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When to hold ‘em

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The unfortunate circumstances surrounding an upcoming concert in Watertown could actually become the basis for a country music song.

Earlier this year, the Disabled Persons Action Organization announced the lineup for the DPAO/Toyota/Car-Freshner Summer Concert Series. The Aug. 3 concert at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds Arena was originally scheduled to feature country music legend George Jones.

The local event was going to be part of the 81-year-old singer’s yearlong farewell tour. Mr. Jones performed sold-out concerts in Clayton in 1986 and in Watertown in 1997.

But then Mr. Jones was hospitalized April 18 with a fever and irregular blood pressure. He eventually died from hypoxic respiratory failure April 26 in Nashville.

This compelled organizers of the Summer Concert Series to name a replacement for Mr. Jones. The DPAO graciously offered ticket holders the option of getting a refund but asked that people wait until a new headliner was named to make such a request.

In May, it was announced that country music star Randy Travis would perform in Mr. Jones’s stead. Mr. Travis had performed in the Summer Concert Series in both 1988 and 2004. The DPAO set May 17 as the deadline to request a refund for the George Jones concert.

But earlier this month, Mr. Travis was hospitalized with viral cardiomyopathy. This led to congestive heart failure, and Mr. Travis suffered a stroke. The 54-year-old singer remains in critical condition following surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.

The DPAO had to cancel the Aug. 3 event. Immediately, it announced that. Charley Pride would perform at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds on Aug. 30.

Tickets to both the George Jones and Randy Travis concerts will be honored at the event featuring Mr. Pride. People who wish to receive a refund should call the DPAO at 315-782-0044 by July 26.

We hope, though, that ticket holders will opt to attend the concert featuring Mr. Pride. The annual Summer Concert Series is a benefit for the DPAO, and there is no doubt that those who attend the musical event will be just as entertained.

No one could have predicted the tragic events that led to the necessary changes in this concert. The death of Mr. Jones and debilitating illnesses that struck Mr. Travis have jolted those in the country music industry as well as their many fans.

It’s important to note, however, that DPAO organizers of the Summer Concert Series came through like the professionals they are given all that has transpired in the past few months. They dedicated themselves to the saying, “The show must go on,” and they are ensuring it does.

The DPAO has a huge stake in seeing this event through to completion. The group offers extraordinary services to people with developmental disabilities and their families. Like many other similar groups, the DPAO must often carry out its work with limited revenues.

And these sources are on shaky ground. The DPAO and other agencies were threatened with a 6 percent cut in their Medicaid funding from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities earlier this year. But the state recently said it was withdrawing its plan for the reductions.

We truly hope country music lovers who purchased tickets to the George Jones and Randy Travis shows will hold on to them for the concert being performed by Mr. Pride. The patience that people have exhibited during this time has been commendable. The DPAO needs the support, and Charley Pride will offer a memorable show.

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