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Archive for Sunday, March 25, 2001

Singer lands national radio gig

Towanda musician to perform on ‘Prairie Home Companion’

March 25, 2001

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— A southeast Kansas man is a little nervous about his next singing gig.

Andy Newbrey has sung his gospel songs in concerts in Kansas and Oklahoma and has made a compact disc, but he's got butterflies in his stomach about being featured April 21 on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion."

The syndicated radio program reaches nearly 2.6 million listeners each week.

"I usually don't get nervous," said the Towanda tax preparer for H&R Block.

"But singing live on national radio that does make me a little nervous."

Newbrey was selected from more than 2,500 applicants nationwide to perform in a segment called "Talent from towns of less than 2,000."

"I just sent in my demo tape to see what would happen," said Newbrey, who has listened to the show since his college days. "I thought there must be a lot of people out there who are a lot better than me."

Last week, Newbrey got a call from programmers telling him that his tape had been chosen.

He immediately called his wife, Michelle, who owns a veterinary clinic in Towanda.

"She's been listening for a long time, too, so she thought it was pretty neat," he said. "She yelled in my ear."

Newbrey will fly April 20 to St. Paul, Minn., to rehearse for the Saturday show, where he will sing gospel songs for 15 to 20 minutes and tell Keillor, a broadcaster and author, about Towanda.

Newbrey's segment could appear any time during the two-hour program.

Newbrey says he's not sure exactly what he will say about his town of about 1,500 people.

"Oh, probably just tell them what it's like, what's here," he said.

"We've got the Rusty Bucket, Red's Cafe, Wilbur's Market. It's a nice little town."

Folks who routinely sip coffee at the Rusty Bucket Cafe have April 21 marked on their calendars.

It's not often one of their own gets on national radio.

"I'm sure we'll all be listening," said Betty Austin. "Everyone around here knows each other. It's exciting."

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