Every winter, Claude Pardue has a concert with big guest stars in a benefit for the Pardue Family “Children in Need” Fund. The benefit, with some golf courses’ benefits the rest of the year, provides funds for kids from across the region from orphan homes, and moms and children from shelters for battered women, to have outings to movies, Family Kingdom, etc.
This year, the special guests are Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., two married and original members of the 5th Dimension, playing Jan. 21 at the Alabama Theatre in North Myrtle Beach and whom we first interviewed in October 2013. We talk with Mr. Pardue about just how this relatively unknown charity does its work and grows annually.
Rounding up joy to share comes naturally for the Pardue Family “Children in Need” Fund, especially with continued public turnout for an annual, star-studded concert.
For the fourth annual night of entertainment, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., two married and original members of the 5th Dimension, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Alabama Theatre in North Myrtle Beach. They follow in the footsteps of Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, who played in 2011 and 2013, and Ben Vereen in 2012.
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Claude Pardue, a father of four grown children and the owner of Mystical Golf, which comprises three courses in the Conway and Carolina Forest areas, spoke about how this foundation, begun 11 years ago, has grown, making a difference across the Carolinas, and into Georgia, for orphaned youth, and women and children in shelters from domestic violence situations, by giving them special outings to places such as movies, and Family Kingdom and Carowinds amusement parks.
He also thanked the personnel at other golf entities across the Grand Strand for each helping in their own way to keep the foundation’s work moving forward.
Question | What network of goodwill among people has carried this foundation to bigger heights to help through the years?
Answer | We have three other fundraisers; it’s not just the concert. We had the 11th year of our Christmas Child Golf Tournament on the Saturday before Christmas; that’s a big part of our fundraising efforts, too. We also have two other fundraisers. We get a huge sum of donations from golf courses in the area and set up collections; we get good, used golf head covers, gloves, putters and all kinds of things donated. People buy them and drop a few dollars in our donation bin. At our Man O’ War golf course, we started this six to seven years ago just to raise some extra money. Clubs come from all over the beach from people and gold courses; they donate their used clubs, and they have their customers bring in unused clubs.
The other part is because of what we do and how we do it. We’re a grassroots organization with no staff; everything is volunteer, and we’ve developed a network of support, and with all the things donated to us. The community has done a great job of helping us out. Even with our concerts at the Alabama Theatre, we wouldn’t be able to do it if they didn’t donate their venue; they sell the tickets and do the accounting. It’s all absolutely huge.
Q. | With how many organizations and other charities has the foundation partnered to help brighten lives?
The Alabama Theater has donated tickets for us to bring kids in Florence, Conway and Surfside Beach to go to a Christmas show. Family Kingdom donates tickets for kids to go there. Other places do the same thing. It’s not only raising money; we get other organizations to help us. Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, they do some charity events and help support us. When we get help and support from 10 to 12 different organizations, that’s one way for us to raise money.
By doing this, we don’t have to have administrative costs. We can tell people that we also don’t give a dime to any organization. We provide directly for the kids. We took some Waccamaw Youth Center boys to Atlanta for the weekend. We went to the aquarium, Coca-Cola, and my son is a basketball coach at Georgia State University, so we showed them around. So we pay for kids to go on a vacation like they’ve never been on before. A lot of these kids have never stayed in a hotel room and gotten to enjoy a game room and swimming pool.
Q. | What are some common activities the foundation helps line up for children?
A. | At a children’s home , once a month, we provide funds for girls to go to the movies; one of those events was to go ice skating. The director there, she said, “I could never pay for them to go to the movies if you didn’t provide that.
The state gives these places just enough money for their room, board and for clothing and bare essentials. Most of the kids are placed in these homes by the courts, and a lot of them think it’s their fault. When we provide these fun things that they can’t do and which the facilities don’t have extra money for, like the movies, ice skating, the amusement park or state fair, Carowinds and Six Flags Over Georgia, now they don’t see these places where they live as like being in a prison; they see them as a place where people love them. The kids break down their barriers, and the professionals can and do help these kids to give them a happier life.
Q. | May we list beneficiaries from this community effort to help spark new memories for children in need?
A. | Lighthouse Care Centers in Conway, and Macon and Augusta, Ga.; Seacoast Youth Academy, off S.C. 707; the Waccamaw Youth Center; the Connie Maxwell Children’s Home, a girls’ home in Florence; Lancaster Youth Center; and a shelter in Raleigh for battered and abused mothers and their children — the biggest need for them is to have a way for these mothers to take their children on some activity or event such as movies or bowling.
I want to tell anybody making a donation, playing in our golf tournament or going to our concert: All the money goes directly to the kids. My golf business is my job, and my children’s foundation is my love, and all the people in my company have gotten excited about my passion; they’re all involved.
Our mission statement is “Providing Joy to Kids with Little Joy in Their Lives.”
Pair lend their voice
McCoo and Davis, who celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in July, also love helping charitable efforts as a pair, such as a recent Thalians concert and tribute to Smokey Robinson that raised $1 million for UCLA Operation Mend, a project helping wounded veterans from warfronts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The couple headlined the Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art in October 2013 and will return for this Pardue benefit only 15 months later. On a break Friday from a round of concerts in Florida, they brought up their joy in being part of this.
Q. | What made your visit to the Grand Strand two autumns ago most memorable, and how special is this opportunity to come back?
McCoo | It was a beautiful experience, and it was our first time being there. The audience was so warm, and we had such a great time. It was just a very warm, fun experience.
Davis | It’s always nice to come back. It’s that Southern hospitality.
Q. | Assisting charities has been second nature for both of you for so long. Realizing the reach that Mr. Pardue’s endeavor has made across our region for more than a decade, how easy was giving a piece of your heart for this ultimate difference maker?
McCoo | Billy and I have always been concerned about the quality of life for our children. We’ve been involved with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals for years, the United Negro College Fund, which deals with education, and we’re very much involved with the Los Angeles Mission. The Pardue Family does beautiful work, the way they try to add to the quality of life for kids.
Davis | One of the things we have to realize is the children need us, and they didn’t ask to be here. You have to provide for them. They belong to all of us.
Q. | With hits going back to the 5th Dimension and the late 1960s, including “Up, Up & Away” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” what numbers are you most eager to perform here on Jan. 21?
McCoo | One of the things I always get a kick out of is when Billy does his blues songs. People love to hear Billy singing the blues. And we always enjoy singing our hits; after all these years, people still enjoy hearing them.
Davis | One of the things we have been doing, with the milestone of 50 years since the Beatles hit the United States, is a Beatles medley; people have been enjoying it, and we’ve enjoyed doing it. Also, in the shows, you have a lot of blues; I grew up in St. Louis, so that’s the kind of music I grew up around.
Q. | How fun will your February be, with your headlining Feb. 14-15 at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and joining about 20 other artists Feb. 22-March 1 on the Soul Train Cruise in the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (855-768-5872 or soultraincruise.com)?
McCoo | We are so looking forward to that cruise with these people we have worked with, and people we’ve had relationships with. There’s Regina Belle, Gladys Knight, Valerie Simpson, and James Ingram
Davis | And Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, and Russell Thompkins Jr. and the New Stylistics. We all know one another.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.
If you go
Who | Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., two married, original members of the 5th Dimension
What | Fourth annual concert benefit for Pardue Family “Children in Need” Fund
Benefiting | Outreach to give orphaned youth, and women and children in shelters from domestic violence situations, special outings to places such as movies, and Family Kingdom and Carowinds amusement parks
When | 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21
Where | Alabama Theatre at Barefoot Landing, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach
How much | $49.95, $57.95 or $67.95.
Information | 272-1111, 800-342-2262 or www.alabama-theatre.com, and mccoodavis.com
Also | 12th annual Pardue Christmas Child Golf Tournament, Dec. 19, for $260 per team or $65 per player. More details at 282-2977 or www.mysticalgolf.com/moredeal.php?id=22.
Other Alabama Theatre concerts this month | At 7 p.m.:
Eddie Miles’ “A Salute to Elvis and Other Country Legends,” Jan. 24, for $22.95, $26.95 or $31.95.
“The Ricky Mokel Show,” starring Grant Turner, Jan. 31. $29.95, $34.95 or $39.95.
“One the Show” returns | 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, with several shows every week, for $35.95, $43.80 or $49.25 ages 17 and older, or $17.95 ages 16 and younger. Also: March 2-April 30, and May 25-Sept. 3: free admission for as many as two children, 16 or younger, with a paid adult ticket.