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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, May. 29, 2016


Music in Van Wert

By: Paul Hoverman


This summer marks the 15th year of concerts in Fountain Park sponsored by The Van Wert County Foundation. What began as an experiment has blossomed into one of the most anticipated and attended outdoor concert series in the state and the region. Most Friday nights throughout the summer, you can expect a concert at the edge of downtown Van Wert in Fountain Park, free of charge.

Some of us old-timers can remember concerts with ice cream socials in what was then called Third Ward Park. Pictures can certainly be found of such community gatherings. I can remember, as a member of the Van Wert High School Band, playing concerts in the middle of the park, sitting in a concrete band stage. I believe it was a VW Band Parents fundraiser and the high school band would preview some of its music for the upcoming football season.

Remember the old cranked ice cream freezers? And the big tubs of bottled pop on ice? Bottled water? You would have thought that was a ridiculous idea back then! After all, there was a water fountain to drink water from … free of charge! My, how times have changed.

Starting 15 years ago, I was empowered by The Van Wert County Foundation to start an ongoing concert series throughout the summer. The only thing going on in Fountain Park at that time was an occasional local concert and the community band; then called the Masonic Band. They would play three times per summer in the park.

Thankfully, the community concert band has continued as John and Jean Ann Auld passed the baton to Elmer Broecker, former Lincolnview band director, who passed the baton on to Richard Sherrick, retired Parkway band director. The band is actually flourishing under Sherrick’s direction and will start the summer off in Fountain Park this Friday night. The concert begins at 7 p.m., just as the Fountain Park Summer Music concerts do.

I just saw the Van Wert Parks Department putting our new Fountain Park Summer Music Series sign up on the crossbar of the current band shell. The old one has served us well for 14 years, but was becoming tattered and unusable any longer.  We have replaced it with a colorful new one that welcomes everyone to music in Fountain Park throughout the summer.

Following this Friday’s concert with the Van Wert Area Community Concert Band, we start with the first of eight professional concerts on Friday, June 3.  This is Peony and Art-Rageous festivals’ weekend and, if we have good weather, promises to be a big crowd to open our season. There will be food vendors, in addition to the Peony Festival Committee serving food out of the Rotary Concession Booth.

The Together Band will be playing songs you know and love from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.  It will be a family friendly atmosphere, where everyone can come to the park, mingle, catch up with friends from the community, and greet many visitors to our friendly city.

If we ever run into day-long rains that prevent us from being outdoors, we will move into the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Ohio 118 (South Shannon Street) on the south edge of town.  This is a last resort, but a good option to have. You will know if you drive by the park and don’t see any activity by 4 p.m.

Speaking of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, the date has been set for the unveiling of the 2016-17 Grand Series. It will be June 15. Mark your calendars now and plan to be the first to know about our big 10th year of “Wow” at the Niswonger. More details to come.

Until then, here’s to a beautiful, sunny, and warm summer of Friday nights and a whole lot of musical fun, fellowship, and food in Fountain Park … for the 15th year in a row.


POSTED: 05/24/16 at 11:40 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

As summer struggles to arrive, many of us are starting to think of summer music concerts in Fountain Park.  The first one is just 2½ weeks away on June 3, although Mother Nature has some work to do between now and June 3!  I’m confident she’ll come around.

That first Friday in June also marks the beginning of the Peony and Art-Rageous festivals. To help celebrate, we have a concert featuring some of the best music from the ‘60s through the ‘80s. The Together Band will get you in the mood for a festive weekend.

To see and even hear some of the Fountain Park concerts, visit NPACVW.ORG. Go to tickets and events and then click on Summer Music Series. You will see pictures, descriptions, and even video clips of most of the bands you will enjoy in Fountain Park this summer. You can also read about the concerts on The Van Wert County Foundation website:, as well as the Van Wert City Parks & Recreation website: If that doesn’t work for you, just stop by The Van Wert County Foundation office or the Niswonger box office and pick up a flyer.

The Van Wert County Foundation is proud to work in concert with the Van Wert Parks & Recreation Department and also to utilize the Niswonger Performing Arts Center’s website to bring you as much information as possible about the upcoming summer concerts. We are fortunate at the Niswonger to have one of the most interactive websites around. We can provide exciting information to help you become an informed concert attender.

While you are looking on the website, you will also notice the recently released Community Concert Series for 2016-17. Many of these concerts are drawing lots of interest from all over. People are reserving hotels and eateries already in anticipation of an upcoming concert at the Niswonger. Right now, you can buy the entire Community Concert Series for as little as $75. That’s just $15 per concert. What a deal!

Just as you can check out the Fountain Park performers, you can see a video of all five Community Concert performers. Check them out. If you do, I’m convinced you will want to get this series now, before single ticket buyers start snatching up all the good seats.

As of right now, here is what we have coming your way:

June 3 — The Together Band

June 17 — Madrigal (Carlos Santana Tribute)

June 24 — Beginnings (Tribute to the music of Chicago)

July 1 — Lima Pops Orchestra (Salute to America!)… followed by family movie night in the park

July 15 — Natural Wonder (Stevie Wonder Experience)

July 22 — Chris Higbee (Country Fiddling phenom)

July 29 — Feller & Hill and the Bluegrass Buckaroos

August 12 — The McCartney Years

September 18 — Guy & Ralna (formerly of the Lawrence Welk Show) at the Niswonger

October 23 — Doc Severinsen (at the Niswonger)

March 18 — Broadway and Beyond  (at the Niswonger)

April 30 — Mutts Gone Nuts with the Robert Post Comedy Theater (at the Niswonger)

May 6 — The Hitmen (at the Niswonger)

There is much more to come! Stay tuned. But for now, I’d say this is a pretty good start.


POSTED: 05/18/16 at 6:59 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

With the calendar flipping over to May and with the Niswonger Performing Arts Center concerts now in the books for 2015-16, it is certainly time to start thinking about Fountain Park concerts.  We are exactly one month from the opening concert of the Van Wert County Foundation sponsored Fountain Park concerts.

It will be another huge weekend with the Peony and Art-Rageous Festival going on in conjunction with our concert on June 3. The Together Band will open our summer season. They are a fun band that plays hit songs from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Hailing from the Port Clinton area, this band has made a tradition of providing good family fun, with music everyone loves and recognizes, and have performed at festivals and concert series throughout Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.

They come highly recommended and I think you will love them as they open our season in Fountain Park, along with all the other festivities surrounding the park.

After a week off, we return for three straight Friday nights. Another new band from Cincinnati will take our stage on June 17. Madrigal is “The Ultimate Tribute” to Carlos Santana and I know a lot of you are looking forward to this concert. Then on June 24, we present a band called Beginnings, a tribute to the music of Chicago — the band. I heard them this past year in New York and just fell in love with their magnificent horn line and soaring vocals. I didn’t want them to stop singing, so I brought them to Van Wert. I think you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

The traditional Independence Day concert will fall on July 1 for us this year. The Lima Pops Orchestra will return with its “Celebration of America” concert. This is always a great way to begin the Fourth of July holiday weekend.  And to make it even a little more special for everyone, we will be showing an outdoor movie following the concert. A huge inflatable movie screen will go up in front of the band pavilion right after the concert and, as soon as it is dark enough, we will show Disney’s original Jungle Book movie from 1967. With all the excitement about the current Jungle Book movie, I think many will enjoy seeing the original movie. It’s a fun animated Disney picture, perfect for the entire family!

That just takes us through the first half of the summer. There will be four more exciting concerts for you to enjoy, beginning July 15 and going through August 12.  I will tell you more about them in the near future. You can also go to the Niswonger website, the Van Wert City Parks website and the Van Wert County Foundation website for more information on the entire season lineup.

Well, our First United Methodist Choir is headed out to the Pacific Northwest this Saturday. We are one of 27 performing ensembles invited to perform at the United Methodist General Conference. I am sure it will be a memorable trip. Thank you to all who have helped support us in our venture of heading out west. Your prayers will be appreciated as we travel and minister in music.

By the way, while we are in Seattle, we plan on catching up with a couple Van Wert natives who currently live there. One of my high school friends, Dr. Tom Marxen, has a cosmetic dental practice located in Woodenville, Washington. Many of you will remember Tom as the son of Dr. Marxen, who was a surgeon in Van Wert for many years. Tom was a very fine trumpet player in the Van Wert Bands.

We will also be touching base with Lyndsay Brooks Pepple. She is the daughter of George and Altha Brooks, who still live in Van Wert. Lyndsay actually used to work for us at Hoverman Music Center. It’s always good to bring a little of Van Wert lovin’ to some former Van Wertians!

Because of our trip, I will catch you in “Music in Van Wert” in two weeks. Until then, keep a song in your heart!


POSTED: 05/03/16 at 10:14 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I started to think about what to write about today, and it dawned on me that there are many happenings surrounding our local community. First of all, I want to congratulate the Evergreen Garden Club for its successful event last weekend at the Niswonger.  It was called Van Wert Blooms and brought people of gardening interests to Van Wert from all over the region.

Louise Hartwig, Janice Kirchenbauer, and a loyal host of committee members dreamed that an event like this could happen in Van Wert, and boy were they right! The Niswonger and Evergreen Garden Club combined our efforts to put on a whole day clinic that is being talked about throughout the region. Speakers from all over the country are contacting Louise about speaking at the next event.

It was a pleasure to work with these ladies who are dedicated to sharing their knowledge and love of gardening.  Their contacts throughout the country and their organization skills are very admirable and I salute them!  Education and inspiration are two pillars the Niswonger holds dear as part of our mission. Van Wert Blooms fit that bill quite well.

On another musical front, the Van Wert High School Band went to Columbus this past weekend to compete at the state level of music competition. Many of you remember dong this when you went through school. Well, the hometown band did us proud by receiving not only an overall “I” (superior) rating, but they received that same rating from each of the four judges.

Congratulations to Mr. Sloan, the high school band director, and to the students who obviously worked very hard in the classroom and were dedicated in their preparation for state competition. Their work paid off once again with a superior rating!

I should also mention that the VWHS Quiz Bowl goes to Nationals in Rosemont, Illinois, this weekend.  Good luck to them and their advisor, Miss Zuber! This weekend, the Lincolnview High School Choir, directed by Stacy Korte, goes to state competition and we wish them the very best too!

On the professional stage of the Niswonger this weekend, we finish our season with not one, but two concerts. Winner of “The Voice” in 2014, Craig Wayne Boyd will be in town Friday night for a rescheduled concert from this past January’s blizzard that hit Nashville. In addition to Boyd’s performance, we have added a young Country duo called SmithField.  So now you will get entertained by not only a proven winner like Craig Wayne Boyd, but also a soon to be winner in SmithField. You can probably get some tickets yet for this concert of country, pop and maybe even a little gospel music.

We finish the 2015-16 Niswonger Season with jazz at its finest. A popular Niswonger jazz artist, Brian Culbertson, returns to Van Wert with his entire band to entertain and liven up the house. This Saturday evening concert will be filled with many exciting components, including the drawing for that beautiful cream-white Thunderbird many of you have been seeing parked in front of the Niswonger entrance throughout the year. A total of 465 tickets have been sold for this drawing.

You can still get in on the drawing any time before Saturday’s concert. It was determined that a cap of 500 tickets would be sold. If you have purchased one, you can increase your chances and buy more. See the box office to get one last chance at this gorgeous Thunderbird convertible with red interior. The money raised goes to good causes at the Niswonger to enhance our shows.  You will see some of it in action at the Brian Culbertson concert this Saturday.

Also, don’t forget about memberships and series tickets for the newly announced Community Concert Series of 2016-17. Doc Severinsen, Guy & Ralna, and others highlight this extraordinary value of musical concerts, which are brought to you by Okuley/Unverferth Dentistry this year.


POSTED: 04/27/16 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

This past Sunday, we announced the 2016-17 Community Concert Series with the herald voices of the Texas Tenors. What a concert and, I know, we need to have them back! They really were exceptional talents, showmen, and gentlemen. We are so fortunate to be able to produce them on our stage in a very professional way, so as to add even more excitement to their already superior show.

It was amazing to feel the excitement of anticipation in the lobby even before the show began. You knew something special was about to happen. Then the show began … and it did! At intermission, I don’t know if I have ever felt the “buzz” of excitement as much as I did with the Texas Tenors. It really was “electric!”

And what a great way to announce our new Community Concert Series for next season. We are proud to be partnering with a new series Presenting Sponsor: Okuley/Unverferth Dentistry, to bring you what I think will be yet another outstanding series of concerts.

We kick it off with Guy & Ralna of “The Lawrence Welk Show” fame on Sunday, September 18. Ralna lives in the Phoenix area and two of my box office staff and I were fortunate to have a cup of coffee with her this past November while attending a conference in Phoenix.  We already have people from all over the country making lodging and dinner reservations in anticipation of this concert.

Then we follow up Sunday, October 23, with one of my all-time heroes of the music world — the incomparable Doc Severinsen, with his Big Band and vocalist Vanessa Thomas. In my opinion, no one has played trumpet and been such a showman as Doc! Many of us remember him from “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” as he led the band for over three decades on TV. This is a chance to see and hear a true legend and the only remaining member of the trio that also included Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon. And I am here to tell you that Doc can still blow that horn! Amazing!

We take a winter break then before coming back on Saturday, March 18, 2017, with a show we helped produce, along with Robert Nance of the Heartland Singers of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Broadway singer J. Mark McVey of Les Miserables fame. You will enjoy beautiful Broadway and American songs that will have you whistling all the way home. Mark and Bob are also outstanding individuals who are very active in their church music ministries.

If you need to laugh, you won’t want to miss Mutts Gone Nuts and the Robert Post Comedy Theater. Everyone loves animals, and, with this show, you will see them doing some incredible acts that will have you rolling in the aisles. Then to spice things up and give the dogs a needed breather (and possible break — ahem), we have added Robert Post, a comedic favorite of Community Concerts for years. This is a guaranteed combo show that will make you laugh all day long on Sunday, April 30. There’s a story about how I got the two of these together to perform at our venue. Ask me the next time you see me.

We finish the series with a group I heard in New York and I just didn’t want them to stop singing. The Hitmen is a band filled with all stars from such noted bands as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Carole King, Tommy James, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Vanessa Williams, and many more. Many of the songs you will hear featured the voices of members of The Hitmen. If you grew up listening to music on the radio in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and beyond, you will enjoy this concert as much as I did.

So there you have it: my commentary on a new season of Community Concerts. Becoming a member allows you to reserve your seats first and helps us to keep the quality of performers at the level you have come to enjoy and demand at the Niswonger. Check our website (NPACVW.ORG) or call the box office (419.238.6722) or drop by in person. Our staff and volunteers are always happy to see you!

Until next time!


POSTED: 04/19/16 at 9:43 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

This weekend will be one of the busiest of the entire year.  Friday night, a sold-out house will welcome those singing cowboys, “Riders in the Sky”, as they salute the King of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers.

This talented quartet of cowboys has been doing Western music and comedy the “Cowboy Way” since 1977. I got re-introduced to them nearly two years ago when they were hosting the Grand Ole’ Opry.  We were fortunate to be sitting on the stage, and as they walked off the stage to give way to singer Alison Krauss, I re-introduced myself to these Cowboys and asked if they would like to come to Van Wert, Ohio (again).  Now, nearly two years later, they will take our stage to a sold-out crowd.

They had performed in Fountain Park nearly 12 years ago. Hot off their recording for the movie Toy Story (remember “Woody’s Roundup?”) they came to be a part of our Fountain Park Summer Music Series. Their new show features a salute to Roy Rogers and involves film clips and other material that lends itself to be more effective indoors. Riders in the Sky is the only group given permission by the Roy Rogers estate to show clips of his movies for the public.

Although we don’t have any seats to sell in advance for the Riders in the Sky concert on Friday, there could be a handful become available that night.  The box office opens at 6:30 p.m. when the Grand Lobby opens. If you want to get in, you might be first in line and take advantage of this opportunity, if it comes available. I hope to see you ‘round the campfire Friday night!

After we clean the stage and house from the Riders in the Sky concert (I hope their horses don’t leave us a mess), we will start preparing for a big daytime event at the Niswonger. We call it “Van Wert Blooms.”  It is a joint venture with the Master Gardeners of Van Wert and features five outstanding speakers on many gardening topics.

The featured speaker is P. Allen Smith of PBS TV’s long running show: “Garden Home”.  P. Allen leads off the day with an hour-long fascinating talk and slide show presentation at 9 a.m. Saturday. He will sign books in the lobby following his presentation.

Other outstanding speakers throughout the day are Irvine Etienne, who works at the Indianapolis Museum of Art designing and maintaining its plant and garden areas. Amanda Thomsen is another speaker who comes from Chicago, where she is a landscaper and author of several books, including Grocery Gardening. Barbara Wise is from Nashville, where she also writes for magazines and recently published her first book Container Gardening for All Seasons. Maria Zampini is an author, speaker and consultant for garden related products for plant development for the Agricola Management Group, the exclusive licensee of the HGTV Home Plant collection. Lastly, Pam Bennett is the State Master Gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator and director for The Ohio State University.

The day will be filled with education and fun facts for anyone interested in gardening and landscape work; from the beginner to the expert!  Due to the enormous response to this event, we have opened seating in the balcony for a reduced cost to just the lectures. Call the box office for details.

We at the Niswonger have been privileged to work with Mrs. Louise Hartwig and an outstanding committee of Master Gardeners from Van Wert County. They have organized this wonderful event and should be thanked for their tireless efforts in putting this together.

We then clean the dirt off the floors and stage to make way for the very popular Texas Tenors. These three singers have been sold out at the Niswonger since last fall. They will present a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee concert to finish off our 2015-16 Community Concert Series.  What a way to go out: A sold-out show featuring the Texas Tenors, fresh off an Emmy Award-winning PBS special and many successful national tours. These three guys are not only outstanding singers, but also great entertainers.

As a special thanks, we are holding a pre-concert reception in the First Federal Lecture Hall for all extra supporters of this year’s Community Concert Series. Flour Loves Sugar and Brewed Expressions will provide the goodies to enjoy before the concert. This begins at 2 p.m. when the lobby opens. This extra support helps keep our series as affordable as possible and we want to show our appreciation to these fine folks.

Then, just before we begin the Texas Tenors concert, we will unveil our new Community Concert Series for 2016-17. A preview video and recognition of our sponsors will take the stage.  I can’t wait to let you know who we have on next year’s series. One of my all-time favorites will be coming to the Niswonger! No doubt you will have favorites too!  I invite you to come to this exciting announcement and spectacular show with the Texas Tenors.

A big weekend? You betcha!


POSTED: 04/13/16 at 6:40 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I have so many things swirling in my head as I sit down to write today’s column. Many times I have a main theme, but today, you will get bits and pieces.

First of all, it’s a cool thing when you go to the movie theater to see a newly released film and see not one, but two performers we’ve gotten to know through their performances at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center right here in Van Wert.

My wife and I saw God’s Not Dead 2 this past Sunday at the Van Wert Cinemas. Not only is it a good film I would highly recommend, it also starred some people I (and some of you) saw on stage (and back stage) of the Niswonger. The stars are really Melissa Joan Hart and Jesse Metcalfe; but also in large supporting roles were Pat Boone and the Newboys. Cool stuff!

Pat Boone performed on our stage last year as a last minute replacement show. At that time, he mentioned to me that he was working in a sequel movie to God’s Not Dead. The very popular Contemporary Christian Rock Band, Newsboys, also performed on our stage two years ago and they also mentioned there was going to be a God’s not Dead 2 that they would be part of once again.

So, I would recommend the movie, as well as attending concerts at the Niswonger. You just never know when you might see them on the silver screen or on TV. As we are working on next season for the Niswonger, I know you will have many chances to see people you have seen, and most likely will see, on TV and/or the movies.

This Sunday, you have the opportunity to see the American Boychoir in concert at 3 p.m. at the Niswonger.  In about another week, you can see them in a movie made for TV and airing on CBS starring Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates.  It’s the story of how the boychoir master (director), played by Dustin Hoffman, turns a boy’s life around through music. I invite you to the PAC this Sunday and see the real stars live on our Central Insurance stage.

For those of you who are old enough to remember “The King of the Cowboys”, Roy Rogers, you won’t want to miss Riders in the Sky as they trot into town on Friday, April 15. They’ll invite you to sing and sit around the campfire with them talking about Roy, Dale, Trigger, and all their friends.

I am just old enough to remember (probably) old reruns of the Roy Rogers’ movies on TV Saturday mornings. Those were good times and good days, weren’t they? You can relive those days at the Niswonger come a week from Friday. Get ready to view clips from some of those old Westerns many used to love. And no one sings it better these days than Riders in the Sky!

The show is nearly sold out, pardners, but if you saddle up and ride over the PAC, you just might be able to work your way in, if some holds get released. Come on in and join us for some rip- roarin’ fun!

It’s getting time to fire up the lawn choirs and blankets and head to Fountain Park for some good, fun times at the outdoor concerts. Warm weather is on its way, believe it or not, and we will be ready with eight great concerts and even an outdoor movie after the July 1 concert. All are compliments of Mr. and Mrs. Gaylord Saltzgaber and The Van Wert County Foundation. This is what an investment with The Van Wert County Foundation can do. Stop by and see us sometime. Seth Baker, our executive secretary, would love to talk to you about how you could help someone out years later, just like the Saltzgabers!


POSTED: 04/06/16 at 6:29 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I know many of you are very proud of our Niswonger Performing Arts Center (commonly referred to as “The PAC”).  It has taken nearly 10 years to earn our respect, but most have become believers in the arts of Van Wert.

It is one thing to blow our own horns, but when you hear about it from “outsiders,” it somehow becomes even more credible. This is the case when a Van Wert County Foundation board member shared an article written recently by the editor of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. He had attended the BJ Thomas concert on February 27 of this year. It was his first Niswonger concert experience.  He talked about what a beautiful venue we had and what fine acoustics there are. He concluded by saying, “Where have I been for the past nine years?  I will certainly be back!”

It’s amazing how so many Fort Wayne residents feel that Van Wert must be a couple hours away; if they even know where Van Wert is!  The News-Sentinel editor included in his comments that Van Wert is just over a half-hour drive from Fort Wayne. We all know that. Many of them apparently don’t! Now, more will.

It’s not only audience members who are talking positively about the Niswonger PAC.  Many of our performers have commented on what a great experience it was to perform on our stage and for our audience.  They love the acoustics and the intimacy they have with the audience.  We have 1,200 seats in our hall, which puts us on the small to mid-size range for PACs. What many performers enjoy about the Niswonger is that it “feels” good to them.  It’s almost like a living room atmosphere, although there can be up to 1,200 people in the audience.

Performers are consistently requesting we re-book them. Although we do and have, it has been my policy to bring in as many new performers as possible. On occasion, a performer is just so outstanding that you just must have them back.

Another aspect of the Niswonger experience for performers is that they get treated well. Our staff and volunteers do an excellent job of going out of their way to accommodate many of their requests. We still can’t get over the fact that artists would travel so far to share their talent with us. I guess we’ll be fine as long as we continue to treat others nicely. This is a good life lesson for all of us.

Next season is starting to come together. It will be our 10th season and we plan to celebrate in a big way! Stay tuned. Announcements will be made in the future.

Also just around the corner is the Fountain Park Summer Music Series. The first concert will be on June 3. A total of eight concerts and even a post-concert outdoor movie will be featured this summer. Remember to get your name into the hat if you are a non-profit organization wanting some action in serving food at one of the concerts. Contact the Van Wert County Foundation by April 1 to be considered.

We’re not done at the PAC for this season either. The American Boychoir will be in concert on April 10 at 3 p.m.  You won’t want to miss this world famous boychoir in concert at the Niswonger. Get your tickets now!


POSTED: 03/30/16 at 6:46 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

You know me; every show at the Niswonger is pretty much titanic.  But in this case, the Van Wert High School Drama and Music departments are presenting the five-time Tony Award-winning Titanic — the Musical.  Three shows will be presented, starting Thursday night, April 7, and then again on April 8 and 9.  All shows begin at 7 p.m.  Tickets are available at the Niswonger box office.

The Van Wert City Schools now have a teacher, Melissa Bloomfield, dedicated to teaching drama and music, fully utilizing the professional amenities of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. She has worked with our Niswonger staff to put together an impressive show for you to enjoy. I hope you can catch these young actors, actresses and musicians in one of their performances. I know that many months of preparation, scene building, and rehearsing have gone into this show.

With the Central Insurance Stage being utilized by our local performers, we have a few weeks off until April 10 when The American Boychoir comes to perform.  Remember, this is replacing the original concert scheduled on April 3 with Libera. Keep your tickets and use them for The American Boychoir concert.  It will be an exceptional afternoon of music and entertainment starting at 3 p.m. The American Boychoir is world class! You can get your tickets now at the box office or online at NPACVW.ORG.

The following weekend will be a busy one at the Niswonger as we start with the sold-out “Riders in the Sky Salute to Roy Rogers” on Friday, April 15, followed by Van Wert Blooms. This is an all-day event on Saturday, April 16.  We at the Niswonger are presenting this gardening event in cooperation with the Van Wert Master Gardeners.  A slew of gardening experts from all over the U.S. will be talking about great outdoor ideas. Included in this event is the famous P. Allen Smith that many of you watch on TV and have read his books on gardening.

The event was scheduled for just 600 participants, but the response has been so overwhelming that we have opened up extra seating at a reduced cost for just the seminars.  Check with our box office for details.  We are all getting cabin fever and can’t wait to get outside and start working in our yards and gardens.  Come and find out how to make yours spectacular!

Then on Sunday, April 17, The Texas Tenors come to the Niswonger for another sold-out show at 3 pm.  This show has been anticipated for months by ticket buyers.  It has been sold out since nearly September!  It completes our 2015-16 Community Concert Series, and what a way to go out!

We will also be announcing our new Community Concert Series for 2016-17. It features five outstanding and enjoyable concerts and shows; one in particular that has been on my radar screen for many years! I can’t wait to announce it.

Well, that about wraps up our activities for now. Remember to submit your non-profit names to The Van Wert County Foundation Office by April 1 in order to be included in the selection of food servers for this year’s Fountain Park Summer Music Series. Watch the news for the announcement of this summer fun coming real soon. There are lots of surprises coming this summer you won’t want to miss!


POSTED: 03/23/16 at 6:44 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Hallmark Hall of Fame movies are known to tell stories that are heart-warming, inspirational, and entertaining. One that will air this April 16 on CBS is the story of how a mischievous young boy got his life straightened out by a taskmaster choir director at the American Boychoir Boarding School. Although the boy had a devilish behavior, he had an angelic voice. The movie stars Hollywood legend Dustin Hoffman as the strict disciplinarian choir director who wins the boy over with music.

It’s an inspirational story that features a lot of good music throughout the movie, sung by The American Boychoir. And wouldn’t you know this same American Boychoir is coming to our Niswonger Performing Arts Center for a concert on April 10 for a 3 p.m. matinee performance. What a great opportunity for you to hear these angelic voices from Princeton, New Jersey!

Structured in the style of the traditional and historic English boychoir sound, the American Boychoir has long been known as the preeminent young music choral ensemble in America and among the finest in the world! They have been honored to perform for U.S. presidents since John F. Kennedy, and with such elite performers as Sir Paul McCartney, Wynton Marsalis and pop icon Beyoncé, as well as performing with some of the finest orchestras in the world.

We are extremely honored to have been selected to host this outstanding ensemble during its spring tour. The group is actually replacing another boychoir, Libera, which was unable to make it here from England. Libera was scheduled for April 3 and now we are pleased to be able to replace them with The American Boychoir on April 10.

I hope you get the chance to watch this movie, Hear My Song, on CBS April 16.  But first, make sure you hear these boys live at the Niswonger in Van Wert. Their appearance is brought in part by Strategence Capital LLC/Tim Stoller, financial advisor, in Van Wert, as well as supporters of the Van Wert Area Boychoir.

Our local boychoir will be the great benefactors of this event, as members will be able to socialize with the Princeton boys during a dinner and later a workshop. We are extremely pleased to be able to provide an exceptional opportunity for our boys like this.

Get your tickets now for this outstanding concert. Tickets start at just $15 and can be purchased online at NPACVW.ORG or by calling or visiting our box office at 419.238.NPAC (6722).

As a reminder to non-profit organizations interested in earning some money, contact the Van Wert County Foundation office at 419.238.1743 or stop by and enter your name in the lottery for Fountain Park Summer Music Series concerts. You have until April 1 to enter. I will be announcing the Fountain Park concert line-up in another week. You’re gonna love it!  Many brand new performers are on the series, as well as a few surprises. It will be a fun summer in Fountain Park once again!


POSTED: 03/16/16 at 7:08 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert