(Waco, Texas)—The American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball has tapped Texas vocalist Becky Dean Boyer to sing the national anthem at the annual fundraiser in Waco, Texas.
Themed ‘Stampede on the Brazos,’ the ball will be held at the Waco Convention Center on Saturday, June 14, from 6 p.m.-midnight.
The Brazos River runs through Waco; it’s one of the longest rivers in the country.
Boyer describes herself as as a “traditional Texas values type.” She said she loves doing the National Anthem because it’s “a proud statement of our country’s independence.” Echoing others who perform it, she added, “It’s also a challenge to sing. I do it a cappella and strictly traditional.”
Boyer also shares something about the anthem many don’t know:
“There are four verses. I usually do two of them, the most well-known first verse and the fourth, which speaks of God’s blessing and protection and preservation of this great nation we love so much.”
Boyer has performed the anthem many times—for the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo, the Heart of Texas Rodeo, and other groups. She also sang the anthem at events featuring Sen. Brian Birdwell, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Gov. Rick Perry, and Vice President Dan Quayle among others.
Boyer’s work has led her to many venues over the years, but she says one gig that stands out in her mind was the first night she sang with Johnny Gimble and Texas Swing. “I was on stage with some of the true legends of country music, like Johnny Bush, Curly Hollingsworth, and Kenny Frazier.” That was the night they opened for Willie Nelson. “What a blast!” she recalled.
One profound moment came for her when she performed the anthem for the Wounded Warriors’ Ride to Recovery. “It was just so humbling,” she said, “to see the young men missing limbs, blind, and in wheelchairs, who’d fought and sacrificed so much just so we can still sing that song. I was shaking when I came off stage from looking into the eyes of a young soldier named Tim Brown who had lost both legs and one arm, but was smiling as me as I sang. I almost didn’t make it through that one.”
Boyer credits her family for supporting her love of music. “My grandmother was a piano teacher for many, many years, and my daddy had a beautiful tenor voice. I have tons of friends who support me and I’ve been honored to sing for several of our state and local government officials—receptions and parties.”
A number of musicians inspired the Texas singer, but she said “the amazing Cindy Walker who wrote so many of the great country hits” is special. She also values John Denver and groups like the Sons of the Pioneers’ music because they “can relax me more than any other artist.”
Boyer has special appreciation for country music titan George Strait, for personal reasons. “George’s dad was a dear friend for many years. He always told me I was his ‘foster daughter.’ I loved him so much.”
Favorite songs to sing, other than the “Star Spangled Banner”, include hymns like “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.” Boyer also enjoys singing the Patsy Cline classic, “Crazy.” Boyer said, “I’m pretty eclectic, but classic country, old time gospel, and Western Swing are my favorite genres.”
Like many other fine musicians from Texas, the state has a very special place in Boyer’s heart. “There’s that Texas pride,” she said. “I come from a long line of proud Texans, and I don’t think I can put my feelings any better than John Steinbeck did: ‘Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.’”
Western swing, a genre Boyer favors, was born in Texas, and it was declared the official music of the state by the Texas Legislature in 2011.
Boyer will also be performing at the same venue where another legend performs—John Anderson. Anderson recently released an anthology of his many hits, and his influence on country music is enduring.
This year’s ball in Waco, the 22nd, is hosted by Leti Deaver & Laura Veselka, Event Chairs, and Honorary Chairman Hal Whitaker. Ticket and event information is posted on the ACS Event website.
(Filed by Kay B. Day/June 12, 2014)