The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 26, 2019

 

Music in Van Wert

By: Paul Hoverman

 

In the past month, three outdoor concerts were presented within a 45-mile radius from the heart of Van Wert in northwest Ohio.

By Tafi Stober

These fair concerts entertained in excess of 18,000 people who were entertained by not only the music but the energy, sites, and attractions that are a hallmark of Ohio fair culture. County fairs are a glorification and celebration of our agriculture. The fusion of our agri-society and the arts are on full display. All generations participate in creating the spectacle and then indulging in its abundance. 

The Van Wert County Fair has a 163-year history! Consider that. Since 1883, the Van Wert County Fair has been creating community and providing experiences that future opportunity is built upon. The Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation believes in the power of our county fair and is pleased to announce a collaboration that will build upon its successful history.
VWAPAF Co-Chairman Kevin Laing shares the purpose behind the beyond-musical mission. 

“The Van Wert Performing Arts Foundation exists to bring a bountiful selection of performances to as broad of an audience as we possibly can. We are not just Concerts in the Park, the Enrich Community Concert Series, or the Grand Series at the Niswonger. Our charge is to bring beauty and entertainment, challenging speakers and eye-opening performances, as well as educational programming that engages people of all ages and all walks of life; in an effort to enhance the lives of our citizens” 

Deciding to partner with the Van Wert County Fair Board to bring a high quality concert event to the fair in 2020 was a natural choice. 

“The Van Wert County Fair is a long standing tradition in Van Wert, and what better opportunity to reach a large and diverse audience in a casual venue than for the Foundation to offer a concert at the Grandstand during the Fair. We hope to spread joy and excitement to the Fair attendees, and offer some world class entertainment at reasonable cost for all to enjoy. We want to see all of the members of the community at one of our various performances, and we are so thankful to the Van Wert County Foundation, and all of our supporters that help us fulfill our mission,” Laing noted.

The Van Wert County Fair is primed and ready for an event-filled five days of extreme fun from August 28-September 2. As you walk about the fairgrounds and enjoy the many events at the Grandstand, we encourage you to begin dreaming of the musical stars that will converge upon our fine town and light up a stage all because Van Wert County collaborations create amazing quality of life in the form of Concert 2020. Stay tuned . . . 

POSTED: 08/21/19 at 11:16 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

It’s that distinctive time of year when summer meets fall, shoulders go pad to pad, and cymbals crash. Directors with a mission and musicians with a common vision come together in the simmering summer heat to grind out practices in preparation for the glorious Friday Night Lights performances that beckon us to be part.

By Tafi Stober

Community is built on Friday nights in the fall when athletes and musicians walk onto a football field to give their very all as part of a something bigger than themselves. They stand on the field and look into an ocean of faces. These faces represent a myriad of life supporters — grandparents, parents, teachers, friends — all there to revel in the experience of physical prowess, game strategy, and musical mastery.

Athleticism and the arts have complimented one another since the beginning of time. We applaud the fine pursuits of our Friday night warriors and take a moment to catch up with a director leading the charge: VWHS Band Director Bob Sloan.

Q. What’s the general feel of the students as you prepare for marching band season?

A. At this point we are ready to go! We’ve rehearsed more than 50 hours and they are ready to perform. The performance is likened to an iceberg. What you see, the performance, is only 10 percent. What lies beneath, the other 90 percent is the preparation. We’ve put in the time and they are ready to perform.

Q. How do you keep spirits high during the grueling nature of summer preparations? 

A. The first thing, honestly, is hydration. It is the life fuel of the body and it is paramount for keeping the mind at work. Beyond the physical needs, my general teaching style is sarcastic humor. This pretty much keeps everyone’s attention. We stop and have a laugh from time to time. We are intentional about varying the pace of practice and location to keep musicians engaged. We start with the end in mind so the expectations are set. They are not learning in the dark. Our students know the end product and that keeps them motivated. Digital animations of drills along with recorded versions of the music are introduced to set the stage. In the past, I wrote the music and the drills to the shows. I felt that our students were outperforming and under challenged visually, so this season we have reached out to enhance our drills and provide greater challenge. The VWHS Marching Band is artistic and the heart of our performance is to make an emotional connection with the audience. Our visual designs make a statement. Friday nights should deliver on that purpose. 

The VWHS Marching Band is shown during a previous halftime performance.

Q. The VWHS Marching Band is a key source of pride in the community. How do you continue to bring edge and continued interest in your musical program?

A. A program is a reflection of the director. We are always trying different things and want to tackle challenging music. Our shows are designed for intellectual and emotional connection with the audience. This drives interest and participation and helps us maintain an intensity and edge. Our students want to be here. They believe in the purpose behind the practice. The performance is the icing.

Q.  Will you share with us any of your band show names this year or is that top secret? 

A. We keep no secrets. The shows are revealed in May. Our central theme this year is “The Right Side of Now.” It’s derived from the power of the choices we make every day and how that battles the darkness that in our world seems overwhelming. Our message is that we individually can make one choice that can have a ripple effect that goes beyond our own daily life. We can choose to say something nice. We can choose to help. Our choices matter and will put us on the “right” side of now. Robert Frost’s inspired poem “The Road Not Taken” is woven through the season. Show 1: The Road Show; 2: The Journey; 3. The Right Side of Now.

Q. What do Friday nights mean to you? 

A. Friday nights represent two core values for us. We are spirit. The fight songs and spirit anthems that we play keep the crowd engaged and carries on traditions. School spirit is a major part of our mission. The other part is halftime. That is our time to express the ideals that build the theme of our VWHS Marching Band culture. It is a dichotomous night. Musical mastery with a bit of mayhem. Mozart mixed with something a little more motley, all with the purpose of making connections and delivering an experience for the fans on a football Friday night.

Steve Jobs said it best, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

We applaud the VWHS Marching Band under the leadership and influence of a proven director. May we all be crazy enough to change the world and if we are fortunate, use music to get us there.

POSTED: 08/15/19 at 7:08 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

This world is divisive by nature. What is it about music that gathers us in common accord, like gathering around a fire on a cold night? When we physically seek heat, we don’t ask who built the fire. When our soul needs music, we don’t ask who wrote the song. We need each other. I think it’s so groovy that in a dark hour, we often see the light. 

By Tafi Stober

The lyrics of a song from half a decade ago were made new by a modern artist. The song picks up my spirit and speaks to my heart with a message that never grows old.

I think it’s so groovy now
That people are finally getting together
I thinks it’s wonderful and how
That people are finally getting together
Reach out in the darkness
Reach out in the darkness
Reach out in the darkness
And you may find a friend
I knew a man that I did not care for
And then one day this man gave me a call
We sat and talked about things on our mind
And now this man he is a friend of mine

I knew this girl

We did not see eye to eye.

She made me cringe

Whenever she walked by

And then I saw how this world makes her cry.

Now all I see is her heart’s just like mine.

I think it’s so groovy now
That people are finally getting together
I thinks it’s wonderful and how
That people are finally getting together  
Now we all know,

We got so far to go.

I might not believe what you believe.

But now I see the you that’s just like me.
I think it’s so groovy now
That people are finally getting together
I thinks it’s wonderful and how
That people are finally getting together.

This Friday we will “get together” again in Fountain Park for the final Summer Music Series Concert in beautiful downtown Van Wert. The John Denver Tribute featuring Ted Vigil will assuredly set the background to an evening of smiles, singing, dancing and great conversation all within a gathering that is centered on being together. Music just so happens to be the catalyst. I think that’s so groovy! 

POSTED: 08/08/19 at 7:33 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Music feeds our soul and is a grand celebration of life. When that life giving opportunity is free, we rejoice! Shouts of joy are in order as the unique opportunity to experience The United States Air Force’s Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble will be available to 1,200 area residents on Monday, September 9, starting at 7:30 p.m., at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. 

By Tafi Stober

This Big Band concert featuring the music of Glenn Miller and other favorites from the Big Band era is a free ticketed event residents of Van Wert County and beyond. Free tickets will be available beginning Monday, August 5, from the Niswonger Box Office. Call 419.238.6722 to reserve seats or visit the Box Office between noon-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble is a group of 18 professionally enlisted musicians from the USAF Band of Flight (Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton) and the USAF Band of Mid-America (Scott AFB, Illinois) whose repertoire ranges from traditional Big Band jazz, to bebop and swing, to modern jazz. Several of the band’s members are also gifted composers and arrangers, and their compositions are often featured in concert.

The band has backed many jazz greats, including Tex Benecke, Denis DiBlasio, Jamey Aebersold, Mike Smith, Bobby Shew, Allen Vizzutti, Jeff Jarvis, Mike Vax, Vaughn Nark, Bill Porter, Carmen Bradford, Shelley Berg, Joe Morello, Steve Houghton, and Walt Levinsky. 

Furthermore, the ensemble is often requested for featured performances at jazz clinics and festivals throughout the country. Occasionally, the Shades of Blue marches onto home plate to perform national anthems for Chicago White Sox baseball games, or onto center court to perform for Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks NBA games.

The U.S. Air Force Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble

Whether performing for a head of state, before a capacity crowd in northern Wisconsin, or for troops at home and abroad, the Shades of Blue reflects the heritage and pride of our great nation and the United States Air Force. It will be a grand celebration of music as we share in the gratitude of freedom — the freedom of musical expression — and the ability to enjoy it for free, together in the splendor of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

POSTED: 08/01/19 at 7:28 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

There is a buzz of excitement this week at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. We are celebrating the art of saving. The Bundle & Save opportunity is now underway. Of the 28 live events this season, patrons can select three or more and create their own series of shows.

By Tafi Stober

Traditionally, this has been called the Select Series. The name has since been altered to better communicate the financial benefit of selecting a series. We appreciate the value of our customer’s dollar.

Northwest Ohio is an agri-society that has built a reputation of excellence from a work ethic that is difficult to rival. The harder one works for a dollar the more inclined one is to stretch it. We value practical thinking and extend the Bundle & Save opportunity to give our patrons and their dollars greater distance — 15 percent greater distance!

The arts are essential to human development but, according to Maslow, a bit lower on the list of needs. The Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation, operating as an extension of the Van Wert County Foundation, endeavors to create engagement with the arts that doesn’t compete with putting a meal on the table. The mission is delivered onFriday nights in the park, diverse events offered from the Wassenberg, and through the programming that appears on the Niswonger stage. 

The ticketed events are the reality of accessing in demand commercial artists as well as internationally sought after musical talent. The impetus, is to offer these events at a price that is affordable. This is only accomplished through the partnerships with corporations and individuals in the region whose investments offset operational expenses.

The staff of the Niswonger endeavors to partner with sponsors, members, and grantors so that experiencing an event is accessible for anyone. We are grateful that we live in a region that believes in the power of the arts and is willing to put money behind their mantra.

We revere penny pinching and applaud dollar stretching and to honor fantastic frugality, we extend the savings code of BUNDLE15. The code can be used as many times as patrons would like throughout the season.

The season begins on September 15. Until that time, enjoy free Friday night entertainment at Fountain Park, provided by the Van Wert County Foundation. This Friday, Satisfaction — a Tribute to The Rolling Stones, will rock the stage and keep more pennies in your pocket.

POSTED: 07/18/19 at 6:52 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

King Solomon in all of his splendor and wisdom shared the pearl ofwisdom, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

Although I undoubtedly agree, an original like Janis Joplin certainly challenges the proclamation. Her voice — high, husky, earthy, explosive — remains among the most distinctive and galvanizing in pop history. But Janis Joplin didn’t merely possess a great instrument; she threw herself into every syllable, singing from the very core of her being.

By Tafi Stober

She claimed the blues, soul, gospel, country, and rock with unquestionable authority and verve, fearlessly inhabiting psychedelic guitar jams, back-porch roots and everything in between. Her volcanic performances left audiences stunned and speechless, while her sexual magnetism, world-wise demeanor and flamboyant style shattered every stereotype about female artists — and essentially invented the “rock mama” paradigm.

Born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1943, she spent her formative years looking at the world from the outside in as a self-proclaimed”misfit.” In 1963, she headed for San Francisco and adopted a sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll lifestyle, of which she became a poster child.

Janis adopted a wild sartorial appearance – with granny glasses, frizzed-out hair, and extravagant hippie-style attire that was strongly influenced by the burlesque era. Eclectic and absolutely original, Janis Joplin certainly looked like something new under the sun. And the world loved her sound, which was just as soulful as her appearance.

Janis Joplin broke barriers in music and began a revolution. Her seismic presence caused a wildfire and escalated with her “Piece Of My Heart” performance at the Woodstock festival. Her musical evolution followed the earthy direction of the new decade, as reflected in her final studio album, the landmark Pearl.

Janis Joplin

Embracing material such as Kris Kristofferson’s gorgeous country ballad “Me and Bobby McGee” and her own a cappella plaint, “Mercedes Benz,” the disc showcased Joplin’s mastery of virtually all pop genres. The latter song was, along with a phone-message birthday greeting for John Lennon, the last thing she recorded; she died in October of 1970, and Pearl was released posthumously the following year. The quadruple-platinum set became the top-selling release of Joplin’s career and, in 2003, was ranked No. 122 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

In the years since, Janis Joplin’s recordings and filmed performances have cemented her status as an icon, inspiring countless imitators and musical devotees. Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and posthumously given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

Janis Joplin is among the greatest, most powerful singers of our modern day — opening the door for countless artists across the musical spectrum.

Janis Joplin was something new under the sun. We pay tribute to her unique influence on the music industry from the Niswonger Performing Art Center stage on September 28 with “A Night With Janis Joplin.” This Broadway style tribute will be quite like meeting the first rock mama right here in Van Wert.

POSTED: 07/11/19 at 4:49 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

What does Pink Floyd, Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, Pitbull, Reba McEntire, Dierks Bentley, Nicki Minaj, Neil Diamond and Wham all have in common? They all sing songs about “freedom”. The word itself is a state of being and as individualized as the mind of the one who defines it. 

By Tafi Stober

In our current culture, freedoms are more shackled by mental barriers than physical ones. Of this, one should be grateful and also mindful. Some artists in oppressive states pen anthems of bitterness and resentment, while others celebrate freedom with an overcoming message. When looking through the artists noted, one can probably begin categorizing the intent of these artists’ freedom songs. Such songs create unity around a common theme and share a message of awareness. Of the tools and weapons used as an act of gaining or expressing freedom, music is revered as a valuable tool of least aggression.

In society shall we promote its use and have less judgement of the style of song and more credit to the healthy form of expressed freedom.

America united around Independence Day for the first time in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. On a side note, even at the height of patriotic unity, there was dissension. Did you know that John Adams believed that July 2 was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, unlike his political rival, Thomas Jefferson. Adams reportedly turned down invitations to appear at July 4 events in protest.

In an interesting twist of fate, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 — the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps, much to their dismay, they were united in death. Doth seem a pity that a lifetime of striving for Independence together would only produce offenses that separated. But then again, isn’t this the great challenge of today. Society celebrates on special patriotic days that unite, then go about in the interim focusing upon what divides. 

So how does a country, whose very core is built upon the cavalier approaches of independent thinking come together for a day of celebration when our definition of freedom is so very different?

Gratitude. A heart of gratitude is a united attitude. One cannot celebrate independence without understanding and embracing, with gratitude, that discord and friction are incubators for creative thinking. In music, negative harmonies create transitions of interest. If music models life, it seems a lesson in civility can be gained from that principle.

This Friday, July 5, at 7 p.m., the Lima Symphony Pops Orchestra will entertain from the Niswonger Performing Arts Center stage featuring songs of patriotism. Unlike Jefferson and Adams, may independence be celebrated with a sense of gratitude for the differences that keep us balanced in a way that may not always be in harmony but still an important part of the song.

POSTED: 07/05/19 at 6:59 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Tafi Stober for the VW independent

Two characteristics were immediately evident when interviewing this Friday’s Fountain Park Summer Music Series Feature, Daryl Wayne Dasher — He’s humble and he is unabashedly proud of his Northwest Ohio roots.

Daryl Wayne Dasher, who now lives in Nashville, The Music City, is forever tied to Van Wert. “I won my first music contest at Hoverman Music when I was 11,” Daryl warmly recounted. “It’s a huge deal for me to come home and play for the people who gave me opportunity.”

Daryle Dasher

Daryl’s hometown is Paulding and he spent much of his young life in and around Van Wert.

“This area is rich with musicians,” Dasher said. “Just picking up instruments was really nurtured. The Paulding Marching Band was a very strong musical influence in my life and Amy Rader was a dynamic mentor,”

“By 16 I was already playing clubs. There have always been so many supports in the region to pursue musical outlets and there still are. Coming home to those supports is just a really big deal to me.”

When asked what advice he would give to aspiring musicians, Daryl’s honesty reflected his own life experience.

“It’s a struggle,” Dasher explained. “You have to establish the feeling that there is no escape from your dream. You must feel like you’re not existing if you’re not playing music. You must love it at that level to overcome the struggle.”

For Dasher, his music must not only fulfill his life but also give life to those who are listening.

“Create. create. Create,” Dasher said. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’re going to write some bad songs.”

The Van Wert County Foundation powers the Fountain Park Summer Series through the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation thanks to an $83,000 grant made possible by philanthropists in the community who believed in the power of music in our culture.

“That’s what it takes to spark a music scene and to inspire future musicians,” Dasher noted.

Dasher is involved in “The Last Honky Tonk Music Series” that is powered by a philosophy of music being a powerful healer in society.

“Music brings people together,” Dasher said. “We must take responsibility and make sure that we are aiming our work in the right direction.”

Friday night will be memorable for Daryl Wayne Dasher and his band as well as any soul who chooses their own parcel of lawn to spread out on at Fountain Park. Daryl’s band is a regional “Who’s Who” of music and includes Dan Russell on Pedal Steel Guitar. Dan played with Dry Branch Fire Squad and many more. Chuck Mauk of Perrysburg, Ohio on Drums. Morgan Bland, from Hicksville, OH and presently attending Belmont University in Nashville, is on Fiddle. Verl Dasher is on Upright Bass.

You may notice a resemblance between him and Daryl. Besides being a Rockstar father, Verl is known for his involvement in Boy Scouts of America as the Scout Master of Troop 315 in Paulding as well as the Bass player in the Bottom of the Barrel Boys band from Grover Hill, Ohio. Lori and Brad Lambert perform Backing Vocals. They also Run the Moon City Music & Event Center in Wapakoneta, Ohio and play in the band “New Outlook”.

The playlist for Friday will include a full spectrum of styles and genres including Classic Country, music of the Outlaws, to Rock and a “Daryl Version” tribute to fellow Ohio music artists, Twenty-One Pilots. Fountain Park will certainly be alive with music!

Daryl has taken his best to Nashville and now returns to celebrate his respected roots.

“Van Wert has built a sense of community around music,” Dasher said. “We are writing history through a song. Is it fitting to say that when people come home to Van Wert that they are coming home to music?”

POSTED: 06/25/19 at 2:57 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

“Come Together” was released as the opening track of The Beatles album, Abbey Road, on October 6, 1969, in the U.S. and was on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 16 weeks.

By Tafi Stober

John Lennon wrote the lyrics of “Come Together” with a knowledge that the ambiguous lyrics would mean something vividly different to many different types of people.

To refresh the memory of the lyrics to this iconic song, here’s an indulgence:

Here come old flat top
He come groovin’ up slowly
He got ju ju eyeballs
He one holy roller
He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker
He just do what he please

He wear no shoeshine
He got toe jam football
He got monkey finger
He shoot Coca-Cola
He say I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is
You got to be free

Come together, right now
Over me

He bad production
He got walrus gumboot
He got Ono sideboard
He one spinal cracker
He got feet down below his knee
Hold you in his armchair
You can feel his disease

Come together, right now
Over me

He roller coaster
He got early warning
He got muddy water
He one Mojo filter
He say one and one and one is three
Got to be good looking
‘Cause he’s so hard to see

Come together right now
Over me

The lyrics at first read, and without the popular musical track to support them, are quite an abstract departure from the story-telling songs that made the Beatles famous. However, the song gained a strong community around it as it hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Friday nights in Fountain Park have a similar response.

Community is defined as a body of persons having a common social interest.  In this case, that common social interest is music. No matter if Van Wert County is home or not, once in Fountain Park, it is one big family and we become one big community soaking in the sights and sounds that have become a hallmark of our historic downtown.

No doubt the artists this summer on the Fountain Park stage and their musical style will change from week to week — some of them sharing songs of great popular appeal and others presenting musical talents that may be lesser known or “abstract.” But because our Friday nights are about community, all people from different walks, background, and beliefs — in and out of Van Wert County — will come together, brought into harmony by a song.

‘”Let’s slow it down with a swampy bass-and-drums vibe’. I came up with a bass line, and it all flowed from there,” quipped John Lennon of the song “Come Together”.

POSTED: 06/12/19 at 12:48 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

The unknown is oft where opportunity waits. We revere the mighty pillars of our Van Wert musical heritage that, despite the unknown, they gave. 

Practical progressives like Gaylord and Eliza Saltzgaber, Edna Evans, and John Alspach all made visionary donations through the Van Wert County Foundation that continue to make performing arts possible in Van Wert County today. The faces behind the music personify our past and also tell the tale of a very dynamic present. 

By Tafi Stober

Modern day heroes are still writing the story of explosive arts growth in Van Wert County. The unknown is quite intriguing in its untold tale of purpose and impact. The unknown awaits the wild pursuit of a dream and then opens its door wide. One such dreamer, Andy Czajkowski, did not set out in life to make monumental impact in Van Wert County, Ohio, but his pursuits landed him among us and he’s been a forward force for progress and community prosperity ever since.

Andy Czajkowski, co-owner and president of Statewide Ford Lincoln since 1993, has been a supporter of the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation since its inception in 2005. When the Niswonger Performing Arts Center was yet to become reality, Andy and his family personally pledged naming rights within the grand structure. In 2010, Statewide Ford Lincoln become the very first Season Sponsor. That partnership has commanded a position of prominence as Statewide has remained a Season Sponsor since 2010 through the present season, which unveiled this Wednesday, June 5, at noon. What this commitment means to the region is access to quality performers at a price that people can afford. It’s a Big Deal!

From cars to superstars, this community ambassador began his journey 57 years ago in Detroit, Michigan. From the beginning, Andy knew he wanted to own a business. “I wish my parents had owned a business of anything. It would have helped me achieve my goals all that much quicker,” states Andy. “A school friend and I envisioned a boat rental that never reached fruition but discussing business applications and modeling concepts always demanded real estate in my mind and conversations.” His entrepreneurial dreams were furthered when working for a landscaping-garden store as a teenager. A chance opportunity through a customer service interaction led him to meet a major car dealer owner. Not a surprise for a young man with a mind full of dreams, the passion to pursue them, and eyes wide open to opportunity. For young Andy Czajkowski, of the unknown there was no fear. He hung up his landscaping gig and tabled his books for his desire to buy a new car franchise. After gaining valuable experience at the dealership in Michigan and then in New Jersey, Andy’s opportunity became available through a dealers association connection. There was a Ford dealership for sale in Van Wert, Ohio. 

Statewide Ford, Andy Czajkowski, and his family became part of the Van Wert County story in 1993. Since that time, Andy’s original dream “to own something to grow something” has manifested in every aspect of his life and is a hallmark of his relationships. When asked how he became an advocate for the arts, Andy replied, “The arts are important because community is important. Community benefit is more valuable than my personal interests. Scott Niswonger painted a picture of economic development that made sense. I bought into that vision.” 

Andy, along with Chuck and Karen Koch were the first co-chairs of the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation. Andy believes the future of Van Wert County is at a crucial time of growth. “We are poised on the bubble of some really good things that will create an upper trajectory of steady increases in population and prosperity. We must continue to grow.” The performing arts are a part of that growth. “When people look at Van Wert, they are attracted by our quality of life style. Look at the quality of a place in terms of health care, school systems, and cost of living — and when you do, Van Wert is at the top. We have big name entertainment and a facility that no town our size should have.” states Czajkowski. 

The unlikely journey from cars to superstars inspires, because despite an affinity for cars, Andy’s focus has always been on the person. We recognize Andy, a face behind the music, and pay honor to him for the role he has played in helping Van Wert carve out a musical niche in northwest Ohio that serves a purpose greater than our own. The unknown beckons with a song of humanity.

POSTED: 06/07/19 at 2:08 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert