It was burgers and banjos at GreenTree Assisted Living & Memory Care Thursday afternoon.
Well, actually it was a banjo and a guitar. Musicians Dickie Parnell on the banjo and wife Kim Parnell on the flattop guitar did their rendition of “Dueling Banjos.” Folks gathered for the free concert — probably a hundred plus — remembered the tune from the 1972 movie, “Deliverance” in which a banjo and guitar were used as well.
In all, the duo provided nearly an hour of non-stop bluegrass, gospel and patriotic music for the enthusiastic crowd.
Another banjo staple, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” flawlessly rendered by Dickie, and the vocals and guitar runs by Kim, brought some whoops and handclapping. The audience sang along some, but especially with such classics as Al Brumley’s “I’ll Fly Away.”
The Parnells regularly present their music at the Community Freewill Baptist Church in Kiefer where Dickie has been pastor the past six years. He has been preaching longer and playing banjo even longer than that. The Parnells make some bluegrass festivals and jam sessions when they can, but their church work takes up a lot of their time.
Dickie retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 2014 after 36 and a half years at Sand Springs. Kim has been a Vet Tech for 32 years. They have been married for 13 years.
Dickie started playing stringed instruments at age 15; Kim started at age 11, and they have played together the past 15 years.
They also teach and encourage others to pick up an instrument and “sing for the Lord.”
“We like all kinds of music,” Dickie said. “Especially (we’re) fond of the ‘Third Tyme Out’ bluegrass band.” (That band was featured just last weekend at Bluegrass and Chili Festival in Wagoner).
The Parnells, themselves, play with the gospel bluegrass band ‘Jericho Crossing’.
Dickie, who also offered some harmonica backup for Kim’s vocals on Saturday, works part-time at Woodcraft “because he likes to wood-carve.” He builds Native American flutes.
“We absolutely love the life God has given us to live,” Dickie told the audience.