DeSoto Magazine July 2016

Page 72

much of young Oak Ridge Boys, when everything we were releasing was going to the top of the charts. They are young, have a wealth of talent, and are beaming with energy. I loved working with them. In fact, I’m ready to go on a world tour with them,” said Allen. Speaking of tours, the Oaks can still be found out on the road every year. For the second year, the group will be part of a Country Music Cruise that takes place January 27 to February 3, 2017. The cruise will visit locations such as Cozumel, Key West and Costa Maya and will depart from Tampa, Florida. Vince Gill, Lee Greenwood and Charley Pride are a few other country music artists who will be in attendance. The cruise provides nightly concerts and plenty of meet-and-greet opportunities. Some of the Oak Ridge Boys members have branched out into works of art as well. William Lee is a painter and photographer, with an emphasis on landscapes. “Since childhood I have always loved the stunning beauty of nature - landscapes, seascapes, sky, sunsets, and being outdoors. Touring and singing with The Oak Ridge Boys 175 days a year for 50 years, we see a wide range of beautiful scenery -- from mountains, plains, rivers, lakes, beaches, sunsets -- and each landscape is different. I have also had the 72 DeSoto

opportunity to visit some of the world’s greatest art museums.  I started painting landscapes in 2002 using my photographs for reference in the studio of my hotel rooms while on tour,” he said. Being a very slow painter it takes him months to finish some paintings.  In 2008, he got his first digital camera and became more serious about fine art photography. “With more than 50,000 photo images on my computer I started sharing some with friends and followers on social media and am amazed at the wonderful response for my photos. It was gratifying to be invited to have a showing of my art and photography at the Pensacola Museum of Art for 28 of my original paintings, as well as the the new Pensacola Airport where my photography have been showcased as part of the Viva Florida 500-year celebration of discovery.” Joe Bonsall authored a book or two, most recently an inside look at the Oaks’ 40 years. “I am not sure how easy it was to write although my head is chock full of all kinds on history and stories and such, but I will say it was a labor of love. Much like honoring my parents with GI Joe and Lillie I have been honored to write about my singing partners and our amazing career,” Bonsall said.