The Isaacs to headline free Memorial Day concert
The Southern gospel group The Isaacs will perform during the city’s first Hometown Jam of 2021 on Memorial Day in Veterans Park.
Hendersonville Parks Director Andy Gilley said the idea of holding a free concert on Memorial Day was actually the group’s idea.
“They have a strong connection to veterans – they are big supporters of the military and first responders – and they wanted to do something to honor the military,” said Gilley.
For the group’s matriarch, Lily Isaacs, the sacrifices of World War II veterans hold special meaning.
“It was American soldiers and their British allies that helped liberate my parents from the concentration camps,” said Isaacs.
Born in Germany, Isaacs moved with her parents after the war to New York where she excelled in music and the theater arts. While performing as part of a folk duo in Greenwich Village, she met bluegrass musician Joe Isaacs. The two married in 1970 and started performing bluegrass gospel music together.
The couple’s three musically gifted children, Ben, Sonya and Rebecca eventually joined them as they became The Isaacs. Lily and Joe parted ways in 1998, but the group – now Lily and her three grown children – entertain across the globe with their rich harmonies and powerful melodies.
The multi-Dove award winning group performs frequently on the Grand Ole Opry and is active members on the Gaither Homecoming Videos and Concert Series.
The group also calls Hendersonville home, Isaacs noted.
“My whole family lives here – all three children and my grandchildren. We love the Hendersonville community and this is a way for us to give back in some way.”
The concert, sponsored by the Hendersonville Parks Department and Sumner County Tourism, will take place on Field #3 in Veterans Park not far from a historical marker celebrating the Isaacs’ accomplishments.
The family was recognized with a Tennessee Music Pathways historical marker in December near the entrance to the Mary’s Magical Place playground in the park.
A statewide driving tour, the Pathways program is comprised of hundreds of landmarks across the state that highlight artists in seven genres of music: blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll.
Currently there are Tennessee Music Pathways markers in honor of Johnny Cash (at the former House of Cash, 700 East Main Street and Taylor Swift (in front of Kids Kingdom, also on Main Street).
Gilley said the concert will be the first of several in 2021 as part of the Hendersonville Hometown Jam. The first Hometown Jam concert was held Oct. 1, 2019 and featured artists known across the globe who call the city home like Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith and Del McCoury.
The city has since sponsored a few smaller, socially distanced events in the wake of COVID-19.
The Memorial Day event will also honor local servicemen and women who have died in war with a video display, Gilley said. Residents are encouraged to send photos of loved ones they would like to see recognized during the service to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Around 1,000 free tickets will be available for the concert to allow for social distancing. Gilley says they’re going fast though with about half that number still available.
Gates will open at 12:30 p.m. on May 31 with the concert beginning at 2 p.m. Food trucks will also be available. Attendees are asked to bring their own seating. To reserve tickets, go to http://bit.ly/IsaacsHTJ.