Herrin 4th of July celebration to feature area band 'Egyptian Combo' | Community Spirit
HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - The Fourth of July celebration music and fireworks will be Wednesday, July 4 at Herrin City Park.
Admission is free and organizers say to bring your lawnchairs. Events will include:
- 6:30 p.m. - Music by Triple Schott
- 7:30 p.m. - Bandstand dedication
- 8 p.m. - Egyptian combo
- Dusk - Fireworks display
The dedication will be for a group of very young musicians that began rehearsing in Herrin and in Johnston City in 1961. Rick Linton, Lloyd Rainey, Butch Nevious, and Charlie Williams were soon joined by Lonnie Dixon, Nick Ridgeway, Doug Linton, Ellis McKenzie and Kevin Cox to complete the group.
The Combo was a regular performer at all the teen centers and happening nightclubs in the region and in 1964, the band hit it big with "Gale Winds," an instrumental written by band member, Lloyd Rainey. The single was listed on the pop charts nationwide and reached the top 10 in many cities, also selling in Europe, Australia and Canada. The band followed “Gale Winds” with several single releases that also received national airplay until 1967.
Linton, along with Nevious, Rainey and McKenzie volunteered for service in the Army in 1967, the middle of the Vietnam War. Their induction, in fact, was televised live on WSIL- TV 3.
Serving with the 101st Airborne Division, the band was flown by helicopter to perform for troops on the front lines at many different locations throughout Vietnam including firebases and hospital ships in the South China Sea. They were actually engaged in battle during the TET offensive and the four members were decorated with the Bronze Star and Army Commendation medals.
While four of the original members were in Vietnam, Doug Linton, Tim Montgomery, Harry Kinley, Jim Kirk and Michael Stergis keep the Egyptian Combo name alive on the home front performing at area clubs, proms and teen centers.
Always under the direction of one or more of the original members, the group has continued to perform as the Egyptian Combo. Ranging in size from four to seven pieces the Combo has always featured brass as the central part of their sound.
Over the past 50 years there have been 25 different musicians who have performed under the name “Egyptian Combo.” They came mostly from the Southern Illinois region with the majority being from Herrin, Illinois. Several members were also students of the legendary Herrin music instructor, C.B. Nesler as well as SIU and Murray State Music Departments.
All of the past members of the Combo have been invited to take part in the dedication July 4. The current group features founding member, Rick Linton, original member Doug Linton, 18-year member, Chris Thornton, original member (1967-1970), Tim Montgomery, newest members Steve Saunders, Bob Marlow and James Horaz.
The Combo has also been fortunate to be featured in one of Southern Illinois’ greatest events; The HerrinFesta Italiana, performing their 18th appearance on May 25 of this year.
The beautiful new bandstand in Herrin City Park has been dedicated as “The Egyptian Combo Bandstand” in honor of the many musicians who have kept the tradition of great music alive and represented the City of Herrin in the region and throughout the world for the past 50 years.
The Egyptian Combo would like to thank the group of longtime supporters and fans lead by Jim Gentile for making the proposal and thank the Herrin City Park Board Members for their unanimous vote to dedicate the new facility in the name of the Egyptian Combo.
The Combo would like to dedicate the concert to the memory of Ellis McKenzie of Herrin who passed away in 2007. Ellis played on three original recording sessions and was one of the four members who served and performed in Vietnam.
For more 4th of July events in the Heartland, you can click here to visit our events page.
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