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Country stars jam for St. Jude benefit

Samantha Bissing, Entertainment Editor, Commentary
April 8, 2014
Filed under Entertainment

Country music filled the Meyer Theatre for a benefit concert for the St. Jude Children’s Research Center on March 30.

American Young opened the night. The group consists of artist Jon Stone and Kristy Osmunson, seasoned vets in songwriting, composing hits for top country superstars Rascal Flatts, Lee Brice, Kenney Chesney and more.

Many of the audience members snickered as Osmunson came to the stage in a camouflage crop top T-shirt with a hot pink tank top underneath, black leggings and sparkly gray boots. But, known for her fiddle playing, vocal talents and a personality to match, she got the crowd clapping to the beat.

Osmunson helped record hits on her fiddle for stars including Joe Nichols, The Catlin Brothers, Justin Moore and more.

“I loved her outfit,” said Joelle Selisson of Green Bay. “She is true to her personality and it made their whole performance better.”

Stone was quick to make fun of Osmunson’s outfit and Osmunson welcomed it throughout their opening.

Eric Paslay came to the stage solo, switching up his set as an audience member yelled out a request to play his song “If the Fish Don’t Bite.”

Jon Pardi and his lead guitar and bass player followed Paslay. All came to the stage with a drink.

When it came time for the fourth and final artist to come to the stage, Craig Campbell, there was some time to fill.

Campbell’s flight to Green Bay was delayed and when it was his time to take the stage his flight was just arriving at the airport.

Pardi didn’t go anywhere. He and his band mates played on and soon were joined by Paslay and American Young. All three acts united on stage playing songs they all knew as the crowd got more than they bargained for.

“It’s why I love country music,” said Megan Rubens of Green Bay. “Everyone is down to earth – no divas acting like it was a burden to their time to keep playing.”

Campbell joined the others and helped them finish their last song before he finished out the night with a performance of his own.

“Stuff like this doesn’t happen often,” Selisson said.  “Sure it wasn’t suppose to happen, but it was awesome to see and I don’t think anyone is complaining.”

The concert was hosted by country music radio station Y100.

Throughout the night, video clips played from parents whose children have survived their health battles because of the work at St. Jude.

A few children survivors were in the audience. Most of the performers interacted with them, bringing autographed memorabilia out to them or just saying hello.

A mother brought her son to the stage and spoke about her family’s experience and how if it weren’t for St Jude they would not be celebrating his second birthday next week.

According to the Y100 website, since the beginning of 2014, Y100 listeners have raised $3.6 million through radio-thons and the St. Jude Jam will only add to the efforts.

“You can’t beat four country performances and helping support St. Jude all at one time,” Rubens said. “The night was great. I wish more concerts were like this.”