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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hee Haw & Howdy: a tradition of charity and fun

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kacey Smith, right, sings "Big Deal" as the rest of the Hee Haw and Howdy cast cheers her on Thursday night at dress rehearsal.
(T-G Photo by John Philleo) [Order this photo]
The cast of Hee Haw and Howdy got together Thursday night for dress rehearsal in preparation for the group's opening performance Friday night.

The show is scheduled to be performed at 7 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, and next Friday and Saturday, April 3-4, at Harris Middle School.

Hee Haw and Howdy is in its 32nd year, according to organizers, and is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society's Bedford County Relay for Life.

Amanda Satterfield-Melton, left, and Blynda Vincent use humor to talk about a serious subject -- cancer -- at the rehearsal.(T-G Photo by John Philleo)
This year, the show is being directed by Wendy Stacy, chair of Relay for Life; her sister, Samantha Chamblee, Relay co-chair; Melanie Sliger, online chair; and Debbie Smith, music director.

"It's going very well," Stacy said. "We have lots of new people, as well as people who have been in it since the beginning."

The group has brought children back into the show this year in an effort to raise more money and to raise cancer awareness at an earlier age.

"I don't know how many years it's been since they've had kids in it, but it's been awhile," Stacy said. "It seems like more people come to see the kids, as well as getting the kids involved and aware of cancer, so it gets them involved in that aspect."

Stacy said the music will include good old country songs, old rock 'n' roll, and new country.

Sandy Graham sings "Honky Tonk Angel" with Terry Donegan on guitar.
(T-G Photo by John Philleo)
"So there's a variety," she said. "We even have a couple of Elvis songs in this year."

The show will include more of the skits from the original Hee Haw show this year, like "Grandpa, What's for Supper," the "Barber Shop Scene," "Ida Lee and Laverne," and the "Schoolhouse Scene" with Minnie Pearl, which will involve kids this year, according to Stacy.

Reserve seats, on the first five rows, are $10, and can be purchased in advance at The Hair Company. There are a limited number of them left, Stacy said.

Money saver seats bought in advance are $8, and can be picked up at Artistic Treasures, 50s and Fiddles and The Hair Company.

General admission seats at the door will be $10.

Fighting on

Pam Smith and Dean Pugh dance to "Honky Tonk Angel."
(T-G Photo by John Philleo)
Stacy and Chamblee lost their mother to the battle with cancer, so they throw their hearts into Relay.

Stacy predicted the country's tough economic times will present an extra challenge that can be overcome by more involvement. The group needs more relay teams and more people to contribute just a little bit, she said.

"Unfortunately -- despite the economy -- there are people getting diagnosed with cancer every day, so we have to continue to fight," Stacy said. "We are trying to make it one community coming together.

"We not only want to raise money, we want to be there for the cancer survivors as well as the caregivers and family members."

This year's Relay for Life will take place May 29 at Bedford County Agriculture and Education Center.

About Relay For Life

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's signature fundraiser, bringing communities together in hope, celebration and memory. The overnight event remembers those who have lost the fight against cancer and honors those who have survived.

Since 1985, Relay For Life has grown from one man, Dr. Gordy Klatt -- who walked, ran and jogged around a track for more than 24 hours to raise money for his local American Cancer Society unit -- to a national movement to eliminate cancer, according to a book about the Relay For Life. Now, more than 3.5 million people in more than 5,000 communities nationwide, and in 19 countries around the world, participate in the event each spring.

Last year, the event raised more than $450 million to fund the American Cancer Society.

-- Lifestyles editor Sadie Fowler contributed to this report.

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