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Ebert Brothers Family & Friends Begin Season of Shows

September 19, 2018
Wetzel Chronicle

The Ebert Brothers Family and Friends group will be starting its 51st year of shows on Saturday, Sept. 22. Showtime begins at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Theater, in downtown New Martinsville.

The Eberts are musical legends in the area, and their story is worth repeating.

The family grew up in West, near New Martinsville in Wetzel County.

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The Ebert Brothers Family & Friends, the beginning years.

Brother Norbert learned to play fiddle at a very young age by listening to songs played on a battery radio, and playing by picking the melodies. Brother Ray played by ear learning to play guitar at the age of five.

"In his early teens he was gifted with a mandolin, and he mastered it," sister Pat Ebert Heslep previously reported during an interview with the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

In their early gigs, the Eberts were known as the Ohio Valley Boys, and so began their lifelong journey. The band was made up of Keith Anderson, vocalist; Jerry Drain playing standup bass, Norbert Ebert on fiddle and Ray Ebert on mandolin.

They played throughout the Ohio Valley. The brothers later formed a square dance band and played near and far. Later, Gary Ebert joined his brothers Norbert and Ray in the New Martinsville-based band.

"Norbert realized he (Gary) had talent and bought him his first set of drums. He later joined the group, and also provided percussion for theatrical programs," Pat had stated.

Pat Ebert Heslep joined her three brothers in the band as a singer at about the age of 13. Ray and Norbert also sang as a duet.

"Their harmony, like most family members, was perfect," Pat said.

During the 1970s the group did a West Virginia state park tour, being the first country music group to do so.

Norbert Ebert has since passed away, but he is remembered as the originator, the visionary, and driving force of the group.

In 1968, Norbert Ebert put together a variety show to raise funds to help with restoration of the Lincoln Theater, New Martinsville's community theater. It has become the longest running show of its kind in West Virginia, Pat said.

Over the years, the shows have been a vehicle to raise money for many people in need, as well as local charities.

When Norbert passed, it was his wish to have this venue to continue and it has through the leadership of his brother Ray.

Many people from Nashville performed during the years and many shows were sold out and people had to be turned away, Pat said.

Pat has said that the siblings are "indebted to our parents who encouraged us and told us we had 'God given talents' and we had to use it."

"(We were) never looking for or seeking fame and certainly not 'fortune'; it has always been about family and giving thanks for the ties that music has provided."

Headling the Sept. 22 show will be a group from St. Marys, Gary Tuttle & the Country Club Band.

"These are great entertainers, and Gary is one of the nicest persons you will ever meet," noted the Eberts in their Sept. 22 show announcement. "They do a great job. It's been a couple of years since they've been on the show, so you don't want to miss them."

Also appearing on the Sept. 22 show is Mrs. Sandy Brookover, from Sardis, Ohio. Brookover is described as a great singer and also a great person. The Eberts compare her to "like family."

Kevin Johnson will close out the list of Sept. 22 headliners. Johnson hails from St. Clairsville, Ohio. The Eberts describe him as "multi-talented," as Johnson plays several instruments and is a talented singer.

Regular Ben Tharp will also make an appearance on the show, along with fiddler extraordinaire, Wyatt Kidd. Kidd also has mastered the banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass, and drums.

If the star-studded headline entertainment isn't enough for spectators, don't forget about the regular cast of the show, including Dana, Johnny, Ron, Gary, Ray, Pat, and Teresa. The Eberts describe their staff band as "the greatest group of musicians anywhere."

"They are just like family."

Sept. 22 sound will be by Pat Henderson, and lighting by Donna Earley. Stage manager is Danny Billiter, and emcee is Carmen Harman. Sponsor coordinator credits go to Delbert Lasure.

Advance tickets for the show are available now at the cost of $9. Cost is $10 at the door of the Lincoln Theater on the night of the event.

According to the Eberts, they could not book the theater on the date they wanted in October, so there will not be any October show. Following the September show, the November show will be Nov. 10.



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