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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Mar. 5, 2015


Music in Van Wert

By: Paul Hoverman


With the winter weather not giving up yet, I feel Pat Boone may feel more like singing “Love Letters in the Snow” rather than “Love Letters in the Sand.”  Of course the latter is one of Pat Boone’s biggest hit songs and one of the top love songs of all time.

Pat Boone will whisk into Van Wert this Sunday for a 3 p.m. concert of “Music & Memories” at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. A few tickets remain if you want to share in a couple hours of music and memories with one of America’s legendary singers, actors, and TV men.  I am told we will share in memories from the past as we get a glimpse and first-hand account of the famous Boone family and the many famous singers and entertainers who crossed paths with them. Video and, of course, songs Pat will sing, will certainly take the audience back to the days of its youth. The younger audience members will learn and experience entertainment and gain a grand historical perspective.

When Pat Boone’s daughter, Debby, visited Van Wert in 2013 as part of our Community Concert Series too, she mentioned to her father how much she enjoyed our town and performing in the Niswonger for an appreciative and enjoyable audience. So, when we asked her father to perform, he was happy to oblige. I’m sure we will show him as much love and appreciation as we did his daughter.

The following week brings a contrasting concert to the Niswonger. On Saturday, March 14, the contemporary Christian band Newsboys will be in town to rock the house. Many are familiar with them from last year’s hit movie, God is Not Dead, which is one of their famous hit songs, too. The house will be filled with young kids who are loyal Newsboys fans and everyone should expect a “high volume” concert at times!  So beware!

There are many fans still wanting tickets for this sold-out concert at the Niswonger, so it shouldn’t be any problem selling your ticket if you think this isn’t “your bag.”  Appearing with the Newsboys will also be special guests Finding Favour, Audio Adrenaline and newcomer John Tibbs.

Looking much ahead, we will be announcing the Fountain Park Summer Music Series line-up real soon.  It will feature seven concerts and all but one will be new to the park. Six new bands coming from all over the country will be filling the outdoors with fun music this summer. Remember, non-profit organizations, contact The Van Wert County Foundation office at 419.238.1743 if you are interested in being considered to serve food with one of these concerts this summer. We need the name of your organization, a contact person, phone number and email address. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the summer!

As you read this article, we will have just experienced the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors on Tuesday night.  We thank Times Bulletin Media for helping sponsor this free event at the Niswonger for many to enjoy. All of the printed tickets were distributed and if the weather cooperated, there should be a full house. Your tax dollars at work … in a good way, I might say!


POSTED: 03/03/15 at 11:03 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

In thinking of what to share with you this week, one thing was in common.  Pat, piano, and park all start with the letter “P”.  I know it’s a stretch, but hang in there with me.  Two upcoming concerts at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center feature Pat Boone and pianist Leon Bates. I’ll speak to the third “P” in a moment.

After taking a week off of Niswonger concerts, where we allow “Ohio Has Talent!” to take the stage in an entertaining and very worthwhile cause this Saturday, we return with “The Music & Memories of Pat Boone” on March 8. Boone is a singer, actor, TV man and legendary performer whom we are honored to present on our Central Insurance Stage at the Niswonger.  Some may say he is past his prime, but it is his prime that earns him the opportunity to perform for us.  Not only that, according to his daughter, Debby, who stole our hearts in concert two years ago, “Dad still sounds good and has a very entertaining show you will really enjoy!”

Pat Boone is still very active and just released a new album entitled Legacy with 17 new recordings.  He does TV commercials and two radio shows currently.  Not bad for a man of 81 years!

I am told he will sing and tell stories like how he once did a concert and had an opening act take the stage before him — a little known male singer by the name of Elvis.  Pat says, “Thank goodness, I had a couple hit songs at the time because I had to follow Elvis Presley!”  Pat’s show will also consist of video of his career and the many performers he has shared the stage with as well as family and film clips.

“Music & Memories” — come share them with Pat Boone at the Niswonger on Sunday afternoon, March 8 for a 3 p.m. show.  You’ll be glad you did.

Pianist Leon Bates then comes to town for a weekend of activities, culminating in a piano concert on Sunday, March 22, also at 3 p.m.  On Saturday, March 21, Mr. Bates will present a talk on the contributions of African-American composers of music.  This will begin at 2 p.m. in the Music Hall and then will be followed by a master class where select piano students from the area and region will perform pieces for Mr. Bates.  All are welcome to stay after the talk and see how a master pianist transforms these young budding pianists.  Both of these events are free and open to the public as part of our Speaker/Lecture Series and educational outreach.

The following afternoon, Sunday, March 22, at 3 p.m., Leon Bates will take the stage in a formal piano concert, demonstrating his power, finesse, and virtuosity on our Baldwin SD 10 concert grand piano.  Tickets for this concert range from $10 to $20 and are available at the box office or online at

My final “P” is park!  What has turned out to be another rough winter needs a shot of hope. That will come soon as The Van Wert County Foundation reveals the Fountain Park Summer Music line-up in the near future. Just think, in about three months you’ll be planting your lawn chairs on the green grass of Fountain Park under blue skies and take in some of the finest summer music you’ll ever hear.

This is the first notice to VW County non-profit organizations: you may start submitting requests to The Foundation office (419.238.1743) for consideration of selling food in the park.  If you were not selected last year, you are eligible for this year. We will take names throughout the month of March and make selections on April 1. Now if this doesn’t warm you up, nothing will.  Hope springs eternal — especially when you are talking music!

So, remember your three “P’s”- Pat (Boone), Pianist, Leon Bates, and Park Music.  I will see you at one or all three.


POSTED: 02/25/15 at 8:31 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Perhaps I should have titled this “and all that Jazz!” after the hit song from the musical Chicago.  But, what I wanted to communicate to you is that there are all kinds of music and they all loosely get categorized under “Jazz.”  The music idiom of Jazz has been attached to so many styles that it is almost confusing.  It is certainly confusing to someone trying to determine whether they actually like it or not.

Early Jazz originated from the Blues and Spirituals created by African slaves in the 1800s.  Since then, it has taken the form of Ragtime, Blues, Gospel, Big Band, Be-Bop, Swing, and even what we now call Smooth Jazz; and probably many other forms between.

In the next two weeks, we have two types of Jazz coming to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert.  This Saturday night, February 21, will feature a group called Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  Some might call them a Jazz Band, and certainly they have elements of Jazz in their music.  More accurately however, they would be defined as a Swing Band.  They will have a hard-hitting rhythmic feel to the music created by horns, drums and vocals.  This is not exactly the Benny Goodman Swing some may be thinking of, although it will certainly be toe tapping and a dancing in the aisles feel much like young people enjoyed in the 1940s to Goodman’s music.

I was told that the people of the Greenville, Tennessee, Niswonger Performing Arts Center enjoyed Big Bad Voodoo Daddy more than almost any show they have ever had.  It will certainly be a fun and lively night.  Tickets remain for this 7:30 p.m. concert.  If you are looking for a fun evening, this is one you won’t want to miss!  I have to tell you that when I mentioned this concert from the stage this past Sunday before “Anything Goes,” the musicians in the pit were giving me high five gestures. They are all Big Bad fans!

Then on Tuesday, March 3, the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors come to town to present a free concert at the Niswonger.  Of course, the price can’t be beaten!  What I will also guarantee is that the enjoyment also may not be beaten.  We have had the privilege of presenting the U.S. Army Field Band’s Concert Band and Soldier’s Chorus, as well as the Navy Sea Chanters and the Wright Patterson Air Force Band of Flight.  They have all presented exceptional shows — as a matter of fact, some of my all-time favorites.

The Jazz Ambassadors will perform a diverse program of Jazz tunes. Those who enjoy Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman will certainly be pleased, but so will others looking for their fill of more current songs and, of course, patriotic songs done in a Jazz style, but still poignantly patriotic!  I have heard a number of their arrangements and they are exceptional, especially the patriotic tunes.  They will have vocals along with their Big Band sounds.

Free tickets have been distributed at the Times-Bulletin Media office on Fox Road as well as the Niswonger box office.  After a deluge of ticket distribution following “Anything Goes,” we are just about out.  If you don’t yet have a ticket, get yours immediately before they are all gone.  We thank the Times-Bulletin Media for helping sponsor this free concert.

Memphis, the musical, is coming to town on March 28-29. It is an exceptional Broadway musical that will have other elements of Jazz in it, along with the Blues and early Rock ‘n’ Roll.  We finish the season on April 25 with The Temptations and some might call it a type of Jazz, although they are more commonly referred to as an R&B (rhythm and blues) group. They’ve been sold out for over a month!

All kinds of Jazz at the Niswonger. Make your choice and see what you like the most.  You may like them all!


POSTED: 02/18/15 at 7:04 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Broadway returns to the Niswonger this Sunday with the classic smash hit musical, Anything Goes.  With its introduction on Broadway in 1934, it has become one of those “classics” which are so good, they just keep reappearing.  The most recent revival came in 2011, when it garnered several Tony Awards, including “Best Musical Revival”, while playing at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York.

Cole Porter’s music helped make it the smash hit with songs like, “I Get a Kick out of You,” made popular by Frank Sinatra as well as others, “You’re the Top,” and of course “Anything Goes.”  And if you like tap dancing, you will love this musical.  A big cast of dancers and singers will appear on stage with a live orchestra in the pit.

I just came from my dentist appointment this morning and one of the hygienists came running over to my chair and said she just took her entire family to Columbus this past weekend to see the show because they were going to be gone when it’s here in town.  She said it was wonderful!  The perfect classic Broadway show with beautiful costumes, lots of color, dancing and singing.  She said everyone needs to see this one.  She did admit that she probably paid more in Columbus than she would have here.  Man! We are running a special (if there are any seats left) for balcony seats at just $10. Incredible!  I believe I saw about a hundred seats remaining for this Sunday afternoon show at 3 p.m.  Anything goes!

The second of our two Broadway shows is on Saturday night, March 28.  Memphis is a show I hope everyone will check out. My wife and I saw it in New York a couple years ago and knew we needed to get it to Van Wert for you to enjoy too.

I think it is the story line that makes this musical so appealing to me, but the music is also outstanding. The story of Memphis tells of a late night radio DJ who took a big risk of playing a new kind of music just starting to come around in the early 1950s.  It was called Rock ‘n Roll. You can imagine the chaos he created by playing this kind of music for the first time for many of the Memphis area listeners. The music is created on stage with the live band and the singing and tunes are outstanding.

The story continues when this Rock “n Roll radio DJ meets the Memphis Blues and a female African-American Blues singer and (of course) they fall in love. Remember, it’s Broadway!  This was not a good thing in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1950s in particular.  I’ll let you research the rest of the story, but let me just say that we so enjoyed the show that we wanted to share it with our Niswonger audience.  Give it a chance, I think you’ll love it too.

Tickets are on sale for both these Broadway shows which will soon fall in line with past Broadway Shows the Niswonger has bought to town including, Annie, Oklahoma!, Fiddler on the Roof, Shrek — the Musical, The Addams Family, Westside Story, and Porgy & Bess.  The Booking Group out of New York has worked with us to bring some of the greatest shows touring today to the Niswonger for our audiences to enjoy.  We are truly bringing New York, Chicago, and London right here in your own back yard.  All you need to do is buy your ticket and enjoy!


POSTED: 02/11/15 at 6:58 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

This weekend is packed with two events I hope you can include in your schedule.  First of all, this Saturday, stand-up comedian and star of several movies and TV shows, Sinbad will be at the Niswonger.  With all the snow and cold weather we’ve been experiencing lately, some good laughs might be just what the doctor ordered.

There are few people, let alone comedians, who are widely known and recognized by just their first name.  With Sinbad, the name and the face say it all.  If you are someone who doesn’t recognize Sinbad, I encourage you to Google him (my daughter would be happy) and check him out.  Listen to a little of his comedy sketch and I think you will agree, everyone at the Niswonger this Saturday night is in for a good time!

A few seats remain for his show, although we are nearing capacity.  Call the box office (419.238.6722) or go online ( to reserve a seat before it’s too late!

And while you’re at it, don’t forget about the Broadway smash hit Anything Goes that comes sailing into Van Wert on Sunday, February 15, for an afternoon of great fun, music and dancing.  Of course, if you are going to Columbus or even the UK, you could catch the show there this month.  But, if it’s easier to see it in Van Wert, then I hope to see you on February 15 at 3 p.m.  Just one show at the Niswonger and tickets are going quickly for this one too!

This Sunday afternoon, February 8, features the Van Wert County Young Artist Recital at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert.  It starts at 3 p.m. and presents the very talented young musicians from Crestview, Lincolnview and Van Wert High Schools. This is the 12th annual Van Wert County Young Artist Recital, sponsored by The Van Wert County Foundation.

There will be 19 solos and ensembles on the recital this year.  They have all performed at the Ohio Music Educator’s Solo & Ensemble Contest held three weeks ago at St. Marys Memorial High School.  Based on their outstanding performances, they have been recommended to be on this prestigious recital.  Past performers have gone on to professional music careers in performance and teaching. ,

The Young Artist Recital is free and open to the public.  One of the primary purposes of this event is to allow the public and other students enjoy performances that have been worked on for months, in some cases.  Our recital gives the students another opportunity to perform for parents, grandparents, fellow students from different schools and the general public.  I hope you can make it to First Church’s sanctuary for this free performance and encourage our youth who are doing good things with their lives through music.  It is a great learning experience for these young adults.

Laugh and learn this Saturday and Sunday with comedy and music, right here in Van Wert!


POSTED: 02/03/15 at 11:19 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

This past weekend was a busy, but educational, productive and inspiring one at the Hoverman home.  Michael Levine, founder and trombonist of Dallas Brass, returned to Van Wert to share with some of us a dream he has been working on for the past four years.

Dallas Brass performed at the Niswonger this past November and many of us were able to get a small glimpse of what his dream is all about.  It’s called Harmony Bridge.  It’s a program he is developing that incorporates music students, communities, nursing homes, veterans homes, parents, service clubs, and school music programs.

Back in November when Dallas Brass performed in Van Wert, Michael shared his vision for this project with my wife and me. It was easy to see the passion he has for this project. When asked what it is, he simply says, “It’s about changing the world!”  After a short lunch discussion, Michael could see that we shared some of his passion for changing kids’ lives through music.

This weekend, while staying in our home, we had many discussions about his project Harmony Bridge.  It all came to him several years ago when he coached a few kids on some simple songs, then took them to play for some elderly nursing home residents. What he witnessed was an epiphany of sorts to him. He saw these residents light up with life that had left many of them as they heard these students play simple songs the residents recalled from their childhood. He also witnessed the caring and loving interaction between the young students and the elderly residents. It dawned on him that he may be on to something.

Dallas Brass has been his passion and vocation for 30 years. He has enjoyed performing for audiences all over the world. However, when he saw the reactions of these people as they listened to the kids perform as simple a song as “The Muffin Man”, he felt more fulfillment than any standing ovation from a Dallas Brass performance. It is easy to see how much this project means to him as soon as you start discussing it.

Michael is a Julliard trained graduate in trombone performance. Upon graduation, he played three years in the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, then three years in the Dallas Cowboys Band (my personal favorite), before starting up Dallas Brass. An important element of nearly every Dallas Brass concert is the interaction they have with students.  Michael and his fellow musicians bring simple and fun arrangements that kids can play. In a short amount of time, they can make them sound good, while improving musical skills for the kids and developing more confidence as players.  This in turn helps develop better bands.

By adding the element of sharing the music with the elderly, it opens a whole new perspective to Harmony Bridge. Michael shared video of kids he has worked with all over the country using some of the elements of Harmony Bridge. The kids feel good about making music and sharing it with people who feel their better days are behind them. There is so much proof that the nerves in the brain that store musical memory are the last to leave a person as they grow older. In essence, music restores life!

After nearly four days and many hours of discussion about Harmony Bridge and how it can engage a school music program and a community, Michael left us to fly to Colorado for a performance with Dallas Brass at a state music conference. I don’t think we have heard the last of Harmony Bridge. It could change the world!


POSTED: 01/28/15 at 7:33 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Here’s what’s new in performing arts for Van Wert this year.  I’ve been teasing you for a few weeks about some changes and additions to the performing arts scene as we enter 2015.  Now, we are ready to announce some exciting new opportunities for everyone to enjoy, in addition to the already scheduled events at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

The first announcement is that the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors will be making their very first appearance in Van Wert at the Niswonger on Tuesday, March 3. The Jazz Ambassadors are part of the U.S. Army Field Band out of Washington, D.C.  We have been honored to have the Concert Band and Army Chorus, and now we have the privilege of hosting “America’s Big Band”- the Jazz Ambassadors. This 19-piece big band is the official touring big band of the United States Army.  Formed in 1969, this musical ensemble has traveled from Boston to Baghdad and Tampa to Tokyo, performing America’s greatest original art form, jazz.

As with other military band concerts we have hosted, you will experience the very finest musicians the U.S. Army has to offer, many with advanced music degrees. The programming is always outstanding!  Some of the most memorable concerts I have experienced at the Niswonger have come from the military, whether it’s the Army, Navy or Air Force.

in listening to recordings of the Jazz Ambassadors, I know you will enjoy music from some of the greatest big band leaders of our time such as Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Gene Krupa, and others. I also know you will be stirred by the powerful vocals in some wonderful patriotic arrangements such as “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “God Bless America”.

Each Memorial Day and Fourth of July, I watch the celebrations on TV and see some of the friends we have made at the Niswonger who have performed on our stage.  This concert will feature some of these same outstanding musicians you may see on TV.

This concert, as with all other military concerts, is free of charge, but a ticket must be obtained. We are fortunate to team with Times Bulletin Media on Fox Road in Van Wert in sponsorship of this concert. Free tickets may be picked up at the Times Bulletin office or the Niswonger box office.

Another concert announcement came with the addition of singer, television, and movie star Pat Boone who will be replacing Love Letters on March 8 at 3 p.m.  Love Letters, starring Barbara Eden and Hal Linden, had to be replaced due to a schedule conflict with Linden. “Music & Memories” with Pat Boone will replace Love Letters.  Your same ticket will work for this replacement concert.  We are extremely pleased to be able to fill the date with such an outstanding performer as Pat Boone.  Pat heard wonderful things about the Niswonger from his daughter, Debby, when she performed here two years ago and he is excited to share his walk down memory lane with all of you.

Another event was announced that the Niswonger will host Pam Tebow, mother of Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, as Hands of Hope Pregnancy Services is presenting her through this Paulding County organization. Tickets for this March 18 program are available through the Niswonger box office and on-line at  Pam and her son, Tim made headline news during a pro-life commercial that ran during the Super Bowl two years ago.  Pam travels the country speaking in favor of life over abortion and has a powerful message many enjoy hearing.

This Sunday, we get back in the swing of things as we welcome National Geographic’s most sought after photographer of our time, Paul Nicklen.  His program, entitled “Polar Obsessions”, is an amazing pictorial, video and story-telling presentation of his excursions to the Polar Regions, where he has risked his life taking vivid pictures of wildlife we never get to see.  I am sure it will be an amazing afternoon of entertainment and experiences.  It starts at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door and begin at just $15.

I would love to tell you about my trip to New York City last week as I attended the Performing Arts International Conference, but that will have to wait for a less busy time. As I promised, the first opportunity I had to walk up to a NYC cop in Times Square, I thanked him for his service.  As I walked away, he held his hand out to shake mine and thank me. It was obvious that he appreciated the gesture. Not as much as I appreciated his service, though!


POSTED: 01/21/15 at 7:11 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

This weekend is a busy one at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center and for high school honor musicians throughout the district. OMEA (Ohio Music Educators Association) District III presents its showcase of outstanding musicians this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Niswonger in Van Wert. The festival concert is open to the public for a nominal ticket fee.

The Niswonger has been pleased to host this outstanding musical event for the past several years. It is always well attended and is truly a showcase concert of jazz and concert bands and chorus.

Each year, for nearly 50 years, the Ohio Music Educators Association has presented a concert of highly qualified musicians throughout the district, which includes Van Wert, Paulding, Mercer, Auglaize, Mercer, Allen, Hancock and Hardin counties. That incorporates a lot of high schools and a lot of student musicians. District III has always boasted one of the finest festival concerts in all of Ohio. It attracts the finest student musicians (all auditioned) and some of the most outstanding guest conductors, who provide excellent musical experiences for those involved. Together, they also provide the audience with an exceptional concert experience.

This year, the concert band was to have been directed by Dr. Russell Mikkelson, director of bands at The Ohio State University.  With the Buckeyes’ recent victory over Alabama, setting up the national championship game this Monday in Dallas, Dr. Mikkelson had to cancel. He has been replaced by the very capable Jeffery Shellhammer, current lecturer at The Ohio State University and formerly Capital University, as well as having a distinguished public school teaching career in instrumental music.

Mr. Duane Davis is the guest choral conductor and comes from Western Michigan University and Grand Rapids Community College. I had the privilege of watching a portion of his rehearsal with the Honors Chorus this past Saturday and it was indeed a privilege. It seems there are far too few opportunities to sit and learn from someone who is so inspiring and educational. I told my wife that it was one of those times when you just shut up, listen and learn. You know when you are in the presence of a master. I am sure the students singing in the district chorus are in for an inspiring concert experience.

Van Wert County and City Schools will be well represented in this concert. A commendation should also go to Robert Sloan, director of bands at Van Wert High School, who organizes this big event each year. It is always well organized and receives comments of being one of the best run festivals in the state.

The Van Wert County Foundation Saltzgaber Music Hall usually fills up for this concert. Doors will open 30 minutes before the 3 p.m. concert. Lobby doors and access to tickets will be open by at least 2 p.m.  WTLW Channel 44 out of Lima will be on hand to broadcast the concert as well.

We are off at the Niswonger until January 25, when National Geographic prize-winning photographer Paul Nicklen comes to town to share his experiences in Polar Obsession — a topic which we will probably relate to quite well this month! Watch the media for some exciting announcements of some new events coming to the Niswonger in the near future. In the meantime, I’m off to NYC in search of some more talent for next year. I’ll see you in two weeks!


POSTED: 01/07/15 at 8:04 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Here’s to a happy, prosperous, healthy and arts-filled New Year!  Looking back on 2014, it was a successful year for the arts in Van Wert. The Van Wert County Foundation salvaged a Van Wert landmark by making the Armory into the new Wassenberg Art Center, providing our area with yet another cultural wonder to enjoy. The parking lot is now taking shape and this spring will sprout with greenery and landscaping, making it an attractive corner on one of our busiest highways running through town.

Next up is the Franklin Park project, which is already being anticipated by many for the benefits it will provide. I just returned from our Rotary Club meeting and heard how the YWCA is looking forward to utilizing it for summer and after-school programs.  What a wonderful project this is going to be for Van Wert, and its location is right in the heart of town. Thanks once again to The Van Wert County Foundation and the Scott Niswonger Foundation.

We had another successful Fountain Park Summer Music Series this past summer, thanks to The Van Wert County Foundation once again teaming with the Van Wert Parks Department. As I stand at First United Methodist Church and gaze toward the park, it amazes me how quickly winter turns to spring and then, suddenly, we are into another summer of concerts in the park.

I am off to New York City in search of talent for the coming summer concerts as well as next season at the Niswonger  (I hope the police are in a protective mood!  And you can bet at some point during my visit, I will stop a NYC cop and thank him or her for their service). When I return, it will be full speed ahead into planning for next season.

I am never short on ideas from interested patrons of the Fountain Park concerts or the Niswonger season. These are taken into consideration and mixed with some first-hand concerts I get to experience as well as advice I receive from other presenters and agents.  As a programming committee, we consider many aspects of most every concert that is programmed at the Niswonger.  We want to offer diversely entertaining and culturally enriching events we think people will either want to attend or at least give them a chance.  We have high principles we wish to uphold for the concerts we select, knowing the rich traditional values most in our community cherish.  Unfortunately, on occasion, we get disappointed by some things that are said from the stage. Obviously, we have little control of these situations. I appreciate that most understand this and give us credit for trying our best. We always will!

As we look at programming at the performing arts center, it is amazing at how many performers there are who would love to perform at our center. It is because of this that we rarely repeat performers. One of the most difficult aspects in programming is to find something that we think all will enjoy. It is virtually impossible to find something everyone will enjoy. But, as I have said many times over the past 12 years of writing this “Music in Van Wert” column, my greatest joy comes from introducing new performers to you and see how much you enjoy another new “musical” experience. Discovery keeps us new, fresh and alive!  Thank you for your openness to new things.

As we look into 2015 and beyond, I applaud so many of you for expanding your cultural and artistic tastes by attending so many of our concerts. The remainder of this Niswonger season offers everything from a world-class national Geographic photographer to comedians, Broadway shows, kids’ shows and music of all kind. Variety is the name of our game and we will continue to cross over many boundaries to expand the arts culture throughout the region.

Happy New Year to all! I look forward to a wonderful musical year ahead and most of all, sharing it with you, our cherished patrons!


POSTED: 12/31/14 at 7:06 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

On behalf of the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation and our parent foundation, The Van Wert County Foundation, I am happy to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  It is because of so many of you local readers of this column, the Fountain Park Summer Music Series and especially the patrons of the Niswonger concerts, that the performing arts are thriving in Van Wert.  We couldn’t do this without you.

We have just about reached our halfway point in the Niswonger season, and now look forward to an exciting second half.  So many outstanding entertainers and musical artists are in our second half.  And don’t forget about the very interesting Polar Expressions by Paul Nicklen, one of National Geographic’s most celebrated, daring, and exciting photographers of our time.

We also have some exciting news we will be sharing with everyone very soon regarding one of our concerts. We have had to cancel one of our concerts, but we have some very exciting news to share about its replacement. Details to come as this develops. We will also be announcing a free concert coming in March for everyone to enjoy. Once again, details to come.

Thank you to all who attended this year’s performance of Handel’s Messiah.  A lot of work on our local level went into this professional performance and somehow makes it even more rewarding.  If you didn’t catch the performance, you may want to tune into our local public access TV Channel 6 on Time Warner Cable. They will be showing the performance throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  It will be interspersed with some of the school Christmas concerts presented this past month.

It’s during special times like Christmas that we think of those who we work with and help make everything we do successful. There are so many volunteers who provide services in such a loyal way to the Niswonger. We can’t begin to thank all of them for their contributions. I would put their volunteerism up against any in the world.  We are truly blessed.

I have such an effective and quality staff that does all its work in a friendly and professional way, I once again feel blessed. These concerts don’t get picked, planned, promoted, sold and presented without this wonderful staff I have.

My Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation board is supportive, very caring, and dutiful in their service. I thank them and look forward to taking the activities at the Niswonger to an even higher level in the future with their support.

And all the activities fall under the umbrella of The Van Wert County Foundation. The board of directors, secretarial staff and our new executive secretary, Seth Baker, are committed to supporting our efforts of bringing the arts to the high level we in Van Wert, and throughout the region, have come to expect.

With this level of commitment and zest for the arts, we continue to flourish and look anxiously to the future for even better things to come.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. And a happy 2015!


POSTED: 12/24/14 at 7:15 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert