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Tammy Wynette Stars : Museum Goes Country For Fund-raiser Theme

September 04, 1987|MARK CHALON SMITH

Dust off that Stetson, get out those bolo ties, light that barbecue. Tammy Wynette's coming to the Newport Harbor Art Museum.

As centerpiece of the Newport Beach museum's 25th anniversary fund-raiser, Wynette, the Nashville singer known for such country and western hits as "Stand by Your Man" and "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," will perform at 8 p.m. Monday.

The whole shebang starts at 4 p.m. and runs till 10. There'll be a barbecue, square dances and Texas two-steps, and all sorts of people in western style duds. Tickets range from $75 to $5,000; the goal, according to museum spokeswoman Kathy Bryant, is to raise $60,000 to $70,000.

But this is an art museum, right? What happened to the tuxedoed string quartet, the melodies of Liszt and Bach? "We think casual is better," Bryant answered, "and this show is perfect for us. A lot of people hate black tie parties and this certainly isn't a black tie party."

"This is a celebration of the museum and a celebration should be a celebration," added Sam Goldstein, a fund-raising organizer who's a former country and western record producer. "This will be fun music and a fun time. There are people who hate country and western like there are people who hate contemporary art, but that's not going to make a difference here."

Actually, Goldstein expects to hear a lot of people saying "come back now, y'hear?"

Bryant noted that it's not the first time the museum has turned to "themes" for its fund-raisers. Last year, its summer party capitalized on the patriotic fanfare surrounding the Statue of Liberty's 100th anniversary. In 1984, the Olympics in Los Angeles was the focus. "We are just trying to make things interesting for people who want to help us out," she said.

Bryant said Wynette was chosen because "she's a very good performer, who has many fans." The 44-year-old singer started recording in Nashville in the mid-1960s after working as a waitress, barmaid and beautician. Since then, her records have sold 18 million copies, she has won three Grammy awards and she's been chosen top female county vocalist by the Country Music Assn. three times.

Wynette's life story (she's been divorced four times and has had her share of career ups and downs) was dramatized in a 1981 CBS movie, "Stand by Your Man." Wynette herself had an acting stint last year on CBS's "Capitol" soap opera.

Also performing at the benefit will be Jeff Pearson, the former Huntington Beach singer known primarily for his local 1984 hit, "Orange County Cowboy."

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