Rehab telethon to feature big name hosts

Woody Gilliland, West Texas Rehabilitation Center president, has announced the line up of performers for the 31st annual telethon to benefit the Center. Scheduled for Jan. 13, the telethon will be carried by television stations in 12 markets in Texas and Oklahoma. Gilliland stated that this year’s telethon reflects the Center’s commitment to bring a fresh, new look to the show. He stated, “We have made every effort to add well-known contemporary performers to our cast of regulars.” This year’s show will feature one of the top female vocalists in country music and one of the best-known country music talk show hosts in the business. Lee Ann Womack, whose song “I Hope You Dance” garnered the Country Music Association’s coveted “Single of the Year” honor this year, will headline the entertainers for Rehab 2001. The talented singer is a Grammy-CMA and ACM-nominated vocalist. She grew up in Jacksonville and attended South Plains College in Levelland. Also appearing for the first time on this year’s telethon is one of the most respected talk show hosts in the country music genre. His career has spanned more than three decades and he is credited with launching the careers of a number of today’s country music’s superstars. He is best known for teaming with Lorianne Crook for The Nashville Network’s long running “Crook and Chase.” He also is a host for “Country Countdown,” a nationally syndicated radio show carried by nearly 500 radio stations nationwide. Also joining this year’s talent line up are the Geezinslaws. For many years, the Geezinslaws have been regulars on a number of shows on The Nashville Network. The Austin-based comedy duo combines their considerable musical ability with their down home comedic talents. Jay Michaels and his band, Company, will also be making their first appearance on the statewide telethon. Michaels is a popular vocalist and songwriter living in the Metroplex. He got his start in Abilene with the well-known band, Bareback. Regulars returning for the show include Peter Marshall, Anacani, Bill and Susan Hayes, Florence LaRue, Brad Maule and the Cooper Fiddlers. Nine-year-old Sidney Simpson of Abilene will also appear center stage during the show. Television stations in Abilene, San Angelo, Midland/Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Lawton, Okla., carry the telethon. In addition, the program is aired in Austin, Waco, Corpus Christi and Laredo. Continuing to use technology to the advantage of all the community it serves, West Texas Rehabilitation Center has unveiled the 2001 version of the Rehab BidSite, part of the Rehab 2001 event. The BidSite is live now and the public is invited to check it out in advance and place an early bid on the nearly 300 items merchants and individuals have contributed to make this year’s auction a success. The web address for the BidSite is the same as that for the Center, From the home page, the user can either go into the auction site and view the variety of merchandise and services available, or make a charitable gift for Rehab 2001, as well as discover information about the Center’s activities. New users who would like to use the system only need to go through a simple registration process in order to register as a bidder. A new feature used this year is that the calls from bidders during the Rehab 2001 telecast will be handled through the facilities and personnel of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, a major sponsor of Rehab 2001 Auction. Additionally, the back-end systems and servers that make the online part of the auction have been beefed up to handle several times the volume of hits that were received last year. An estimated $150,000 in merchandise has been donated for the auction board. There will be a one-hour live telecast on television stations in Abilene and San Angelo at 6 p.m. preceding the five-hour Rehab 2001 telecast. The auction will run 24 hours a day through midnight (Central Standard Time) on Saturday, Jan. 13. Bids will be accepted via telephone from 6 p.m. through midnight on Jan. 13 at the following numbers: (915) 793-4192 or toll-free at (866) 219-7013. A complete catalog of items available for sale will be published in the Abilene Reporter-News and the San Angelo Standard-Times on Saturday, Jan. 13. In Brady, bids will be taken at 597-2104 courtesy of the Theta Upsilon Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. The sorority has already received $350 in early contributions to aid the event and will be manning the phone lines from 7-10 p.m. the night of the event.

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