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Big Smith to play final shows at Gillioz

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The six members of Springfield folk band Big Smith are hanging up their hats.

In May, the band will retire after more than a decade of performances across the Ozarks. On May 5 and 6, the band is scheduled to play its final concerts - titled "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen. Big Smith says Sayonara to Springfield" - at the Gillioz Theatre.

Dwight Glenn Productions, an independent concert promoter, is leading promotions for the final Big Smith shows. The Clever-based company also has partnered with the Gillioz with artists such as Gavin DeGraw and is promoting the March 14 Kelly Clarkson concert at Drury University's O'Reilly Family Event Center, owner Dwight Glenn said.

"The Gillioz Theatre and I feel honored that a group with the rich local history that Big Smith has established throughout 15 years of performing has decided to bring their career to a close in a setting that is rich with music history and is perfect for an intimate experience for their fans," Glenn said in a news release.

Peoples Bank of the Ozarks has signed on as a partner for the event to help raise funding for Ozarks Food Harvest. Print copies of the promotional posters at the events will be available for a $1 donation, which will be matched by Peoples Bank up to $1,000.

Big Smith comprises five cousins - Mark and Jody Bilyeu, Bill and Rik Thomas, and Jay WIlliamson - and its fiddle player, Molly Healey. The band, which officially formed in the fall of 1996, has earned a reputation for Ozarks-inspired music featuring the acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass fiddle and washboard.

The band's fifth studio album, "Kin," was produced earlier this year in downtown Springfield, according to a separate news release.

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