Sunnyside is a Bluegrass Gospel Group from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We have been playing bluegrass gospel for about 34 years. We have performed mostly in the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and occassionly in New York and Maryland. We perform for churches throughout these areas and also appear at Bluegrass Festivals.
We perform in three- and four-part harmony. Our current members are Ken Cox on guitar, Dean Nafziger on bass fiddle, Randie Rineer on fiddle, David Robertson on mandolin and Max Allison on banjo. We have several players that help us out on different instruments from time to time.
Kenny Cox – Lead Singer, Guitar
Ken is the lead singer with Sunnyside. He is originally from West Virgina. As Bob ( Red Roberts ) our former banjo player, liked to point out,”as far south in West Virginia as you can get. Ken was born outside Hinton at a little place called Pipestem, between Hinton and Princeton. It’s pretty far south Bob! Ken was raised in the country, by his grandparents, on a 200 acre farm at Ellison Ridge WV, where there was plenty of work to keep him busy.
Ken always liked music, and listened to Nashville and Wheeling almost every Saturday night, but never started learning to play music until sometime in his late teens. Both of his grandfathers sang well. He would listen to them sing as a boy. His grandfather Ellison sang bass and his grandfather Cox sang tenor. In the Baptist church They would use a pitch pipe to get the note and then start singing individual parts. They used no instruments in the Baptist church.
Ken didn’t want to be a farmer or a coal miner so he left the farm for the big city. He started playing music a couple of years after moving to Pennsylvania. He met some people at Sunset Park in Oxford, PA. He would go there sometimes to hear Flatt and Scruggs or Reno and Smiley. That was in early 60’s. Ken was really turned on to Bluegrass after hearing those groups play. Ken met Bob ( Red Roberts ) at Sunset Park in the early 1960s. He played with several Country Gospel Bands before joining a Bluegrass Gospel Band ” The Kings Countrymen ” in the early 70’s. After that band broke up in 1975, Ken and Tracy had a Bluegrass Gospel Show on WAWZ in Zarephath NJ, where our theme song was Keep on the Sunnyside. Thats how Sunnyside got it’s name. Ken and Tracy Rice ( mandolin player ) started Sunnyside. Tracy was Sunnyside’s first mandolin player and baritone singer. He also played with ‘ The Kings Countrymen ” Red Roberts was Sunnyside first Banjo Player and tenor singer. The original personel in Sunnyside was Ken Cox Sr guitar. Red Roberts banjo, Tracy Rice, mandolin and Ken Cox Jr. on Bass. Jr. was 14 years old. Sunnyside’s first engagment was at The Holiday Inn, Kulpsville Pa. December 1976.
Ken had grown up in the Baptist church in WV, knowing about God but not knowing God. He made a personal commitment to the Lord and accepted Christ as Savior in 1962. Shortly afterwards, through the friends that he met at Sunset Park, he started singing Gospel Music. He has been singing since that time on a part time regular basis. He started playing Bluegrass Gospel in 1968. Before that he played in various Country Gospel Groups.
Ken worked for At&t before early retirement in 1989. He worked for Cingular Wireless In King of Prussia as a systems specialist in the cellular business from 1990 until retiring in 2003. Ken drives school bus now for Brightbill Transportation. Ken lives with his wife Jane in Bowmansville, Pa ( Lancaster County )
Randie Rineer – Lead Singer, Fiddle
Randie has been playing Bluegrass fiddle on the East coast for over twenty-five years or more. He has played in several bands including: Temperance Hill Station, Wings of Bluegrass, Billy Lee Cox and the Mason-Dixon Grass and since 1998 Sunnyside. Randie has really enjoyed playing Gospel music with Sunnyside and looks forward to many more years with the band.