Band of Oz

Beach music group Band of Oz.

Carolina beach music group Band of Oz will perform its annual concert for the Disability Advocates and Resource Center (DARC) at the Greenville Rock Springs Center tomorrow night at 6:30.

Tomorrow night will be the tenth time the band has performed to raise funds for the DARC, which according to their website, is a non-profit agency serving Pitt, Wilson and Beaufort counties that provides aid to people with mental and physical disabilities. Funds raised from the concert will assist those with disabilities that are in emergency situations.

The group would change their name to Band of Oz in 1970 and have since gone through different lineups over the years, with many members from the Raleigh and Greenville areas. They have recorded numerous hits over five decades, including Ocean Boulevard, I Can’t Think and Somewhere Over the Rainbow, according to its website.

Executive director for the DARC, Helen Pase, offered her comments on the fundraising concert and the support it has received in the past. Pase said the concert is known to have a good turn out and she expects great attendance this year as well.

“This will be our tenth anniversary of having the event with the Band of Oz, People are very supportive and we’re happy to have them on our side,” Pase said. “We will have anywhere from 200 to 250 people there.”

Pase also said the concert is one of the most anticipated events on the DARC’s calendar each year, generating over $60,000 in the ten years since it began.

“The Band of Oz is probably the top beach band on the circuit right now, and people love them,” Pase said. “Their entertainment is over the top, when the end of October rolls around, people start to ask, ‘When are we having the Band of Oz again,’” Pase said.

With beach music’s popularity as a genre, the Band of Oz has managed to keep performing for the past five decades.

Manager David Hicks reflected on the band’s history and the variety that it offers. Hicks said its known for an ability to cover music from multiple decades.

“We play a variety of things and we do stuff from the 70s and 80s, as well as Motown,” Hicks said. “We’ve been in every major beach concert held in the South over the last 30 years.”

Hicks also spoke on the DARC concert and what it means to receive such support from the Greenville community.

“Helen hired us several years ago and every year we come back and do it. They’re a good group of people and they always have a good crowd. We always look forward to doing the show, it’s for a good cause,” Hicks said.

With nearly 300 shows a year, Band of Oz maintains a steady road presence. Traveling often means long stretches of time away from their families which causes a bond to form between the members of the group.

Guitarist Keith Houston spoke on the pressures of being a full time musician and what it’s been like to do it for so many years while also raising a family.

“It’s been great but you miss a lot of things with your family, but to be able to do something you love and enjoy is an honor,” Houston said. “The guys in the band are like part of the family.”

Houston also spoke on the DARC concert and what it means to support the fundraiser.

“It’s a great fundraiser and we are glad to have been apart of the event for years. The money that is raised goes to helping others and is so much more than one of us could do as an individual. Helen and her group always go the extra mile,” Houston said.

Tickets for tomorrow's nights performance are $25 for advanced purchases and $35 at the door. Details on the fundraiser and ticket purchases can be found on the DARC Facebook page.

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