The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 19, 2019

NPAC provides school music opportunities

Throughout our existence at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, we have attempted to create opportunities for students throughout Van Wert County, particularly in the area of music.  If you recall, the very first performance on the Central Insurance Stage was combined Crestview, Lincolnview and Van Wert High School Choirs with Beachfront Property, led by VWHS graduate Tom Dustman and the VWHS Band with guest soloist Doug Wolf, also a VWHS graduate. This opening performance was on a Friday night and preceded Lee Greenwood on Saturday night and Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris on Sunday night.

Over the past 12 years, students from Lincolnview, Crestview, Van Wert, Parkway, Wayne Trace, Delphos, and St. Mary’s Memorial come to mind as performing on our stage. This Saturday night’s performance of “Let Freedom Sing” with the Texas Tenors will offer another memorable experience for high school singers from the Crestview, Lincolnview and Van Wert.

The idea came about when the Texas Tenors performed last year at the Niswonger.  A group of singers from Van Wert High School’s Select Ensemble came backstage to sing for the Texas Tenors.  After hearing them, the tenors said we need to put them on stage next year (I think they were actually self-promoting a return visit … and it worked). Of course, the Texas Tenors are a Niswonger favorite, based on their early sellout once again.

These 51 local singers, specially chosen by their directors, will be joining the Texas Tenors at the beginning of the show and then return for a big finale. The stage will be filled with the Texas Tenor’s Three Bottle Band, as well as a huge video screen and other staging to go along with the high school singers. You will hear them back up the Tenors on such songs as “You Raise Me Up”, “Coming to America”, “Amazing Grace”, “God Bless the USA”, and more. The students have had the music for months and have been working with their teachers to prepare an outstanding performance these kids will remember for a lifetime!

This is an unprecedented third year in a row for the Texas Tenors to perform at the Niswonger. We have never invited anyone back three consecutive years, however, given the response in ticket sales, it has been the right thing to do. I have had the opportunity to hear, meet and get to know these three guys away from our stage. They are great singers and entertainers, but also great human beings and family men — just the kind we look to bring to our stage for you to enjoy.

It has been a privilege to offer opportunities like this for students to be inspired through music.  From performing with military bands and choirs, to other professional artists, our local students have had an opportunity most students never receive.  I hope these kids will remember fondly their experiences of growing up in Van Wert because of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

Several of Crestview’s Knight Vision Show Choir members will be singing with The Texas Tenors this Saturday. photo provided

An added bonus at the Texas Tenors concert will be the announcement of the brand new 2019-20 Enrich Community Concert Series. Four especially hand-picked concerts have been chosen for you to enjoy next season for one special affordable price. Get ready for the beginning of a new ear at the Niswonger.  I think you’ll really enjoy it!  Watch the preview video Saturday and then expect your mailer to arrive at your home early next week with all the information you’ll need to know. 

This weekend is a big one as we follow Saturday night’s Texas Tenors performance with two big shows of RAIN — the Broadway Tribute to the Abbey Road Years of the Beatles. With two shows, we still have some tickets available for both the 2 and 7:30 p.m. shows. Back in 2017, almost to the date, RAIN played our house and a capacity audience left saying it was the most outstanding Beatles tribute show they have ever experienced. This show will be a different one as they will be focusing on the Abbey Road years of the Beatles, but I don’t think you will leave without hearing most of what have always loved of the Beatles.

By the time this weekend is over, the Niswonger will have brought nearly 3,000 people to Van Wert, many of them from out of town. We continue to fill our mission of bringing people to Van Wert to help the economy. You restaurant managers need to be ready. We will have many people looking for a dining experience before and after our shows. Now, if we could just convince some new restaurateurs to come to Van Wert and cash in on the opportunities we have created.  Some restaurant is missing out by not locating in Van Wert!

Remember: all non-profit organizations that would like to be included in the drawing for food servers with Fountain Park Summer Music Series concerts should contact the Van Wert County Foundation office by March 31. We a great summer line-up that will be announced soon!


POSTED: 03/13/19 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert