Get ready to sing along with a Grammy-nominated folk music group that’s bringing back the sound of the 1960s.
Tickets are now available to see The Brothers Four in concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19 at the South Whidbey High School auditorium. Proceeds will benefit a number of vital nonprofit organizations on the island, including Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund, Small Miracles Medical Support Fund and the Whidbey Homeless Coalition.
Greenbank resident Karl Olsen, who sings and plays guitar as part of The Brothers Four, was just 3 years old when the original group was formed. The founding members were fraternity brothers at the University of Washington singing for peanuts who hit it big when a rival fraternity prank called them about an audition at a club in Seattle. An agent from San Francisco heard them perform and invited them down to California in 1959. They subsequently flew out to New York City and signed a contract with Columbia Records.
The Brothers Four found much success and influence in the 1960s. They performed at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, as well as for three other presidents. During the Vietnam War, the group flew into live action combat zones and entertained U.S. troops while they were deployed.
Their global hit recording of “The Green Leaves of Summer” from the 1960 film “The Alamo” was nominated for an Academy Award, and they performed the song on the Oscar awards international telecast.
Other classic folk hits include “Greenfields,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “Try To Remember,” “Yellow Bird,” “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” “Shenandoah” and “500 Miles.”
Olsen, the minister of music for Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland, was approached about joining The Brothers Four in 2008. Bob Flick, who plays the upright bass, is the last original member of the group.
“It’s great fun,” Olsen said. “It’s not too demanding, but I can still have my day job.”
Since then, he’s gotten to tour nationally and internationally with the group, including over 50 trips to Japan.
Olsen is looking forward to performing on Whidbey Island.
“To come home and sing for friends and family and a home crowd, has a special meaning,” he said.
When playing, the group prefers to stick mostly to its original catalog, which lends the opportunity for the audience to sing along.
“Mostly we stick with the oldies,” Olsen said. “After this many years, the folks coming to the shows know the repertoire.”
The Brothers Four is known for its rich three- and four-part harmony that the group has established over the years. Their all-acoustic presentation is bolstered with the sounds of guitars, banjo and upright bass.
Trinity Lutheran Church and the office of Kevin Lungren/Edward Jones in Freeland are sponsoring the concert and selling tickets for $30. Tickets are also available at Moonraker Books in Langley, Bayleaf in Coupeville and Click Music in Oak Harbor. They will be sold at the door for $40 on the day of the concert.