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Greg Rowles returns home
'Star Search' winner returns to Stafford for benefit

Date published: 9/25/2007

by jonas beals

"Star Search," the long-running television show hosted by Ed McMahon, was the "American Idol" of the 1980s and '90s.

The show provided viewers with their first glimpses of many of today's biggest entertainers, and the roster of former competitors is impressive. Beyonce Knowles, Kevin James, Alanis Morissette, LeAnn Rimes and Dave Chappelle are just a few of the superstars who were judged on the "Star Search" stage. And they didn't all win, either.

Greg Rowles, however, did win.

Rowles was born and raised in Stafford. On Saturday, he returns home to perform at the Stafford Ruritan Club's annual fundraising concert.

"We always try to have music that has a local connection," club member Rick Frank said. "Our president is a former teacher, and he knew Greg from his high school days."

The Stafford Ruritans have two major fundraisers each year: a truck pull and a concert. This will be the sixth annual concert, and Rowles will join an impressive roster of past performers that includes The Seldom Scene and IIIrd Tyme Out.

Rowles continues the country-music theme of the concerts. He is a lifelong musician who started playing with his family band at an early age. He sings and picks the guitar in the style of his heroes Ernest Tubb, Faron Young and Conway Twitty.

Rowles shares something else with those troubadours. No offense to "Star Search," but Rowles has achieved true musical immortality; he has played a number of times on the Grand Ole Opry stage. "I believe this is the first time he's playing back in Stafford," Frank said.

The Ruritan Club was founded in 1928 in Holland, Va., and has had a strong local presence for decades. Proceeds from the concert go toward a number of community social programs including the Thurman Brisben Center and 4-H. Every year, the Stafford club makes a college scholarship available to a student at each county high school.

Jonas Beals: 540/368-5036
Email: jbeals@freelancestar.com

WHAT: Greg Rowles inconcert WHERE: Stafford High School auditorium WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m. WHY: Fundraiser for Stafford Ruritan COST: $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Tickets are available at Ukrop's, Picker's Supply and Second Bank & Trust.