The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

 

Music in Van Wert

By: Paul Hoverman

 

Although I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, it just won’t leave my mind. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is to meet artists and performers who are sometimes world-renown and yet you find out are just like you and me.  Case in point: J. Mark McVey.

This past Saturday night, the Niswonger hosted “Inspiration of Broadway.”  It featured Ernie Haase & Signature Sound as well as Mr. McVey. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound is one of the most dynamic and well known of the contemporary Southern Gospel Music quartets. Mark McVey, on the other hand, has made his mark in the entertainment world through Broadway.  Although he has performed many roles in Broadway shows, the one he is most known for is Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.  He performed 3,268 times as the lead in this blockbuster show.

Until I heard Mark with Signature Sound this past Saturday, I felt this was an awkward marriage of two artists and artistic styles: Southern Gospel and Broadway.  For those fortunate enough to hear the concert this past Saturday, I think we all became believers. And this leads me into J. Mark McVey.  Mark is a believer on many fronts.

After so much success on “The Great White Way,” one might think McVey would be caught up in himself and his gifted abilities. To the contrary, I found Mark to be very personable and very approachable.  His father and a family friend traveled from Charleston, West Virginia, Mark’s hometown, to see his son perform at the Niswonger. After visiting with them for a while, we ended up sharing a post-concert meal at our local Bob Evans Restaurant, which by the way is now staying open late for our concert nights.

Here we were, eating and talking about music, entertainment, and life with Jean Valjean and his father in Bob Evans Restaurant.  After sharing stories, one thing led to another and this guy who has shared the stage and TV with some of the biggest stars of today, agreed to come to church the next morning and even sing for our congregation.  The Inspiration of Broadway was coming to First United Methodist to share in music and message.

Mark explained to my wife and me that he had found Christ through his experience of performing the lead role in Les Miserables 3,268 times.  I can only imagine that one would become that person after so many performances. He explained that the message of Les Miserables is one of love and redemption, and one that spoke deeply to his spirit.  He now loves to sing and share his testimony in churches whenever he can. It was obvious that he also just loves to worship, as he was an active worshipper in our service.  What an inspiration he was to those attending First United Methodist Church!  What an inspiration he was for those attending the Niswonger on Saturday night! His signature song, “Bring Him Home” was absolutely entrancing and emotional, especially for those familiar with the story of Les Miserables.

It is always a pleasure to get to meet performers who are nice people. It was a pleasure and an honor to get to know the real person behind Jean Valjean. Nice people do finish first!  And in my book, J. Mark McVey is first-rate in many ways.

FINÉ.

POSTED: 10/21/14 at 11:13 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

The biennial performance of Handel’s Messiah will be Sunday, December 14, at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Van Wert. This is a Christmas tradition that dates well into the 1900s.  Sponsored by The Van Wert County Foundation, in cooperation with First United Methodist Church, this is a Van Wert tradition that continues to pack the sanctuary each year it is performed.

A volunteer community chorus is being recruited, which will start rehearsals November 9 and continue Sunday afternoons from 3-5 p.m. right up to the December 14 performance.  In the past, we have had choruses of 75-80 singers, which is about the maximum number we can accommodate. The performance is with a professional chamber orchestra and soloists. The soloists are already committed and are looking forward to their performance in Van Wert. I will be excited to announce them as we draw closer to the performance date.

If you have ever considered singing in our Messiah chorus, I encourage you to join us this year.  We are filled with accomplished singers, as well as those who thought they could never do it, but have since proven they could. Many singers have their own copy of the music (Schirmer edition), but we also have copies available for those needing them.  So, please don’t let that be a deterrent.  We welcome you if you like to sing and can sing in tune and on pitch.  It’s truly amazing what one can accomplish when singing with friends.  And what better way to make friends then to sing with them!  As the old adage says, “Talk with me and I’m your friend; sing with me and I’m your brother (or sister).”

As director and organizer, I look forward to welcoming back many of our previous singers and hope they invite new singers to join us this year.  We will have just five rehearsals this year, but I am confident we can accomplish our musical goal in providing an inspiring chorus to, in the words of Handel, himself, “not only entertain them, but to make them better!”

Consider joining us this year.  I am confident that most anyone who has participated in the past would concur, it is a real uplifting and inspiring way to make your Christmas season extra special and meaningful.  There truly is no other feeling than the power and inspiration one feels when singing the “Amen” chorus as it rises to a tumultuous and powerful ending; and then topped only by the victorious “Hallelujah!” chorus.

Remember, the the first rehearsal is Sunday, November 9, from 3-5 p.m. in the First U.M. sanctuary. Tell a friend, bring a friend.

The beginning of the Niswonger Grand Series kicks off this Saturday with “Inspiration of Broadway” featuring Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, along with special guest star J. Mark McVey. McVey has starred in many Broadway productions as well as playing the role of Jean Valjean in London’s performance of Les Miserables.  His incredible voice, along with Signature Sound, will provide for the perfect opening to a blockbuster season at the Niswonger.

A few tickets remain if you would like to get a piece of the PAC action at the Niswonger.  We look forward to seeing you for this inspirational concert that will have you wanting to sing along all night long.  But I have the feeling once you hear these incredible voices, you’ll just want to listen.  It begins at 7:30 p.m., with lobby doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and performance hall doors opening at 7 that evening.

Just a note to let you know that the Olate Dogs performance on November 1 is nearly sold out. About 50 seats remain to see these loveable and talented dogs who won “America’s Got Talent” in 2012. Kids will love it and adults will be amazed!  Get your ticket now for this Saturday afternoon matinee.  Remember, this one starts at 3 p.m.

FINÉ.

POSTED: 10/15/14 at 5:38 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

After last Saturday’s season opener with the Annie Moses Band, I can indeed say, “Inspiration is Alive!”  This is the hashtag we have been putting out there when we talk about our new season at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.  As a matter of fact, when you plug into a search engine on a computer “Inspiration is Alive!” it will take you to our website.

Certainly the Niswonger was full of inspiration Saturday night with the Annie Moses Band.  From beginning to end, this family of musicians and entertainers nearly mesmerized the audience.  The thing I enjoyed the most was the quality of the show. With Julliard trained brothers and sisters, one would expect the music to be of immense quality, which it was. What I think many did not expect was the entertainment value of the concert. You know it’s a good concert when you are left wanting more.

We saw young and old alike really enjoying the concert.  This really makes me feel good when we can offer concerts that reach across generations for all to enjoy.  And although this was not a sacred concert, one really left feeling uplifted … or dare I say inspired!

Looking ahead, we have another concert on October 13, a Monday night, with a group coming all the way from Cuba.  An interesting side bar to this will be a Q & A session held in the First Federal Lecture Hall prior to the concert.  We have invited students studying Spanish to attend and ask questions in their language.  It should provide a very educational opportunity for these students and an entertaining opportunity for others.

Cuba is an interesting country.  One we don’t know much about.  Thankfully, the Habaneros have been given the opportunity to come to America to perform and share about their culture with music and pictures of their homeland.  It should be an interesting concert, but also very entertaining … and dare I say inspirational!  I’ve seen their program and it is filled with Cuban music, which is highly rhythmic and very lively.  Tickets start at just $10.  You may get them at the door Monday night for this 7:30 p.m. concert.

Since we are talking about inspiration, I can’t think of a better concert to offer than “The Inspiration of Broadway.”  You don’t know the show, but you know its players and its music.  Ernie Haase and Signature Sound is one of the most prolific Southern Gospel quartets in the world.  As a matter of fact, we had them in concert a couple years ago.  Now, in their new show, “The Inspiration of Broadway,” they have joined forces with J. Mark McVey, one of Broadway’s most powerful voices.  McVey sang the lead role of Jean Valjean in London’s production of Les Miserables.  Together, Signature Sound and McVey will … dare I say again, inspire us with some of the most inspirational and beloved songs of Broadway.

The Inspiration of Broadway will be Saturday, October 18, starting at 7:30 p.m.  Get your tickets now for this mega concert.  I have heard wonderful things about this production. I don’t think you want to miss this one at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, “Where Inspiration is Alive!”

FINÉ.

POSTED: 10/07/14 at 10:47 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I was recently cleaning out (okay, more like reshuffling) a desk drawer and saw a card someone had sent me nearly seven years ago.  In the card, she made mention of how she has enjoyed buying her parents a Community Concert Series each year as an anniversary gift.  She called it the “perfect gift.”  This got me thinking of just how wonderful this would be for someone.

It seems most people rely on what has become the traditional gift card anymore for birthdays, anniversaries and such gift-giving events. Although we all enjoy receiving something for nothing in the form of a gift card, it is quite often a one-time experience that is here and gone in one day. A Community Concert Series this year offers six concerts for someone to enjoy throughout the year. Not only do they get to enjoy a wonderful concert or show, but they get to enjoy it with many other friendly people.

This Saturday, we not only kick off our new season at the Niswonger, but we also kick off our Community Concert Series with the Annie Moses Band. And what a wonderful family attraction concert event to start our season with!  World-class music and entertainment in a wholesome environment makes this a perfect gift for anyone.

The series continues with folk music legend Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary on October 9 and then travels to Cuba with The Habaneros in a lively concert and video presentation right at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert on October 13.

We then wait until March 8 when two TV legends, Barbara Eden and Hal Linden, come to our stage in an engaging and memorable stage production of Love Letters.  Phenomenal concert pianist Leon Bates will perform on March 22 and then we round out the series with a lively show called StepCrew, filled with music and dance on April 14.

Six outstanding concerts to enjoy with hundreds of other wonderful concert attenders for as low as $60 for the entire series, indeed, makes this the perfect gift for someone to enjoy throughout the year.   I guarantee your loved one will thank you for many memorable concert experiences.  Perhaps they will invite a friend and enjoy a meal out with someone who got a gift card?

The Niswonger Performing Arts Center box office is now open Monday through Friday from 12-4 PM to help serve your needs.  You can also order the series on-line by visiting our website: NPACVW.ORG and clicking on “Events.”  If you are from out of town and you want to surprise a loved one, you may wish to order on-line and we will be happy to deliver your good wishes in a package of musical and show time experiences.

At any rate, I look forward to seeing you this Saturday night as we open the curtain on a brand new season at the Niswonger.  We can’t wait to show you all the new things we have planned for the evening as well as the entire season.  Remember! at the Niswonger, a concert and show offer so much more than you expect.  We are still adding elements to the concerts at the Niswonger because we believe you deserve more when you come to the Niswonger.  Come this Saturday and see what surprises we have in store.  We look forward to seeing you at the Niswonger, “Where inspiration is Alive!”

FINÉ.

POSTED: 09/30/14 at 6:43 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

With just under two weeks to go before our opening concert at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, I am getting more and more excited about the Annie Moses Band.  The more I read and discover about them, the more I look forward to hearing them.

When one reads “A Tribute to Grandma Moses,” one might think of old-time music.  The Annie Moses Band is far from your grandma’s music, although it certainly pays tribute to Grandma Annie.

Former Van Wert County Commissioner Harold Merkle shared an article with me recently about the Annie Moses Band. It was published in Guideposts magazine in September 2013.  It talks about how the band actually got its name. Great-grandma Moses grew up working hard labor in the cotton fields of Texas.  While toiling in the fields, she would sing songs to help take her mind off the hard work. Many of the songs she learned came from the influence of the Chocktaw Indians and a little country church in the hills of Oklahoma.

Annie Moses Band

Annie Moses Band

She gave birth to two boys and one little girl who acquired her love for music.  She became who the band now calls “Grandma Moses,” the mother of Robin Moses, who is the founder and mother of the Annie Moses Band. Although Grandma Moses had only eight piano lessons in her life, she made sure that her children learned piano and had proper training.  She made sure daddy bought a piano, paying $12 a month for a little spinet, complete with a doily on top with wax build up from the candles and mice and termites living in the bottom.

Grandma Moses, however, did everything in her power to make sure her little girl acquired her love of music, for as she put it, “Music helps us give voice to our prayers.  Through music we can express our deepest longings.”  This little girl, Robin, would sing and play in her liddle biddy church every chance she could get.  Her father, a circuit preacher and missionary would take the family with him and they would play and sing while he preached.  It is there that Robin learned to love the stage and gain confidence of performing before crowds.  She eventually would go off to college and study voice and it is there that she met and fell in love with her husband, a piano major.  These were the humble beginnings to the Annie Moses Band.

While at Oklahoma City University, Robin heard a young Asian 5-year-old girl playing “Go Tell Aunt Rodie” on a little miniature violin. She was so taken by it that she made a pact with her husband that her children would learn to play the violin, or fiddle as they called it back home!  The pact became reality so much that her kids actually became Julliard-trained violinists. That is quite an accomplishment for someone with such a menial background as Robin’s.

After all the training and broad musical accomplishments, this family started their own family band.  When it became time to think of a name for the band, mother Robin said, “Let’s call it the Annie Moses Band in honor of my mama and her mama who had a dream that music would get them out of the cotton fields of Texas and on the stage of Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole’ Opry and on October 4, the Central Insurance Stage at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert, Ohio!

I hope you don’t miss this opportunity to see the fruits of Grandma and great-grandma Moses when the Annie Moses Band lights up the stage with a night of inspiration and music. We would love to have a full house to show them our gratitude for coming to Van Wert.  Call the box office (419.238.6722) or go online (NPACVW.ORG) and reserve your seat now!

FINÉ.

POSTED: 09/24/14 at 5:34 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

As you know, we always look for ways to make your Niswonger experience just a little more special than the normal.  We are once again enhancing some of our performances with an extra touch to make them even more appealing and enjoyable.

Starting with the Annie Moses Band on opening night, October 4, we are pleased to announce guest singer Joshua Carswell has been added to the show.  He is a Michael Bublé style singer.  If you haven’t heard of Michael Bublé, he is a modern day crooner of original and classic songs, popular among young and old audiences alike. I think you will really enjoy Josh. Even without Joshua, the Annie Moses Band will certainly delight with its vast array of musical talent and styles. It is a production, as well as a concert, and one worthy of opening our season in a grand style!

Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary comes to the Niswonger October 9 and will entertain that evening with songs and stories that will certainly take you back to those enigmatic days of the 1960s, with all the folk songs everyone knows and loves. We have added a band that works quite regularly with Peter, called Mustard’s Retreat, that is from the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area.

In addition to the 7:30 evening performance, Yarrow will also be speaking and singing to school kids in the early elementary grades.  We have nearly 1,200 students from Van Wert, Crestview, Lincolnview, Parkway and Coldwater to hear Yarrow’s message on anti-bullying. He has become a national spokesperson on the topic, traveling around the country to speak at schools and conventions. Several organizations, businesses, and individuals have come forward to help provide this learning experience for the kids to attend. We thank them and will acknowledge them that day.

“Inspiration of Broadway” is a show that comes extremely highly recommended because the very popular Southern Gospel quartet, “Signature Sound,” has joined forces in a rather unlikely partnership. J. Mark McVey, who starred in London’s smash hit production of Les Miserables as Jean Valjean, will join forces with this dynamic quartet of voices to present one memorable night of inspirational Broadway tunes.

The Olate Dogs were a late season addition and will bring their amazing dogs from their “America’s Got Talent”-winning appearance to our Central Insurance Stage on Saturday afternoon, November 1. Tickets are already scarce; so don’t waste any time reserving your seat for this incredible show. Check with the box office now.

Friday night, November 7, will be a very special night at the Niswonger as the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation thanks and recognizes an important individual in the life of performing arts at the Niswonger. In addition, student musicians from some local high schools will be joining the very talented and entertaining Dallas Brass on stage for a huge gala celebration. As a bonus, we have added vocalist Bryan Anthony, an outstanding singer with Big Bands, such as the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. You won’t want to miss it!

Finally, we have added a female vocalist, Logan Brill, to Josh Turner’s November 15 sold-out performance at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. She is one of the up and coming stars from Nashville, personally selected by Turner to open for his Van Wert concert.  Catch her now, because before long, she will be a star!

That brings us to Christmas, and you can always expect wonderful surprises at the Niswonger during our Holiday Season. So, stay tuned and I will let you know at a later date of some of the wonderful things we have in store for you, our valued patron of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.

FINÉ.

POSTED: 09/16/14 at 9:06 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

“It is liberty set to music.” These were the words expressed by then director of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in 1891. The director? None other than John Phillip Sousa!

Surprisingly, “The Star Spangled Banner” was not officially signed into law as our national anthem until 1931 by President Herbert Hoover. However, most of us learned that Francis Scott Key is the one who officially penned the words to a poem he titled “The Defense of Fort McHenry.”  It was then set to music by John Stafford Smith, likely to the tune of “Anacreon in Heaven,” a well-known English song.

History tells us that 200 years ago, during the War of 1812, the Mother Country of Britain was ravaging the shores of the fledgling United States, where a ragtag militia of farmers and volunteers were defending. The mighty British Royal Navy was docked off the shores of Virginia and Maryland and had detained Americans on their ship to use as slave soldiers. Francis Scott Key, a 34-year-old Georgetown attorney and skilled negotiator, asked for, and received, permission from President James Madison to execute a rescue mission. While being forced to stay on the British ship overnight, he witnessed a horrific bombing of Fort McHenry. During the bombing, brave militiamen and women would replace others killed during the shelling, making sure the flag remained waving.

It was during this terrible battle that Key feared the flag would be taken down and the young nation would dissolve once again to the mighty power of the Royal Navy and the British Empire. Once the smoke finally began to clear from the relentless barrage of rockets and bombs throughout the night, Key looked toward Fort McHenry and was amazed to see the flag was still there, waving. With tears in his eyes and pride in his heart, he sat down and penned the words:

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,


What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,


Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,


O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?


And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,


Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;


O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,


O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? 

It was 200 years ago in 1814 that Key penned these words. Little did he realize that he was writing the words to the national anthem for what would become the most powerful country on the face of the Earth. There by the dawn’s early light, a national anthem was born.

It was two years later that the Marine Band would first play what The National Intelligencer in Washington, D.C., would call “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  In 1891, the Marine Band took its first national tour across the United States and performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” at each concert for enthusiastically patriotic citizens. This is when Sousa remarked, “Besides its soul-stirring words … it is the spirit of the music that inspires. It is liberty set to music.”

Today, we honor our country with the playing and singing of our national anthem before ball games, ceremonies, celebrations, and many public gatherings. Those performing it should know, realize and respect the homage it truly is to those brave militiamen and women, for whom without, we would most likely not have the privilege to gather and celebrate with the freedom we enjoy.

We hear many renditions today of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but I find interesting the statement made by Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear.  He has sung the national anthem at July 4 celebrations, Memorial Day celebrations, at the Pentagon on the first anniversary of 9/11, at Honor Flight ceremonies at the World War II Memorial, and even on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”.  He states: “Some singers might try to make it their own and embellish the music, but that’s not the point. When I sing other tunes, I can think about the notes and make them my own. But when I sing the anthem, it’s not about me. The purpose is to remember the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country; those who came before us and everything they did to ensure our freedom. We honor them.”

And today, we honor the anniversary of the words of Francis Scott Key … and the land of the free and the home of the brave. May we never forget this!

FINÉ.

POSTED: 09/10/14 at 5:52 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I just returned from Nashville this weekend and so have music on my mind; in particular, the Annie Moses Band.  They hail from the Music City (Nashville) and have been one of the fastest rising family bands to tour the U.S. over the past 10 years.  If you haven’t seen or heard them before, I really suggest you check out their promo video on our website (npacvw.org.)  You will be entertained just watching their short promo.

Mixing many genres of musical style such as classical, crossover, folk, Americana, and jazz, you will be thoroughly mesmerized and entertained as they take ownership of our stage.  The players in the band are all family members originating from grandma Annie Moses’ clan. Their show is not only entertaining, but also wholesome and heart-warming with a faith-based message.

Breaking news is that vocalist Joshua Carswell has just been added to our October 4 concert at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Carswell has been explained to me as an outstanding singer in the style of Michael Buble. This will just add to the outstanding show of other vocals, violins (fiddles), cello, drums, and a whole family (no pun intended!) of instruments.  We hope to soon have video of Carswell up on our website for you to explore.

Tickets are still available for our season opening concert.  I had someone stop me at the fair Monday and said they can’t wait to get started with some of the quality concerts we have at the Niswonger.  I would agree!  And I can’t think of a better season opener than the Annie Moses Band that just got even better with the addition of Joshua Carswell.  Get your tickets now!

While I drove around Nashville on the various interstate highways that surround the downtown, I couldn’t help but notice all the pictures of Kenny Rogers. They were using him to promote the Country Music Hall of Fame. I suppose it caught my eye because it is the same picture we use in our promo of his December 12 concert in Van Wert.  About 80 tickets remain for his extraordinary Christmas Show in Van Wert.  And remember, he is bringing female vocalist Linda Davis with him. You can check her out on the web, too. She is quite well known for a duet she did with Reba McEntire.

The Olate Dogs are biting at the heels of The Temptations. Both are approaching sell-outs.  Remember, nothing stands in the way of you buying tickets right now when you choose a Select Series of three or more concerts. Our box office can provide you with all the details.

Thanks for stopping by our booth at the fair to talk with Jerry Beard, our box office manager.  It made the time fly by much faster.  We made new friends from out of town and created new ticket buyers to our performing arts center.  You will see them when you come to concerts throughout the year.

I just thought you’d also like to know that Van Wert got mentioned from the stage of the General Jackson showboat in Nashville this past Friday.  It just so happens that the emcee of the show that day was none other than Gary Jenkins. We have had Gary and his band in Fountain Park on two occasions. He is a very funny and entertaining musician. Don’t be surprised if you see him back in Van Wert with a very special guest and hometown music legend.

FINÉ.

POSTED: 09/03/14 at 6:16 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Today was partially spent setting up our Niswonger Performing Arts Center booth in the Commercial Building at the Van Wert County Fair. We have a nice location to greet you as you enter the east doors of the Commercial Building. You will be greeted by a large picture of Kenny Rogers as you enter the building. Betcha didn’t know Kenny Rogers was going to be at the fair!  Also on display will be Josh Turner, Sinbad, and the Newsboys.

These are just the big pictures, but you will also see some new video we have of the Annie Moses Band, which is very cool!  This band kicks our season off on October 4 and you will be seeing and hearing a lot about them over the next month.  This family band has a show entitled Rhapsody in Bluegrass and it looks very exciting!  Watch the video and you will see what I mean. These guys have been on PBS, performed in Carnegie Hall and on the stage of the Grand Ole’ Opry.  That’s quite a variety of genres and locations.

We will actually be selling tickets while at the fair. Kenny Rogers will probably sell out by the end of the fair.  There are only 127 tickets available as of this writing.  The “Gambler” will sell out soon!  Another show to watch is the Olate Dogs. It is selling quickly, with only a couple hundred seats remaining.

Last night, I was on my computer and I saw a YouTube pop up of Sinbad, the comedian. Sinbad will be here on February 7, 2015.  I was literally laughing out loud as I watched his stand-up comedy act entitled “Where You Been?”  I don’t usually laugh out loud that often. I think you will want to check this guy out and then don’t miss him when he comes to the Niswonger this winter. By then, I’m sure we could all use a good laugh!

Stop by and visit our booth at the fair.  We have a nice, comfortable area with lots of materials available for you to take with you and/or share with a friend.  Encourage a friend or acquaintance from out of town to visit us, especially those who have never been to our performing arts center before.  I am still amazed at how many have still never discovered the magic of the Niswonger before.

As a reminder, any show or concert at the Niswonger can be purchased now when bundled as three or more in a Select Series.  Some are available now as singles.  Stop by our booth and see how we may help you discover the magic of the Niswonger.

I will start reminding you now that the biennial performance of Handel’s Messiah at Christmas time will be presented on December 14. For those who wish to be a part of the chorus, rehearsals will begin Sunday, November 9, from 3-5 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert.  The soloists are all confirmed and I will be excited to share them with you in the near future.

After a short visit to Nashville to visit some friends of Van Wert at the Grand Ole’ Opry this weekend, I’ll see you at the fair.  Happy Labor Day, y’all!

FINÉ.

POSTED: 08/26/14 at 7:35 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I have always avoided grouping concerts in certain categories for fear of limiting one’s ability to make their own decision on likes and dislikes.  However, when we have a situation where some may get shut out of a particular concert they really want to see, I will offer some advice.

Last week I told you that Josh Turner tickets may sell out quickly once we hit the single release date.  Well, it happened in less than two days.  I see another situation looming that I want to make you aware of.  Another Country and Pop Music legend, Kenny Rogers is coming to the Niswonger for a big Christmas concert on Friday, December 12.  His single ticket release date is not until September 10, about three weeks away.  As of this writing, there are only about 160 seats left and we have sold 28 already today!  I think you get the point: if you want to see Kenny Rogers Christmas show in Van Wert, you might not want to wait until September 10.

Here is my suggestion.  We are currently selling Select Series packages.  All you need to do is bundle three or more concerts together and our system will allow you to purchase your seats today, guaranteeing you a seat for Kenny Rogers.  By the way, Kenny is bringing a guest female Country star, Linda Davis with him on his Van Wert show.  She will be used to compliment Kenny on the many hits songs he sang as duets with the likes of Dolly Parton, Dottie West, and Kim Carnes.

So, here is my suggestion.  If you like Kenny Rogers, I think you would probably like Home Free on January 31. They are a Country vocal band of five young men who won Season 4 of NBC’s “The Sing Off.”  Remember, Kenny Rogers started out as a member of The New Christy Minstrels.  Another legendary singer you might consider is Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary.  There are your three concerts to bundle together.  Buy now and guarantee your Kenny Rogers seat and save yourself 10 percent by bundling!

Another concert that is in serious jeopardy of selling out just happens to be our last concert of the season: The Temptations. Since “The Temps” don’t perform at the Niswonger until April 25, the single ticket release date isn’t until January 22 of next year. To date, there are only 240 seats remaining and we just sold 36 today. Good luck waiting another five months if you want to see The Temptations in Van Wert!

So here we go. Let’s see what else might be appealing to bundle with “The Temps.”  My first thought is Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. in their “Solid Gold Christmas Show” on December 19.  Not only has this couple sung their own hit songs, they also have a list of legendary songs from their days with “The Fifth Dimension.”  And who doesn’t like a soulful, beautiful Christmas concert six days before Christmas? I have been told by others who have seen their Christmas show that it is absolutely wonderful! Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on February 21, 2015, would also be a lively concert to bundle, or, if you are looking for some good laughs, consider comedian Sinbad.

There you are, my bundling suggestions that will allow you to buy now and avoid getting shut out of a concert in the 1,200 seat Van Wert County Foundation/Saltzgaber Music Hall this season.  I’m sure if you look online or in one of our catalogs, you may find your own bundle that will accomplish your goal.

Tonight, we honor nearly 200 volunteers who help run the Niswonger Performing Arts Center so smoothly, efficiently and in a friendly way. They come from all over the region and we appreciate their loyalty to the arts and especially to the Niswonger.  We will honor them at a banquet on the Central Insurance Stage, where we hope to enlighten and inspire them with a private viewing of the season video and share inside information they can share with friends and acquaintances.  Feel free to contact the box office for an application if you would be interested in joining a superb group of caring volunteers.

FINÉ.

POSTED: 08/19/14 at 9:16 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert