, and catfish, courtesy of the Stephenville Bass Club, the group kicked off their fast-paced, high energy show, which consisted of Country, Gospel, and Bluegrass favorites as well as some of their own original compositions.
Audience participation was a key factor in the show, "Happy Birthday" was sung to Jerry Land of the Stephenville Bass Club and audience member Sharon Latimer-Dozier. The group then challenged the audience to a guessing game where they'd play a song, then have everyone guess the artist.
Other highlights of the show included Logan Pausewang, who stole all the ladies' hearts with his take on the Temptations classic "My Girl", Derek's spin on "The Auctioneer", the group's version of "I've Been Everywhere (In Texas)", Mikaela's acoustic rendition of "Coat Of Many Colors" and a bone-chilling cover of "The Three Bells."
During the show's climax, leader Wendy Pausewang asked a special guest to come forward; at that time, her 4-year-old daughter Miranda took to the stage, sat on a stool, and tugged at everyone's heartstrings as she sang the popular hymn "What A Day That Will Be." Wendy also announced that the group would be returning to Branson in October to open for the Baldknobbers and Doug Gabriel, topped off with an appearance at the Jim Stafford Theater for the Terry Awards.
To close the show, the house lights were dimmed as the group played a teaser intro to "Folsom Prison Blues", Logan then took center stage, armed with his fiddle and a glow-in-the-dark bow resembling a "Star Wars" light saber and tore into "Orange Blossom Special" with bits of "Take The A Train" and "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" . This rousing number got just about everyone out of their seats for a standing ovation.
At the evening's conclusion, Mrs. Morgan returned to the stage to thank everyone for coming, the Stephenville Bass Club for the delicious meal, and the many volunteers, who helped serve. Kudos to the Stephenville Senior Citizens' Center for taking the time to salute a group of people who help make the world a better place, our grandparents.