Not every city has a mayor who plays a banjo in a band.
Oak Ridge does.
Mayor Tom Beehan and five other musicians are members of The Ridge City Ramblers. The band will perform at Oak Ridge’s third Rock to Bach Music Festival on Jan. 26 at the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Pollard Auditorium.
The Ridge City Ramblers sing and play Americana, bluegrass, folk, and gospel music.
“United by our love of music, grateful that the mayor can get us gigs, eternally confused about our name, we are The Ridge City Ramblers,” the band says on its Facebook page.
Besides Beehan, who also plays guitar, members of the band are Gary Coleman on bass, Mary Tuskan on guitar, Scott Linn on mandolin, Abbie Hoerner on fiddle, and Steve Reddick on guitar and occasionally banjo.
Reddick also entertains the audience with his humorous introductions of the music and musicians.
“Rock to Bach” is an all-day music festival (10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.) presented by the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association as a benefit for ORCMA music organizations, such as the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
Seventeen groups or individuals will perform rock, pop, blues, bluegrass, folk, jazz, gospel, Big Band, swing, klezmer, country, and classical music.
Two well-known performers will be jazz and blues saxophonist Greg Tardy, who has moved to East Tennessee from New York City, and Kelle Jolly, gospel and soul singer, songwriter and ukulele player.
Other performing groups are Early Bird Special Band (rock ‘n roll, gospel, folk); Little Big Band (swing); Oak Ridge Suzuki Strings (pop, bluegrass, classical); University of Tennessee Trombone Choir (classical, pop); Tennessee Tech Tuphonium (big and small tubas); Oak Ridge High School Band; and the Tanasi Winds, a woodwind quintet that performs popular and classical music.
Other performing groups will feature Dan Allcott, ORSO conductor and cellist with four cellists from Tennessee Tech, and the Sequoyah Strings, students of Karen Kartal, ORSO concertmaster.
The performances will be in two venues: the auditorium and in the lobby. Each presentation will be approximately 25 minutes long. This event will be staffed entirely by volunteer workers, and all performers are volunteering their talents.
Lunch (noon to 1 p.m.) will be catered by Soup Kitchen. Dinner (6 to 7:15 p.m.) will be catered by Razzleberry’s Ice Cream Lab and Kitchen. Matthew Bak, appearing as J. S. Bach, will play classical music on the piano in the background.
The cost for dinner is $35. Reservations can be made by calling (865) 483-5569 or e-mailing [email protected].
The festival will include a silent auction. Coffee, tea, water and soda pop, along with homemade baked goods and snack foods in packages, will be sold by ORCMA volunteers.
The cost of the festival is $12 per person and $30 for a family of 3 or more persons. Children 12 years old and under will be admitted for free.
Attendees receiving a hand stamp may leave and return as they please during the daylong festival. For more information, call the ORCMA office at (865) 483-5569 and visit the ORCMA website at www.orcma.org (click on Rock to Bach link on home page).