On Sunday, March 3, 1963, Patsy Cline, along with a large group of entertainers from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., came to Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., to perform a benefit concert for the family of disc-jockey Cactus Jack Call, who had been killed in an automobile accident in January that year.
Along with Patsy were Grand Ole Opry stars Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Dottie West, Billy Walker, Wilma Lee and her husband Stoney Cooper, and George Jones.
This was the last show that Patsy performed before she was killed in a plane crash in Camden, Tenn., on March 5. Also killed in that crash were Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and pilot Randy Hughes. To this day, March 5, 1963, is still referred to as the darkest day in the history of the Grand Ole Opry.
This year, on the 50th anniversary of that last concert in Kansas City, Kan., a Patsy Cline tribute concert will be held. The show, which will replicate the format of Cline’s last show, will take place at 1 p.m., Sunday, March 3, at the George Meyn Center inside Wyandotte County Park, located at 126th and State Avenue.
Like Cline’s last show, this concert will also be a benefit concert. Proceeds will benefit the children served at PACES, which provides emotional and behavioral health services for youth in Wyandotte County.
Musicians Fred Uzzell, Jim Winters, Kevin Jones and Chasity Jones will recreate Cline’s last performance. Tickets to the show are $15 each in advance, or $20 at the door the day of the show, and are available by contacting Melissa Bynum at 913-638-8589 or emailing Bynum_m@wmhci.org.
At the time of her death, the other two entertainers that were killed with her were better known in the country music world. After her death her legend was kept alive through her songs, stage plays and a movie of her life. In 1973, Cline became the first woman voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Country Music Hall of Fame, also located in Nashville, has an exhibit of Patsy Cline’s life, which will be there through June, 2013.
The tribute concert will include more information about Cline and others affiliated with that 1963 show. It promises to be a great tribute.