Statehood Dinner Benefits Historical Society

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Help preserve Payson history and enjoy celebrating Arizona's birthday Feb. 10.

The Northern Gila County Historical Society is sponsoring the dinner at the bingo hall in Mazatzal Casino beginning at 5 p.m.

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The music Americana as performed by the Booher Brothers - Ben, Brendan and Gabe -- is the featured entertainment at the Statehood dinner. Feb. 10 is the date for this event, sponsored by the Northern Gila County Historical Society.

The evening will feature music by The Booher Brothers -- Ben, Brendan and Gabe.

The Booher Brothers grew up with their five older siblings on a small farm in beautiful Scotts Valley near Yoncalla in Western Oregon. In fact, they and their sister, Meriwyn, were born in their country home.

There was always music in their ears: their father would be on the piano playing Stephen Foster, or on the accordion, squeezing out schottisches and polkas; their older brothers working out songs for their four-piece band; Rudi getting up at four in the morning practicing for the fiddle contests; their mother playing old records of Jim Reeves, Slim Whitman, Eddy Arnold, Marty Robbins and the Sons of the Pioneers.

The boys settled in Central Oregon in 1998, but their roots are planted deep in the soil of their birth, and they love going back to the "Home Ranch" to visit their parents, Mike and Dolores Booher -- for haircuts and their mother's home cooking.

From 1993 through 1998, Ben, Brendan and Gabe Booher traveled with their parents and siblings, booked as "The Booher Family." They toured the U.S., Canada, and Europe, performing at fairs, festivals and various other venues, with their signature approach to a broad variety of American music. For six years (1998-2004), the boys performed regularly with their sister Meriwyn at their family-owned and operated "Diamond B Chuckwagon," a cowboy supper and western show in Central Oregon. Blending traditional tunes with gospel, swing and cowboy, the Boohers have played before audiences as distinguished as the president of the U.S., and on the critically acclaimed radio program, "A Prairie Home Companion."

With their five older siblings married and raising families of their own, the three youngest of the Booher family, Ben, Brendan and Gabe, now booked as The Booher Brothers, continue the family's tradition with their unique program of Americana. The trio, with its strong harmonies accented by superb musicianship, is perennial favorites to audiences large and small, and consistently offers up a complete, family friendly entertainment experience.

About Ben

Picking up the fiddle at age 6, Ben joined in with the family performances, and soon after began competing at fiddle contests. In his early teens, he learned to play the upright bass from older brother Justin. In 1994, with the older boys in college, Ben took over the bass job in the family shows. He also plays mandolin and guitar. Ben still enjoys picking up the fiddle occasionally and playing a tune. In The Booher Brothers' performances, Ben has the yeoman's work on the bass, energizing the audience with his rhythmic, lightning fast playing. Ben's lead vocals and beautiful cowboy yodeling inspire and delight every audience.

About Brendan

Brendan's love for the fiddle began at the tender age of four. Inspired by his older brothers, Chris, Rudi and Justin, Brendan learned to play by ear. From age 5 through 12, Brendan brought home a first place trophy every year from the Oregon State Fiddle Contest. Then he really got in to the "swing" of things, strongly influenced by the sound of Western Swing fiddle player Johnny Gimble. Like his brothers, Brendan plays a variety of instruments, but is best known for his dazzling fiddle playing and Marty Robbins-style guitar picking. His strong improvisational skills guarantee that no song is ever played twice the same way. Brendan's fine tenor voice adds to the unique Booher Brothers sound.

Brendan teaches fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, and is the director of the annual Booher Family Music Camp. (www.boohermusiccamp.com)

About Gabe

When Gabe was just a babe, 2 years old, to be exact, a friend loaned him an eighth-sized fiddle, and Gabe was on his way to being a fiddler in the Booher Family Band. At 2-1/2, he could play through the first half of "Boil the Cabbages Down," and was part of the show. He was a cute little redhead, with his shirttail always on the verge of hanging out! Gabe also played in the contests, and brought home a couple of 1st place "pee-wee" trophies. At about age 8, Gabe picked up the mandolin, and then at 15 he switched to rhythm guitar. Although the youngest of the Booher Brothers, Gabe's solid rhythm guitar playing is the backbone of the band. His warm baritone lead voice, and deep bass parts on the Brother's tight three-part harmonies are truly wonderful.

Tables for the Feb. 10 dinner, with seating for 8, are $1,000. The proceeds will help preserve local history.

Seating is limited. Tickets must be purchased by Jan. 15. For more information call (928) 474-9110.

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