Who Are The Oak Ridge Boys? Group Sings 'Amazing Grace' at George H.W. Bush’s Funeral

The Oak Ridge Boys were the first to perform at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral on Thursday in Houston. Before he died, the 41st president said he wanted the group to perform at his hometown service. The group started traveling with suits if they received the call that the president died, The Tennessean wrote. When they heard the news on Friday, they prepared to board a private jet after a concert in Spokane, Washington, to fly to Houston.

“It’s what you do for friends,” the Oak Ridge Boys’s Duane Allen told the outlet.

“President Bush means so much to us,” group member Richard Sterban added to The Tennessean. “George Bush requested before he passed away that we sing ‘Amazing Grace,’ his favorite song, at his funeral. There's no way we wouldn't do it. He always taught us to do the right thing, and it is a tremendous honor. One final time here on this earth, we're going to sing it for him and we believe in our hearts we'll see him again one day and we'll sing it for him again.”

Four weeks before the 94-year-old president died from vascular Parkinsonism, the Bush family told the group that he was ailing.

Bush first became a fan of The Oak Ridge Boys in the 1980s when he was vice president. They were slated to perform at a barbeque at the White House, but Bush was going to miss the service. He asked the group to perform for him privately.

Oak Ridge Boys George W H Bush Funeral Members of the Oak Ridge Boys arrive for a funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush at St. Martins Episcopal Church on December 6, 2018 in Houston, Texas. President Bush will be buried at his final resting place at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. A WWII combat veteran, Bush served as a member of Congress from Texas, ambassador to the United Nations, director of the CIA, vice president and 41st president of the United States. David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images

“That was the start of our relationship with George H.W. Bush,” Allen said. “We sang for him at his call after that. We’d fly to Kennebunkport (Maine) with our wives, and stay in their house and spend the summertime with them together. We last went two years ago and had lunch with them. Those were some of the most special times in our lives.”

Bush died eight months after his wife of 73 years, Barbara. He will be laid next to Barbara and their daughter, Robin, at his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station. Robin died at the age of three from leukemia in 1953.

Reba McEntire also performed at the service. She shared a picture of him on Instagram writing, “My favorite.”

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