Sunnyside was formed in 1976. Their first playing date was at the Holiday Inn in Kulpsville, PA on a Saturday night in October. The members of the group at that time were Ken Cox on Guitar, Bob Roberts on Banjo, Tracy Rice on Mandolin and Ken Cox Jr. on Bass. Ken Jr. was 13 years old at the time. Tracy and Ken, who had played gospel bluegrass music before in another group The Kings Countrymen, wanted to continue using their talents in music and share God’s Love and Saving Grace through the medium of Bluegrass Music.
After leaving The Kings Countrymen in 1976, Ken & Tracy began a weekly Gospel Bluegrass Show on a Christian radio station in Zaraphath, N. J. They used as a theme song Keep on the Sunnyside by Larry Sparks to open the broadcast each week. When they formed their musical group, they called it Sunnyside.
In 1978 Sunnyside entered a talent contest in Kempton, PA sponsored by Garden Spot Promotions and won 1st prize in their category. They played many times for Garden Spot concerts opening for groups such as the Lewis Family and other southern gospel groups. They also played for Harold Burkhart at the Shindig at the Barn in the early 1980s, opening for Jim and Jesse and others. They also played at Bluegrass Festivals in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Their ministry of music has been mostly for Churches and Gospel concerts throughout PA, DE, NJ, NY.
Sunnyside would like to thank WAWZ, Zaraphath, NJ and the program director Mr. Jim Persall for the time donated to us for more then 15 years. There are others whose names need to be mentioned at this time that have contributed to the ministry of Sunnyside in the past years. Brad Haberly who played bass. Wendy Shettig who played guitar and sang lead and tenor. Paul Sabatine, who played banjo and sang tenor when Bob took some time off from the group. Dave Max who played Bass with Sunnyside for several years. Don Brunner who played bass in the earlier years. Neil Britton who played the dobro in the group for 14 years. Bob Uhler who played bass for a few years after Ken Jr. left for college. Sunnyside appreciates all of the people who have given their time to minister with the group over the years.
Only eternity will reveal what God has accomplished through testimonies and gospel bluegrass music played and sung by Sunnyside. We all have grown spiritually, made many friends, and ate a lot of food! We have had a lot of great fellowship together. By God’s Grace, the group is still going strong after nearly 30 years. There is one original member left, Ken Cox who sings lead and plays guitar. The other current members are Dean Nafziger on bass fiddle singing baritone, Randy Rineer on fiddle, and Ray Horst who sings tenor and plays mandolin and guitar. A new banjoplayer will be announced soon. Some of the other previous members fill in from time to time as needed. We appreciate their willingness to help.We have always been thankful to our Lord and Savior because when he closed a door he always opened a window for us.