Country star Merle Haggard to headline Patsy Cline Classic

By Josette Keelor

The Winchester Education Foundation announced Wednesday that country music star Merle Haggard will headline the fifth Patsy Cline Classic at 7 p.m. Nov. 6, in the Patsy Cline Theater at John Handley High School.

Haggard follows previous headliners Willie Nelson, The Beach Boys, Wynonna Judd and LeAnn Rimes, said H. Russell “Russ” Potts Jr., executive director of the Winchester Educational Foundation.

“We wanted him all the way back to year one when we had Willy Nelson,” Potts said.

“Obviously he is just a superstar,” said Potts. “He has had 40 number one hits.”

Haggard’s first No. 1 hit was “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” in 1966.

A press release from Potts’ office said Haggard’s lyrics “are deceptively simple, the music exceptionally listenable.”

Potts said he expects Haggard will “perpetuate the great tradition of the talent that previously have, you know, appeared in our event.” Previous events have sold out or nearly sold out, he said.

“We believe [this show] will be a tough ticket.”

Tickets for the Nov. 6 show will be on sale starting at 6 a.m. Thursday, for $79.50, $59.50 or $39.50, Potts said. “So thus we’re able to attract various demographics and income strata and we’re really excited about the event.”

Proceeds will go to support a number of programs through the Winchester Educational Foundation, like scholarships for students, faculty incentives for advanced degrees, a new scoreboard for the Handley gym and field trips for the younger grades.

Potts said country music has “a good old boy” mentality among performers who tell each other which performance venues are worth their attention, and “they’ve all said very good things about the Patsy Cline Classic.”

Of Haggard, Potts said, “He’s an amazing performer that has stood the test of time.”

Tickets will be available starting at 6 a.m. Thursday at www.ticketfly.com.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com