Ozark Hens

The Ozark Hens are from left, Jane Roellchen, Linda Galbraith and Donna McDonald.

Old tin roof, leaves in the gutter

A hole in the screen door big as your fist

And flies on the butter

Yellow jackets on the watermelon, honeysuckle in the air

Daddy turning on the sprinkler

Us kids running through it in our underwear

Flies on the butter (You Can’t Go Home Again) - Wynonna Judd

Hermann Area Crusade Against Cancer’s Celebration of Life benefit will be held Friday, June 14, at 6 p.m. in the St. George School gymnasium. Providing entertainment for the evening will be the Ozark Hens, an instrumental and three-part harmony vocal group of traditionalists that formed around a kitchen table fifteen years ago.

“We’ve known each other about 40 years, and always played music,” says Hen Donna McDonald. The group is made up of guitarist and fiddler McDonald, Jane Roellchen plays guitar and banjo and Linda Galbraith plays guitar and mandolin. The group hails from the rural New Haven - Washington area.

Donna says musically, they are influenced by gospel, bluegrass and folk. Their repertoire includes “Keep on the Sunny Side,” “Amazing Grace,” “Flies on the Butter” and originals, such as “Long Haul,” a song about one of the band member’s marriage.

The group is known for their vocal arrangements, since everybody sings.

“When we’re tight [vocally], it’s just awesome—it gives us chills,” says Donna.

She said she was inspired to play music from her Uncle Glenny, playing music with him since she was a little girl.

“He always had these country-western bands and I played the bass guitar in his band,” she said. “They were an old-time dance band and he and I played many dances together. I want to keep that legacy going.”

Uncle Glenny is still living and trying to teach Donna the steel guitar with a slide, though she says she’s not progressing too much. She has also sung in the church choir for over 40 years.

“Music is in my soul,” she says.

The group has had some substantial gigs over the years, playing at Silver Dollar City and the Meramec Music Theater in Steelville, but they consider their time spent playing nursing homes, just as significant.

The three women love the camaraderie of playing in a band.

“We get a tremendous amount of support from each other in all aspects of our lives because of this,” says Donna. “We’re best friends and into it through thick and thin for each other.”

The Ozark Hens will be playing from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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