By Amanda Boston

With its unmistakable whistled theme song and wholesome script, The Andy Griffith Show transports audiences back to a simpler time—to the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina.

On Sunday, January 7 at 6 p.m., New Hope United Methodist Church in Brandon invites you to ‘An Evening In Mayberry,’ with cast member Rodney Dillard. Dillard and his bluegrass band, The Dillards, played a reoccurring role as ‘The Darlings,” a backwoods family bluegrass band, on The Andy Griffith Show.

Dillard will engage the audience with his musical talents and share stories from his experience on the show. The intimate evening will also provide an opportunity for the audience to ask questions. His wife Beverly Cotton-Dillard, a renowned banjo player who often appeared on Hee Haw, will join her husband as they perform well-known bluegrass songs from the show along with gospel music favorites.

Although The Andy Griffith Show ended in 1968, the show continues to appeal to new generations through its reruns. Dillard expounded on the show’s parallels to Christianity and its ability to transcend time.

“The show portrayed family values—Christian values, and Andy personified the fruit of the Spirit, especially with the way he treated Opie,” said Dillard. “People are trying to find these values in today’s entertainment world, and they are not. That’s why people are attracted to this show.”

Adding to the musical talent are the Walker Brothers, Cory (27), Jarrod (25) and Tyler (21) Walker. The three Durant High graduates will accompany Dillard and are the sons of local residents David and Stacey Walker. In their younger years, The Walker Brothers are remembered for their bluegrass performances at the Strawberry Festival. A few years ago, Dillard hired Cory to play with ‘The Dillards.’ Cory and Jarrod now live in Nashville with burgeoning music careers to include performances with the Grand Ole Opry and CMA Music Festival. The two brothers have also played on national television with bluegrass icons Earl Scruggs and Ricky Skaggs. Tyler, the youngest, is a senior at Florida State University and reunites with his brothers to play bluegrass performances in his hometown.

The event is free, but a donation box will be onsite. New Hope will open its doors at 5 p.m. with first come first serve seating. The church is located 121 N. Knights Ave. in Brandon.

For more information, contact the church at 689-4161 or search ‘The Dillards’ on Facebook. The Walker Brothers will also perform at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s at 812 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Seffner on Friday, February 23 at 7 p.m. For more information, email David Walker at

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Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.