Devoted fan flies in to see hero

DEDICATED pop fans often go to great lengths to show their support for the bands and artists they idolise. American Karen Paver is one such devotee.An ardent fan of The Osmonds' frontman Merrill she is soon to embark on a roundtrip of more than 12,000 miles when she flies from her Californian home to see the singer on tour in England.

DEDICATED pop fans often go to great lengths to show their support for the bands and artists they idolise. American Karen Paver is one such devotee.

An ardent fan of The Osmonds' frontman Merrill she is soon to embark on a roundtrip of more than 12,000 miles when she flies from her Californian home to see the singer on tour in England.

The first date of her trip will bring her to Felixstowe Spa Pavilion where he is performing on March 30.

"I want to support a wonderful friend and I love to see him entertain," Karen said.


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"Merrill has done so much for so many with his heart, talent and singing for so long that one can't help but return the affection and support him in his solo career.

"And I get to travel through different parts of England that I didn't see when I was here for his Back in Black Tour last year.

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"It's a learning experience for me. I love the fact that I am learning geography from Merrill's tours and shows."

Karen, 45, who lives in La Verne, a small town 35 miles northeast of Los Angeles, has been a fan of Merrill's for 34 years.

Recalling back to 1971 she said: "I picked up my first Osmond album, The Osmonds, and pointed to Merrill on the end and said 'That's him! That's the one for me'. And my feelings have never changed. He has always been the one for me.

"I try to be supportive of the old Osmond motto, 'Doesn't matter who's in front, as long as it's an Osmond', but when it comes right down to the heart of the matter, Merrill is my favourite.

"He is the original frontman of the Osmonds, long before the 'bubblegum music' (sorry Donny!). It was Merrill that who attracted me to the group and it is Merrill that keeps me coming back."

Karen first saw Merrill perform live with The Osmonds on July 20, 1974 in Las Vegas and has since lost count of the number of concerts, both solo and with The Osmonds, she has seen.

They have taken her across America and Britain and en route she has amassed a whole new family of friends who share her dedication.

During more than three decades of support Karen has also met Merrill, who enjoyed phenomenal success in the 1970s as the lead singer in the band he formed with his brothers Alan, Jimmy, Donny, Jay and Wayne and sister Marie, many times and now considers him a friend.

"Back then, in the 70s, it was the music that appealed and the way Merrill sang lead," Karen said. "He had, and still has, a fabulous voice and he has such a charismatic, magnetic smile and personality. You can't help but feel good around him.

"The whole family have led such a clean-cut wholesome, moral, upbeat lives is such a tribute to their faith in God, to their parents and to each other as a family.

"I didn't realise back then how much of an impact those morals and beliefs had on me - being such a good fan got me through the 70s morally clean and without the use of alcohol and drugs. I took a lot of ribbing for being a fan and was labelled a 'goody goody' but I wouldn't trade any of it for the world."

She added: "Now it's Merrill, the man behind the music, that I have got to know that keeps me around. His inner spirit, inner strength and faith just lights up a room and warms it with such peace.

"You can't help but feel good about life and yourself after a Merrill 'bear hug' and a Merrill chat."

n Merrill Osmond will be at Felixstowe Spa Pavilion on March 30. Tickets cost £19.50 to £22.50 and are available at the theatre, by calling 01394 282126 or online at www.cclive.co.uk/spapavilion

Weblink: www.merrillosmond.com

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