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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015


Music in Van Wert

By: Paul Hoverman


One of Broadway’s finest tandems of modern time, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice teamed together to produce a wonderful story taken from the book of Genesis in the Bible.  Chapter 37 of Genesis tells the story of Joseph, one of Jacob’s many sons, as a matter of fact, his favorite son.  As would be expected, his brothers became very jealous of their younger brother who received favorite treatment from their father.  Because of his extreme love and admiration for Joseph, his father gave him a tunic or coat of many brilliant colors.  This was taken as a sign of favoritism and drew even more hatred to Joseph from his brothers.

You can read Genesis 37 to get the rest of the story, but it’s a fascinating story of love, hatred, redemption and forgiveness.  We should all strive to be more like Joseph in this story.

Joseph & Technicolor Dreamcoat logoIn 1969, Lloyd Webber experienced great success with the rather controversial Jesus Christ Superstar.  On its coattails and even presented as a “follow-up” to Superstar, Weber and Rice teamed to release what would become a superstar Broadway show in itself entitled, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  After several years of performing and adjusting, Joseph eventually came to public admiration when Donny Osmond performed the lead role of Joseph.  It became a huge hit and the rest is as they say, (Broadway) history.

Since its inception, it is estimated there have been well over 20,000 performances throughout the world. London’s West End, Canada’s notorious Toronto Theatre, New York’s Broadway, and thousands of high school and amateur theatre groups have performed Joseph.

In less than two weeks, we are bringing the national professional tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to the Niswonger in Van Wert. It is a wonderful story told with lots of color and amazing music that will stick with you forever.  Of course, it’s Andrew Lloyd Webber!

I remember seeing it in Chicago in the early 1990s. My wife and I traveled with the Van Wert High School choir to see a performance with Donny Osmond as the lead.  I believe it was my very first Broadway show and I was amazed and hooked. The pageantry of especially this show, the color, the music, the singing, and special effects, were something to behold.

I cannot recommend this show more highly!  We are so fortunate to bring this to Van Wert for two shows: 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 17. If you had asked me, as I was sitting in the Chicago theater back in 1993, if we would ever see something like this in Van Wert, I would have thought you were crazy!  Well, here we go, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat right here in Van Wert, Ohio, in a beautiful theater: the Niswonger.

Get your tickets now for either the afternoon or evening show. Our box office is open Monday-Friday, noon-4 p.m. Online orders can be placed at NPACVW.ORG.

I am so pleased and proud to have us offer Joseph to you. There is comedy, laughter, music, and even a little Elvis (not confirmed to actually be in the Bible, as far as I know!)  But hey!  It’s Broadway!  I hope to see you on the 17th.


POSTED: 10/06/15 at 4:34 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I have to admit, when the idea of a speaker series was initially proposed, it was hard for me to get excited.  After all, we are a performing arts center, I thought.  Well, now that we have had numerous speakers at the Niswonger, I find myself not only enjoying, but looking forward to the next one.

It now is quite obvious what our mission is when you drive by on State Route 118 South.  Three big, colorful banners hang on the front of the Performing Arts Center stating our mission: educate, inspire, and entertain.

Last night (Monday) in the Van Wert County Foundation Saltzgaber Music Hall, we discovered what inspiration is all about. Buckeye football All-American and NFL All-Pro linebacker Chris Spielman talked to about 800 people and you could have heard a pin drop. It wasn’t the sporting accolades that caught everyone’s attention: it was his message of hope and courage that captivated the audience members. His wife, Stephanie, battled breast cancer five times before finally succumbing to the deadly disease in 2009. She left four children and a devoted husband.

If you are not familiar with the Stephanie and Chris Spielman story, and if you were not able to attend last night, you can google and read on line or better yet, purchase and read the book That’s Why I’m Here. It was a night of laughter, tears, and certainly inspiration. This is quite often what we experience at our Niswonger Speaker events.

Next up in that series will be another story of immense courage and forgiveness when Luke Zamperini shares the story of his father, Louis Zamperini.  This will be on March 6 of next year.  Many of you may have seen the movie Unbroken, which was in theaters this summer. The book titled the same is an incredible read and can be purchased or checked out at the Brumback Library. A community read is being held where those who have read the book can come together to discuss it.  That first community read will be held in the First Federal Lecture Hall on November 12.

The Louis Zamperini story is an amazing one of courage and redemption.  I can’t recommend it enough. Then to have the opportunity to hear his son, Luke share first hand experiences with us will be truly amazing. Louis was a World War II soldier who survived 47 days on a raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean before finally being rescued, only to have it be by a Japanese warship.  He then became a POW and went through the most gruesome treatment imaginable. The real story however, is the redemptive side of Louis Zamperini. You just must come and hear his son, Luke, on March 6. He grew up hearing his dad tell stories we could not imagine.

Inspiration? We could all use some, and probably more often than we think. This is what many of our speakers offer and I, for one, am glad I was talked into a Speaker Series at the Niswonger.  I invite you to be inspired at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.


POSTED: 09/29/15 at 10:14 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I find it a little difficult to write this column for the sake it may sound like I am tooting my own horn, but I do believe this is worth talking about. You may or may not have heard about the Van Wert’s First United Methodist Senior Chancel Choir, but they have been invited to a rather large international event.  I say “they” and I really mean “we,” since I happen to be their director.

The choir recently was invited to sing as part of the worldwide United Methodist General Conference. It is held every four years and this year will be in Portland, Oregon. It all began when I received an email invitation to submit YouTube video and a résumé of the choir if we would like to be considered to perform as one of the musical ensembles for General Conference. I really didn’t realize the whole realm of things, but knew I had some video of our choir and just thought I might as well send it in.  I had no idea how many would be accepted or how many might even audition.

So, I sent a couple selections of our choir to the General Conference people in charge of selecting ensembles.  I didn’t tell anyone I had sent them, thinking that when we didn’t get accepted, no one would be disappointed. After several months had passed, I actually forgot about the whole idea and was ready to move on. Then, early this summer, I received an email stating that the United Methodist General Conference would like to invite the Van Wert Chancel Choir to sing at the opening day luncheon and worship service on May 10, 2016.  I had no idea how many sent in audition materials, but was very excited about the possibility.

This summer, I, along with three others involved in worship at First UM Church, attended a workshop in Indianapolis on music and worship. There, I met Rev. Laura Bartlet, who is in charge of all worship services at the 2016 General Conference and was in charge of selecting choirs to perform at this 11-day event. I was able to find out that we were chosen out of nearly 100 music ensembles who auditioned. Twenty-seven were selected. We will be singing for thousands of delegates and attendees on opening day in the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. I guess it’s a pretty big deal!

The choir is in the process of raising funds for a five-day trip out west, starting in Seattle, Washington, and ending in Portland. You will probably hear about different fundraisers throughout the year as the choir set a goal of trying to raise nearly $40,000 to cover half of the cost.  The remaining amount will be the responsibility of each member. I do know the choir is planning a pre-game dinner on October 30, before the Cougars’ last home game of the season. Stay tuned for plans, but it will be delicious and it will be held in the dining hall of the First UM Church.

We are honored and excited to represent the Northwest Plains District and the West Ohio Conference at this worldwide conference, which incorporates Africa, Asia, the United States and Europe. It will be an exciting adventure and trip for our choir. We are limited to 44 total people on the trip, which will include many sightseeing expeditions along the way, but if you would be interested in being included, please feel free to contact me.  We are looking for great singers to help represent us to the thousands of attendees.

The First UM Choir has a rich heritage of singing. It has had the pleasure of traveling in 1981 to England with then director, Larry Schaufelberger. Larry, along with others before him, helped establish a legacy of excellence in choral singing at First Church. It was that legacy that laid the groundwork for us to also travel to New York City and sing at St. John the Divine in 2001. I and the many fine singers I have been blessed to lead have been the recipients of their fine work and are excited to continue that legacy as we represent Van Wert and the United States at General Conference in Portland, Oregon, on May 10, 2016.


POSTED: 09/23/15 at 6:25 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I know it may seem a little strange to talk football in a column called “Music in Van Wert,” but it is a story of inspiration we are proud to present at the Niswonger. Chris Spielman, one of Ohio State’s finest linebackers of all time (elected to the College Football Hall of Fame) and four-time NFL Pro Bowler with the Detroit Lions, will be speaking at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Monday, September 28, at 7:30 p.m.

Outside his enormous accomplishments on the football field, Chris is an all-pro person. His story of courage and inspiration actually centers on the story of his wife’s courageous fight with breast cancer. Stephanie and Chris married following Chris’ graduation in 1988 from The Ohio State University. They were raising four children when Stephanie was diagnosed with breast cancer. It would take five times before Stephanie finally succumbed to cancer in 2009.

The story of their fight with cancer took many turns, including Chris actually taking a leave from the NFL in 1998 to help Stephanie and the family fight and cope with this dreaded disease. Chris’s story and the many challenges that took place is what he will be sharing with our audience on September 28.  The book, That’s Why I’m Here, tells the story of Chris and Stephanie Spielman. In the book, you will discover the courage and strength they pulled from their faith in God. You will have the chance to get a copy of this story as Chris plans on bringing some books with him to Van Wert for sale following his talk and Q & A period.

Chris Spielman as a linebacker for the Ohio State Buckeyes. (photo submitted)

Chris Spielman as a linebacker for the Ohio State Buckeyes. (photo submitted)

Few professional athletes would take a leave from their profession for an entire year to take care of their spouse. When Chris left the Buffalo Bills in 1998, he was at the top of his game. He had been selected to four Pro Bowls with the Lions and had just set a team record for tackles with the Bills.  I remember the media attention he received for making this courageous decision. Unfortunately, when he returned the following year, he experienced a neck injury while trying to make a comeback with the Cleveland Browns.

Chris is still the all-time leader of the Detroit Lions in tackles. He now is a college football announcer during the weekends for ESPN and just last weekend announced the Michigan football game. During the week, he takes occasional speaking engagements like ours to tell the story of the love of his life, Stephanie, and their courageous fight with breast cancer.

Chris started the Stephanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer.

We are extremely thankful for Dale and Sarah Burden who made us aware of Spielman and the story of fighting this disease. They are helping sponsor the event. Lee Kinstle GM Sales and Service is also helping bring this to the Niswonger, as well as The Ohio State University Alumni Association of Paulding and Van Wert Counties, Williamson Insurance, Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative, US Bank of Van Wert and Convoy, Walmart, Dark Horse Productions, and 1150 WIMA. Radio sportscaster and personality Vince Koza will be interviewing Chris that day.

It will be a very special day of inspiration. I kind of think there may even be a few football stories as well.  It will be interesting to hear Chris’ ideas of this year’s Buckeye football team’s chances of repeating as National Champions. Tickets are available at the box office the day of the event and online and in advance at the Niswonger Box Office. Tickets range from $10-$25.

Not to be outdone, our season kicks off this Sunday night with 2011 “American Idol” winner and Country music star Scotty McCreery. Although the show is nearly sold out, you might show up Sunday night to see if some seats are released for sale from performer holds. We are expecting a huge crowd and many fans from all over the country will emerge on Van Wert’s Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

The excitement is building as we “Color Your World with Entertainment and Inspiration” this season at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center!


POSTED: 09/16/15 at 6:52 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

We are quickly approaching the beginning of a brand new season at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. We are less than two weeks from our season opener with Scotty McCreery, “American Idol” winner of 2011 and one of the newest young country stars touring the U.S. There are currently about 40 tickets left for this opening concert on September 20.  It will be a packed house to see this huge production. From all indications, it looks like it will be a superb opener!

We have been busy preparing the Niswonger for your arrival on the 20th. The normal maintenance items have been completed such as a complete cleaning, painting the stage, and necessary repairs. As we approach our ninth season, we also want to keep a fresh appearance for everyone entering our doors. Of course, the signage in the lobby has been updated, new logo mats will hopefully be on display, and our army of volunteers is eager to welcome you in new, inviting ways.

The outside will also take on a fresh new appearance. One thing you won’t readily notice is the joint compound freshly redone. This is not a noticeable item, but a necessary one. I hope you will take notice of the Legacy Walk recognizing original donors who bought bricks along the main sidewalk entrance. Our good friends at Delphos Granite helped us improve the look by donating a beautiful granite marker identifying the walk. Delphos Granite associate Carey Mathew donated much time to clean concrete and bricks within the walk. Thank you Delphos Granite, and thank you Carey for your generous donations of product and labor.

We have also been working to replace and make permanent the seat nameplates in the Van Wert County Foundation Saltzgaber Music Hall.  Our facility coordinator, Mark Hartman, has been spending time with our original seat chart to assure each person’s giving will always be recognized. As we approach 10 years of operations in the Niswonger, I want to make sure we never forget those who provided funds to make our beautiful facility and venue possible for the thousands of patrons who have enjoyed so many wonderful events.

Keep an eye on the east walls just outside the main entrance. Hopefully this week, you will see big splashes of color touting our mission statement, as well as our season logo of “Color Your World with Entertainment!”

We look forward to welcoming you through our doors time after time this season for many, if not all of our 26 different concerts, shows and lectures. Following Scotty McCreery on September 20 will be Ohio State Buckeye superstar, NFL Pro Bowler, TV college football analyst and cancer spokesperson Chris Spielman. Chris comes to Van Wert on September 28 to speak about his passion of curing cancer. I am sure he will share his perspective of the Buckeyes’ chances of defending their national championship too. So far, so good. The Bucks looked pretty good in their opener on national TV on Labor Day night. It sure is good to see Braxton Miller back with those amazing moves. I also imagine Crestview graduate Cody Klinker had his eyes wide open as he traveled with the OSU Marching Band and played in front of 65,000 plus screaming Hokie and Buckeye fans in Blacksburg, Virginia.  What an experience!

What an experience this season will be at the Niswonger too! I can’t wait to get started. See you soon.


POSTED: 09/09/15 at 7:34 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

In our planning sessions for the new season at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, we talked about Broadway touring shows; where we’ve come from and where we want to go.

It was 2009, our third year of existence, when we decided to take a leap of faith and schedule our first Broadway show, Annie.  I knew it would task our wonderful group of volunteers who assist in production, but it also allows many, many patrons the opportunity to see a great show at half the price of larger cities and with a better view and atmosphere.

Since Annie, we have been fortunate to bring numerous shows to Van Wert, such as Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, Shrek — the Musical, The Addams Family and many more. However, this year we have a true Broadway Series to offer. Three outstanding shows: two shows of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Mamma Mia! (two nights) and Million Dollar Quartet.

If you are a fan of Broadway shows, you can easily create your own Select Series of Broadway at the Niswonger. You know, you could get all three shows for less than most of us have paid for one show in New York or Chicago.  What a deal!

There are many reasons we can make such enticing packages available. Among them are the many volunteers who generously give of their time so you can enjoy a show. Most Broadway shows will incorporate over 100 people to produce it on our stage. This includes ticket takers, ushers, greeters, box office workers, coat checkers, carpenters, flymen, wardrobe, audio, lighting, prop workers, caterers, security, loaders, riggers and more. While we are enjoying a show, many people, mostly volunteers, are working behind the scenes to make sure everything happens as it should.

I look at the contracts and tech riders and am sometimes amazed at all it entails to put a show of this magnitude on. So, as you can see, the cost of your ticket covers many things. We can keep the price more affordable, though, because of the generosity of so many volunteers and friends of the Niswonger. “Thank you” can simply not be said enough!

Here is an update on ticket sales thus far at the Niswonger for the upcoming season. I will list the top 10 in order: 1. Texas Tenors, 2. Scotty McCreery, 3. Mama Mia!, 4. Home Free, 5. Midtown Men, 6. Peter Frampton, 7. Ethan Bortnick, 8. “Riders in the Sky Salute Roy Rogers”, 9. Million Dollar Quartet, and 10. Mercy Me. This could change, but for now, you have a working knowledge if anyone should ask.

Stop by the Commercial Building at the Van Wert County Fair this week and say “hi” to Jerry.  He will be there sharing information on all the Niswonger concerts and making new friends. You can even buy tickets while you visit. We are located at the east entrance.

Congratulations to Crestview’s Cody Klinker, one of the latest to make the Ohio State University Marching Band. Also, helping lead the trombones in the University of Cincinnati Bearcat Band is Robbie Trittschuh, a Van Wert graduate, and Danny Joseph of Crestview, taking his trumpet playing to the Ohio University Bobcat Marching Band. There may be others, but I think it’s great when local graduates continue making music at the collegiate level.  It’s a great learning experience and a thrill they will take with them for a lifetime. Just ask them. Congratulations guys!


POSTED: 09/01/15 at 4:21 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I just had a staff meeting with my Niswonger team members this morning and an interesting point was made as we were talking about ticket sales.  When you plan a season of 26 different events, you never really know what the public will take to … and what they may not!  There are some concerts you think are slam-dunk winners in the public eye, but there are also sometimes surprises.

Although I felt booking the Texas Tenors was a good idea, I had no idea they might be the first concert to sell out.  After all, they are not until April 17 of next year.  Well, as it stands right now, there are less than 100 tickets left to sell for their concert at the Niswonger.

What makes all this even more ironic is that they are part of the Community Concert Series this year. And although over 500 people bought the entire package of five concerts, another 500 plus have selected the Texas Tenors as part of their Select Series.  I will admit that their PBS special is outstanding, but I really had no idea so many would be this interested.

This being said, if we have only about 100 tickets remaining, that means once they sell out, we can no longer offer the complete series of Community Concerts.  So, I just want to make everyone aware that the “deal of the century”- five concerts starting out for just $60, may soon disappear!

And what are those five concerts?  Just to remind you, they include Ethan Bortnick, Christmas with the DePue Brothers, the zany Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, Riders in the Sky’s salute to Roy Rogers and the Texas Tenors.  Each of these shows is selling quite well, but it is certainly those tenors from Texas who are putting the series availability in jeopardy.

Now that we are talking about concerts at the Niswonger in jeopardy of selling out, I should mention that our opening concert with American Idol winner and Country/Christian singing sensation Scotty McCreery, is right on the heels of the Texas Tenors.  We will be on location selling tickets at the Van Wert County Fair, and I have a good idea that we will be sold out for Scotty once the fair is over. Remember, you can get tickets online at NPACVW.ORG, as well as by calling the box office at 419.238.NPAC (6722.)  Of course Jerry loves seeing you face to face at the box office too from noon to 4 p.m.  Scotty’s concert is September 20 at 7:30 p.m.

This also gives me the opportunity to transition to the fair. In case you haven’t heard, Charlie Daniels will be in concert at the fair on September 1, the day before the fair officially opens.  That means you don’t have to pay to get into the fairgrounds.  Good call!

Charlie is a friend of the Niswonger, having performed here back in 2010. That’s nearly five years ago — hard to believe!  I remember Charlie being very gracious and warm. His concert was exciting and enjoyable, but as I told the fair representatives, I think Charlie Daniels is even better outside. I heard him outside several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed him. What a fun time!

The Van Wert County Fair is taking a step forward in bringing a big name performer like Charlie in once again. His show will be clean, family oriented, country, southern rock and probably even a little patriotic. I think he is a perfect fit for the Van Wert County Fair. Tell your friends and relatives that we need to support the fair and that a good time will surely be awaiting those who attend.


POSTED: 08/26/15 at 6:36 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

A few of you had the pleasure of joining me in enjoying a local musician, Jake Wilder, in his music recital, “Classical Meets Jazz.”  It was this past Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in Van Wert. Jake is a tenor vocalist and was joined by several other local musicians to provide a wonderful afternoon of first class music.

The first half featured the most difficult of performance literature for a tenor to sing and Jake pulled it off extremely well, providing both power and brilliance. Jake recently finished his studies at Bowling Green State University and has since settled in his hometown area and has been sharing his talents locally.

Joining Jake on the classical side was his accompanist, Annette Hoverman (ahem), and then on the jazz side of the program, he was joined by Weston Thompson on sax, Rod Sroufe on bass, and David Bradford on drums. They each played eloquently and created a tight ensemble for the jazz portion, which also included some Broadway.

Jake also shared the stage with young Michaella Johnson, a student of his for several years. She has developed into a polished performer and strong singer. A BGSU colleague of Jake’s, Karrie Lester, mesmerized the audience with her rendition of Gershwin’s “Summertime” with tasteful accompaniment from Jake on the piano.

I was glad I attended and even more pleased that a local musician went away for professional training and returned to share his talent with us. He also enlisted the talents of other fine local musicians and raised the bar for everyone. Bravo to Jake Wilder and bravo to the Presbyterian Church for hosting this concert!  What a beautiful setting.

Jake would have been one of our very first musicians to perform on the Van Wert County Foundation’s Young Artist Recital back in 2003. There have been many fine musicians who have performed on our recitals, but it’s especially pleasing when they return to Van Wert and give back to the community. It is evidence of money and time well spent. I hope many others would consider doing the same: Learn, earn, return with their talents.

The start of the new Niswonger Performing Arts Center season is just around the corner. Kicking off the new season is a young country singer, Scotty McCreery. This young man, just 22 years old, isn’t that far removed from his hometown of Garner, North Carolina, where he sang in his elementary school programs, high school and church choirs and even as Conrad Birdie in his high school musical, Bye, Bye Birdie.

In May 2011, he was bagging groceries at his local supermarket when he auditioned for the “American Idol” television program.  On May 25, 2011, he took the country by storm, winning “American Idol” on national TV. He was just 17 years old and had to be accompanied by his parents while auditioning. I found it interesting that he enjoyed playing baseball and is still a big fan. He also is a professed Christian and even turned down a prime singing gig because it conflicted with a church camp he wanted to attend.

Tickets are going very quickly for McCreery’s 7:30 p.m. performance at the Niswonger on Sunday, September 20.  If you want to catch this phenom from Garner, North Carolina, you’d better hurry and get your tickets.  September 20 will be here soon!

Where will the next “American Idol” winner come from: Garner, North Carolina, or maybe Van Wert, Ohio?


POSTED: 08/19/15 at 7:12 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

It dawned on me once again this past weekend of how different folks appreciate different music.  Friday night featured Your Generation in Concert’s Fifty Amp Fuse in Fountain Park.  Although they played music from such groups as The Monkees of the 1960s, much of the music was current.  I received messages from audience members who thanked me for bringing music to Fountain Park for the young kids today. Whatever your taste in music is, it was certainly full of life and many people seemed to enjoy it.

The next night in the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, the Dudelange Wind Orchestra from Luxembourg gave a concert. Their music ranged from Gershwin to movie theme songs to dance music. Much of this music was enjoyed by a more seasoned audience. It was played skillfully and with energy, yet I doubt too many from Friday night would have enjoyed Saturday night’s concert with the wind orchestra.

This is the main reason I look for variety in musical concerts I bring to Fountain Park and the Niswonger.  There are some people who are willing to try different types of music, but there are also some who make up their mind before they even attend.  I guess that’s just the way life is.

Even though this summer had its weather issues, we were able to enjoy a wonderful variety of concerts intended to be in Fountain Park. We had classic rock, country/city, orchestral pop, Blues and jazz.  We will return next summer to Fountain Park with another slate of various concerts I hope many will enjoy.

This Friday night, the Van Wert Area Community Concert Band will present a concert in Fountain Park.  Food will be served and I’m sure an entertaining program of band music has been put together. I understand Scott Turner, a music student at The Ohio State University, will even play some piano music during the concert.  Now that ought to be something different.

Then on Sunday, August 16, Jake Wilder, an outstanding tenor vocalist, will surround himself with a host of talented friends to perform a concert at First Presbyterian Church in Van Wert. It begins at 3 p.m. Some of the folks walking by 1408 Monte Carlo Drive have already had a taste of what we are in store for. Jake has been cracking high Bs from our living room — quite powerful!

Starting in September, the Niswonger will offer 26 different attractions for you to enjoy throughout the year. I hope we hit on some of your favorites. We have offered a cornucopia of entertainment which includes three different Broadway shows, country and TV stars, pop stars, Contemporary Christian artists, kid shows, Doo Wop and Motown, classic rock, family entertainment, classical, jazz, informational speakers, and even a ukulele band. Now, if something here doesn’t flip your trigger, I have to seriously doubt your gun has any bullets.

Our goal at the Niswonger is to offer something for everyone.  Our audience has grown so much that we seem to have a crowd of aficionados for nearly every genre of music and entertainment.  Some will enjoy nearly everything while others we will only see occasionally. That’s fine. We enjoy seeing you whenever you come.

Remember that any concert or event can be purchased right now when you bundle at least three or more together in a purchase. Many seats are getting taken by those doing just that; creating their own Select Series. We are waiting to serve you; whatever your taste in music may be!


POSTED: 08/12/15 at 6:20 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

It’s hard to believe, but the summer season is drawing to an end. I think all the rain has made the summer seems so short. This weekend, however, will make up for all the gloomy weather we have put up with.

This Friday, beginning at 7 p.m. is our last concert in Fountain Park for the Van Wert County Foundation sponsored concerts. As good as the bands have been this year, I think we have saved the best for last. If you don’t believe me, come and see for yourself. The band is called “Your Generation in Concert featuring Fifty Amp Fuse.” They claim to be the “World’s Greatest Tribute Band”, playing six decades of era-defining pop music. This Friday night in Fountain Park, you will hear music you fell in love with from all generations, including British and American pop music. That means you will hear songs made popular by bands of the 1950s through 2000s. That’s a lot of music!

Steve Trudell is the producer/manager of Your Generation in Concert featuring Fifty Amp Fuse. Steve is a veteran of the entertainment business who has worked with some of the biggest shows in the world. Based out of Detroit, Michigan, he has produced some of the finest music of the past five decades and put together some of the finest musicians to perform it. Nine musicians will fill the stage on Friday, creating a real party atmosphere to last throughout the rest of the summer.  You will be taken on a musical trip through the decades, so there is truly something for everyone at this concert.

Van Wert Rotary Club will be serving some delicious food in the park before and during the concert in Fountain Park. I’m so glad that the Rotary Club was selected to serve food this year. Remember what we used to do before Rotary built the concession and restroom facilities? We served food from tables under the trees and used port-a-johns. I think this alone is reason to help support Rotary! Of course, Van Wert Rotary does so many other good things in our community with the funds they raise. So, bring your appetites and be ready for a great time in the park as we close out our Fountain Park Summer Music Series 2015!

Following our concert in Fountain Park, the ninth annual Van Wert Rib Fest will be gearing up at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. You can take your party on to the fairgrounds and enjoy a good time at the Rib Fest, which continues through Saturday. There will be more music, activities, and, of course, some great ribs and other food to enjoy!

Also this Saturday night, there is a cultural and musical event going on at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. The Harmonie Municipale Dudelange wind orchestra will be performing at 7:30 p.m. in a free concert open to the public. The group comes all the way from Luxembourg, a place most of us have little knowledge of. It will be interesting to meet and get to know more about these musicians and where they hail from. Luxembourg is a small grand duchy situated between Germany, France and Belgium in the very heart of Europe. In 2014, this group hosted the wind symphony of Ohio Northern University. Now, group members are touring throughout the United States, through Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. The Niswonger and Van Wert are proud to host these young European musical ambassadors. I hope you can come to the concert and enjoy the music created by these fine young musicians from Luxembourg.

By Sunday, we’ll all be ready to attend church and rest up from a big weekend!  I’ll be seeing you in all the familiar places.


POSTED: 08/05/15 at 6:26 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert