Grammy-winner highlights first Clovers & Co. benefit

By for CAES News
By Stephanie Schupska
University of Georgia

Country songwriter Hillary Lindsey is best known for composing award-winning songs for other singers. But on Saturday, March 21, at the first Georgia 4-H Clovers & Co. Benefit, she’ll be singing the songs she’s penned. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Ga.

She’ll be joined by humorist, author and syndicated columnist Darrell Huckaby, who will be the master of ceremonies and witty entertainment. The Georgia 4-H performing arts group Clovers & Co. will also present their show "Turn up the Music."

“We’d love to have people come and support Georgia 4-H and Clovers and Co.,” said Cheryl Varnadoe, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension 4-H specialist and Clovers leader. “This is the first benefit we’ve ever had like this.”

The benefit came about when Huckaby saw Clovers & Co. perform at a national convention. “He was very impressed with us and wrote an article about us,” Varnadoe said. “He said that he didn’t know if we put on shows for public, but he was going to become our biggest fan.”

That’s how the idea for the benefit started.

“It’s kind of neat that some of our alumni have come back to give back to Clovers & Co.,” she said.

Lindsey, a native of Washington, Ga., is a former member of Clovers & Co. and a Georgia Master 4-H'er in the performing arts vocal project. She’ll perform several of the hits she has written, which include Carrie Underwood’s No. 1 hit "Jesus, Take the Wheel,” which won Lindsey a Grammy for best country song.

She has also penned hits for Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood, Lee Ann Womack and Faith Hill, among others.

Clovers & Co. is composed of 42 vocalists, dancers, instrumentalists and production crewmembers ranging in ages from 11 to 19 from across the state. Their 45-minute show features music from the present and the past.

For 28 years, Clovers & Co. has helped more than 600 4-H'ers develop their performing-arts skills. Another famous alumna is country singer Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. Lindsay and Nettles, who is from Douglas, Ga., were roommates on Clovers & Co. trips, Varnadoe said.

After the show, Lindsay and Huckaby will sign autographs. Copies of the 4-H Clover Country CD, which features a few songs written by Lindsay, will be available for purchase.

Tickets range from $15 to $25 and can be purchased by calling (706) 542-4444 or online at Tickets will also be available at the door, but advanced purchase is encouraged for best seating.

Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.