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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016


Music in Van Wert

By: Paul Hoverman


The doctor in this case is Doc, the only musician I know who is universally known, and deserves to be known, by simply Doc.  Born to a dentist, Carl Severinsen, and his wife, Minnie Mae, Carl Hilding Severinsen, “Little Doc” took up the trumpet because he couldn’t find a trombone or violin (what his father played) at the local music store. Thank you, local music store!

It didn’t take long for Little Doc to start making waves in the music field and at the age of 12, he was winning music competitions and soon began playing with local bands. His young career was cut short by World War II when his country called and he was drafted into the military. Once the war was over, Little Doc resumed his playing career playing popular music on radio in Oregon, his home state.

Little Doc was shortened to just Doc as he started playing in “The Tonight Show” Orchestra under legendary Skitch Henderson. Shortly after Johnny Carson took over “The Tonight Show” from Steve Allen, Doc took over as “The Tonight Show” band leader. His flashy outfits made him the next day’s conversation and he became a mainstay and valuable part of the trio of characters, along with Johnny and Ed McMahon. Doc would take the place of Ed McMahon as Johnny’s sidekick when Ed was away.

The rest is pretty much history … and legend. Doc soon became one of the most well-known trumpet players in the world. As a trumpet player myself, Doc was the epitome of what I strived to be. Doc could play jazz and popular music as he displayed each night on TV, but he could also play very difficult technical pieces. His sound was immediately recognizable. No one had such a big, bright and bold sound as Doc. Many of us grew up playing the Severinsen model trumpet made by the Getzen Company. It was one of the best ways to sound as much like Doc as possible, along with a lot of practice, of course!

Doc would frequently concertize around the country. As a freshman trumpet major at Bowling Green State University, Doc gave a memorable concert in Anderson Arena for a Parent’s Day audience. I still remember the piece he dedicated to all the trumpet majors at BGSU. I felt special even though I hadn’t met him. I would later hear him at the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne and actually had the opportunity to meet him.

After Johnny Carson left “The Tonight Show”, Doc took to the road with many of his friends in “The Tonight Show” Big Band. He has since taken on other special music projects, but has now returned to his roots, touring with a big band and a vocalist. I knew it was time to bring Doc to the Niswonger. I understand he still plays up a storm at the age of 89. If you don’t believe me, come to the Niswonger this Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. and hear for yourself. I doubt you will be disappointed.

Tickets are still available, although the hall is getting filled. Don’t miss this music and TV legend at the Niswonger. I have trumpet playing friends coming from Seattle to Cincinnati to Youngstown. They realize it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Doc will enjoy seeing you Sunday night!

Now, Sunday night is only one of a double-header we have at the Niswonger this weekend. Vocalosity, the very popular a cappella singing group will be in concert this Saturday night. They are extremely popular on college campuses, based on their stops before coming to the Niswonger this Saturday: U. of Illinois, Indiana U., Butler U., us, and then Akron University. We even saw they were playing in Milwaukee during a recent trip to this fine city.

Two more outstanding concerts to offer you at the Niswonger. Vocalosity this Saturday followed by Doc Severinsen and his Big Band Sunday night. The only way the weekend could get any better would be with another Dallas Cowboy victory, and they have a bye this weekend. So I look forward to seeing you at the Niswonger this weekend for a musical double header of two great shows!


POSTED: 10/18/16 at 4:32 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

This week and the next, the Niswonger Performing Arts Center presents two concerts with special appeal for the younger audience, as well as the young at heart. Colton Dixon is a 2012 finalist on the 2012 edition of Fox’s “American Idol”.  Following his appearance on “American Idol” his singing, recording, and concertizing career took off.

His appeal is with the young audience, and young Christian audience in particular; however, as I listen to his music, he has some very nice ballads and his singing voice is very, very good.  His message is positive and Christ centered — something our youth can really use a lot of.

The concert begins this Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are currently on sale at the box office. There may also be tickets available at the door Sunday night. The box office opens at 6:30 p.m., or always one hour before the concert event begins.  Doors to the music hall open at 7 p.m. typically.

The following week, on Saturday, October 22, the Niswonger welcomes a new young a cappella group called Vocalosity. The artistic producer of the show is Deke Sharon, also the creator of TV’s “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off”. I had the opportunity to meet Sharon in New York last year and I know he is thrilled with the show. It’s a fast paced production that features 10 dynamic voices he personally auditioned and selected. They sing, dance, and move to today’s chart-topping hits in their own brand new a cappella arrangements. You will hear all kinds of musical styles in their show. Even the barbershop singers of the world are excited about this concert experience.  They call it the “aca-perfect” concert experience.

Now, lest you think we have forgotten or forsaken the more mature audience members, be not afraid!  The very next day after Vocalosity, one of my heroes comes to the Niswonger. The good doctor will be visiting Van Wert. Doc Severinsen and his Big Band will be bringing classic songs to the stage with a female vocalist.

Doc is a fluke of musical and physical nature. At 89 years old, he is the last standing of the three comrades who ruled late night TV from the 1960s through the early 1990s. Johnny Carson was to so many, the “King of late night TV” as he hosted “The Tonight Show” with side-kick Ed McMahan and band leader Doc Severinsen. The three formed a very likeable team that entertained millions of TV viewers every week night.

Following Johnny Carson’s retirement and leaving “The Tonight Show”, Doc immediately took to the road with his music. His Big Band on “The Tonight Show” was, for many, the epitome of popular Big Band music.

Filled with some of the top musical talent in the country, and especially on the West Coast, audiences were thrilled to continue hearing the exciting music created by this powerful band of musicians.

Since the 1990s, Doc has continued performing in several different genres of music, but Big Band music is where his soaring trumpet sound has always been best known.

Now at the age of 89, Doc continues playing that powerful and melodic trumpet, surrounding himself with musicians who jump at the chance to perform with him. I’ll tell you more about Doc next week as we approach his concert in Van Wert at the Niswonger on Sunday, October 23.  You can still get tickets, although they are going fast. I have trumpet friends from all over the country who are coming to Van Wert to hear Doc. You won’t want to miss him!


POSTED: 10/12/16 at 6:33 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

From the title of my column this week, one might think it’s been a little hectic at our performing arts center lately. Although we do stay busy most of the time, the real zoo comes this Saturday when Jungle Jack Hanna brings all his adorable critters with him from the Columbus Zoo. The actual show begins at 3 p.m. at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert.

This is a show that will delight and amaze all those attending with the wonder of God’s wild kingdom. Jack Hanna has become the most well-known and sought after zoo keeper in the country. He can be seen on national TV commercials and late night talk shows as well as stages throughout the U.S.

Now, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, Jungle Jack, as he is affectionately known, takes animals all over the country and shares them with audience members who would never have the opportunity to experience them up close and personal. Jack has become, quite possibly, the spokesperson for animals everywhere.

In his show, Hanna will not only demonstrate live animals, but will also show video of rare animals even the zoos don’t get the opportunity to showcase to the public. His experiences are amazing!  You will love hearing stories told first-hand about Jack’s travels to the most remote areas of the world to experience and video tape animals you will never see.

A bonus for ticket buyers this time around (Jack was here in 2014) is the brilliant new video playing system recently installed in the Van Wert County Foundation Saltzgaber Music Hall. Thanks to some cherished contributors, we now have a video system that will nearly make the animals come to life right there in the Niswonger. I think you will notice a big difference in the quality of the projection on the screen.

Although adults will enjoy the show, we know that kids especially love animals. And we have enhanced the whole Jungle Jack Hanna Show experience with pre-show events in the Van Wert Federal Grand Lobby. The Atomic Sharks will be performing silly kid’s songs with their ukuleles in the lobby starting at 2 p.m.  Coloring and other fun activities will also be available for kids to enjoy. Adults can enter the Music Hall at 2:30 p.m., while the children enjoy a fun time leading up to the show. All seats are reserved, so enjoy whatever you like, whenever you like.

Another bonus we are offering ticket buyers to Jack Hanna is the opportunity to buy tickets for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live!  This wonderful kid’s show will be at the Niswonger for two shows on Saturday, February 25.  Tickets to the public are scheduled to be released November 23.  If you attend Jungle Jack’s show this Saturday, you will be offered the opportunity to get an early buy on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  So get the early start on tickets and enjoy the choice of the best seats in the house for this wildly popular PBS Kid’s show.

Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live, sponsored nationally by Nationwide Insurance, is actually brought to us at the Niswonger by our friends at Belna Petroleum, along with supporting sponsors Betsy’s Boutique Shop in Rockford and Dr. Jon T. Romer, OD, in Celina. The fun you enjoy with the Atomic Sharks will be sponsored by Dr. Tom Wilkin’s Animal Clinic of Van Wert. We thank all of these sponsors for bringing Jungle Jack back to the PAC!

There may be tickets still available at the door Saturday. So come on out and enjoy an afternoon of wonder and amazement as Jack Hanna takes us into the wild once again in Van Wert. Tickets begin at just $15!

And don’t forget, Messiah rehearsals begin Saturday, November 5, from 3-5 p.m., at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert. Spread the word!


POSTED: 10/04/16 at 8:58 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

After watching the first Presidential debate last night, it occurred to me that this is a year for The Messiah.  I’m not sure what prompted me, but it certainly came to me during the debate.  Hmmm?!!

Okay, my political comment aside now, we are announcing the date for our biennial performance of Handel’s Messiah in Van Wert.  It will be Sunday night, December 11, at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church.  The orchestra and soloists are just about in place, so now we just need a chorus.  If you have never sung in our Messiah, you don’t know what you’re missing.  It is a very redeemable experience.

I invite you to join our chorus of volunteer singers.  We have many fine singers who offer their talents as well as many common voices who want to join and make theirs sound better.  It will happen.  There are many who can testify to it. Singing Messiah is not “Mary had a little Lamb,” but somehow we put together a very inspirational performance.  I hope you will consider joining the chorus.

The rehearsal schedule is as follows: Saturday, November 5; Sundays: November 13, 20, 27; December 4 and 11. All rehearsals are 3-5 p.m. and are held in the First UM Church sanctuary. Songbooks are available, although some have their own copies. Singing with friends and family members is always a popular activity at the Christmas season.

Invite a friend and share the rehearsal schedule with veteran and first-time singers. We can usually accommodate as many as 75 singers. It’s an exciting experience to sing with a large choir, a chamber orchestra, and professional soloists. I hope you will give it a try and see for yourself what a rewarding experience it is.

This weekend is a busy one in Van Wert. Among the most fun events will be “Happy Days Live!” at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. It features Anson Williams and Donnie Most, the lovable Potsie and Ralph Malph of TV’s “Happy Days” show from the 1970s and ‘80s.

The show will be filled with never before seen clips from the famous TV show as well as fun commentary from two of its biggest stars.  What you might not realize is that both Anson and Ralph are very good singers.  They will incorporate music from the ‘50s and ‘60s, the setting for “Happy Days”.  Backed up by a band of NY musicians, it will be an exciting element to the show.

Tickets can be purchased at the box office the night of the show.  That’s this Saturday, October 1, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Make your day a Happy Day at the Niswonger!


POSTED: 09/28/16 at 8:09 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Do you remember those happy days of growing up in the 1970s, sitting around the television as a family, watching and laughing to shows like “Happy Days”?  For over a decade, from 1974-1984, the Cunningham family came into our living rooms and helped lighten our day with laughter. Based in Milwaukee, the show introduced us to Richie Cunningham (the grown up Opie from Mayberry,) his friends Potsie, Ralph Malph, and, of course, Arthur Fonzarelli, better known as “The Fonz.” Many others starred in the show as well, but each week you could count on seeing Richie, Potsie, and Ralph sitting in a booth at Al’s Diner.

Starting on Thursday evening, September 29, and on through Saturday, October 1, we are turning Van Wert into Milwaukee and the “Happy Days” scene. Potsie (Anson Williams) and Ralph Malph (Donnie Most) will be in town making appearances all over in preparation for their show “Happy Days Live!” at the Niswonger on October 1 at 7:30 p.m.

potsie-vs-ralph-artwork-9-2016Some people may be wondering exactly what this show will be like. I have been talking with the show’s producer and even with Anson and Ralph to find out exactly what to expect. You will see special never before seen clips of the “Happy Days” TV show and hear first-hand from Ralph and Potsie about the behind the scenes episodes and stories. This tandem of troublemakers will make you laugh once again as we all re-live those happy days of our youth. And when I say our youth, I am actually talking about two generations: those from the ‘50s and ‘60s, when the setting took place, and also from the ‘70s and ‘80s when it aired on ABC.

Now what you may not know is that both Potsie and Ralph are quite accomplished singers. If you recall, Potsie would occasionally sing on the show; usually to his girlfriend, Richie’s sister, Joanie, played by Erin Moran. So part of the show will also include some of that great Rock & Roll music from the era of the ‘50s and ‘60s. They will be backed by a band they are bringing with them from New York. I’ve heard Donnie Most sing with this big band and they are extremely polished and a lot of fun to hear.

So now you know about the show, I want to see you there! As an added surprise, you will also see some Van Wert area celebrities strutting their best moves on stage to a Rock & Roll song especially for them. Our celebrities (who might actually steal the show) are VWHS Principal and former football coach Bob Priest, Lincolnview Superintendent Jeff Snyder, Municipal Court Judge Jill Leatherman, former Parkway band director and current director of the Van Wert Area Community Band Richard Sherrick, and even a ringer: Kim Hohman of Kim Hohman’s DanceWorks. There may even be another surprise guest.

You can still get tickets at the Niswonger box office or even that night at the door. Remember, it’s Saturday, October 1, at 7:30 p.m. The whole evening will be filled with joy and laughter as we recall the happy days which are yours and my happy days! I invite you to come and laugh with me and all my friends at the Niswonger with “Happy Days Live!” Potsie and Ralph are really looking forward to seeing you soon.


POSTED: 09/21/16 at 5:48 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

This Sunday kicks off our 10th season at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center: “Ten Years of Wow!”  The season is filled with so many different events, but we get started on Sunday with two performers you still see quite regularly on PBS broadcasts of “The Lawrence Welk Show”. Guy & Ralna are a singing duo who appeared regularly in millions of homes for 12 years on the very popular Welk show.

Their show will be filled with many styles of music and will include the wholesome, family entertainment so many experienced each week on their TV. And I say experienced, but millions still do because “The Lawrence Welk Show” is the most popular rebroadcast show on PBS.

Guy & Ralna will be performing with a big band filled with outstanding musicians from throughout the Midwest. This concert is the start of our Community Concert Series, which also includes Doc Severinsen, the flashy trumpeter from Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” for over 30 years, and his Big Band. This concert is on October 23. Also later in the season, the series includes Broadway & Beyond, featuring J. Mark McVey of Les Miserables fame, along with the talented Heartland Vocal Singers, in a concert developed specifically for our Niswonger audience.

That concert will be followed up by the zany Mutts Gone Nuts & Robert Post Comedy Theater — an afternoon of lots of laughs. The series concludes with The Hitmen, legendary performers from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Tommy James, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Chicago, and many more.

You can still purchase this entire series for as little as $75 or you may purchase individual tickets. Either way, don’t miss our kick-off concert this Sunday afternoon starting at 2 p.m.  Single tickets for Guy & Ralna may be purchased from the box office in advance or immediately before the concert. Single tickets range from $15-$35.

Showing our concern for the heroin/opium epidemic. which affects communities all over the U.S., including our very own Van Wert County, we team with Westwood Behavioral Health Center for a free event on September 20 at 7:30 p.m.  Sam Quinones, a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and author, will be speaking of his experiences covering the growing situation. A panel of professionals will also be on hand answering questions. The public is invited to learn more about this dangerously growing epidemic, which affects so many.

The following Saturday, September 24, features two outstanding jazz musicians: Jonathan Butler and Gerald Albright. If you have seen Butler when he performed at the Niswonger as part of the Dave Koz & Friends concert, you know what you are in for. Butler literally stopped the show in the middle with a standing ovation of his performance.

This time he teams with saxophonist Gerald Albright, fresh off a world tour with Phil Collins. If you love jazz, if you love music, if you love inspiration, you won’t want to miss this concert.

Phew! That’s a jam-packed opening to our “Tenth Season of Wow”! We look forward to seeing you at the Niswonger real soon!


POSTED: 09/13/16 at 6:01 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

This past Sunday evening, I took the opportunity to attend and experience a great local church tradition in Venedocia: Gymanfa Ganu.  This strange name is the name given to  a Welsh tradition of hymn singing by a congregation in four part harmony and usually led by a conductor.  It is a wonderful tradition that Salem Presbyterian continues each year, packing their sanctuary with members, family members, friends, and visitors.  Singing many traditional Welsh hymns, those gathered raise the roof in singing their beloved hymns of the Welsh heritage.

This year, the chosen conductor was Christopher Uhl, son of Don and Faye Uhl, who still reside in Van Wert and have been longtime members of Van Wert’s First Presbyterian Church.  Their family has a Welsh heritage which made Christopher a perfect choice as conductor of the hymn festival. Christopher has also gone on since graduating from VWHS in 1978 to become a much respected sacred choral and orchestral conductor and organist.

As I was sitting in the Salem Presbyterian Church in Venedocia this past Sunday evening, Uhl recognized his one-time organ teacher who not only taught him the art and craft of organ playing, but also the love of church music. That person would be Gloria Wendel, who is still the organist at First United Methodist in Van Wert. As Christopher credited Gloria for inspiring him in music, it made me think of how many lives this lady has touched over her years of music service. I realize this because I have had the privilege of working with her at First Church for the past 23 years. But when Christopher mentioned it, I started thinking even more about just how far her musical branches have reached.

Not only is the Van Wert area filled with organists who learned the art of organ playing from Gloria, but the entire country is also filled with accomplished organists who were once her student.  Many of them have gone on to fill very respectable church music positions. I am sure there even more than I am aware of.

The reason I want to share this with you is not just because Gloria has been and still is a very fine organist and teacher, but it’s also because of the person she is. She grew up in rural Convoy and attended Ohio Wesleyan as well as Ohio State University. Following college, she married Larry Wendel, also a Convoy native who returned to the area to teach. He would eventually own his own construction business and then become executive secretary of The Van Wert County Foundation.

One thing led to another and the Lord opened the door for Gloria to become the church organist at First UM in Van Wert. I have no doubt that Gloria could have moved on to higher paying church jobs, but she became committed to First Church and has remained there for well over 55 years.

Working with Gloria, I have appreciated the commitment, love and zeal she has for music, and church music in particular.  One of my choir members has called her an angel on the organ bench.  She sings as she plays and knows more songs by heart than I know from a hymnal.  We take her ability (she also was blessed with perfect pitch) for granted.  Although she is an accomplished music reader, she can go from one song to another with ease and without music.  We witnessed this in Portland, Oregon when at General Conference, she pitch-hit at the last minute to play the perfect selection of hymns during the procession of the United Methodist bishops to start General Conference. You would have never guessed she didn’t have any music in front of her. This might have been her crowning jewel as the service was broadcast throughout the world!

So, yes, Christopher Uhl, you were the recipient of a great teacher and inspirational person, but for those of us lucky enough to work with and hear Gloria each week, we continue to be blessed!


POSTED: 09/07/16 at 7:37 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Much of my day today has been talking about and planning for two speakers who will be presenting at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. On Tuesday, September 20, Sam Quinones, a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and author will be speaking about the opium epidemic that has affected, not only our area, but the entire country.

We are teaming with Westwood Behavioral Health Center in Van Wert to put this community awareness event together. We think it does not affect us because many of us don’t really know someone who deals with this addiction. In speaking with Mark Spieles, director of Westwood Behavioral Health Center, he informed me that, just last year, we had three people in our community die from heroin overdose (the drug heroin is a derivative of opium). Many more are dealing with the addiction and have a very difficult time overcoming it.

Mark went on to explain how heroin actually changes your mental state and completely changes one’s behavior.  Those of us who have not been affected by this, don’t really have the compassion, let alone the understanding we should.

Sam Quinones basically went to the Mexican border and lived among the trafficking activity and gangs most responsible for bringing this terrible drug to small-town America, as well as the large cities.  During his 10 years of living in and writing about this epidemic, he gained knowledge and exposure none of us have or really care to have. But we cannot ignore this any longer.

Because Westwood fights with this on a regular basis, the Niswonger has teamed with them to bring Quinones to Van Wert to draw awareness to everyone in the area who wants to learn more about the subject.  Like I said before, it could just be a matter of time before someone you know is affected.  It’s good to have knowledge and understanding so we can attempt to fight this terrible epidemic.  And Mark mentioned that it’s not just kids being affected. He said they have seen 65-year-old men trapped by heroin addiction.

This Tuesday, September 20 event is completely free to everyone.  We will plan on holding it in the First Federal Lecture Hall unless the response is such that we need to move it to the Saltzgaber Music Hall.  It will start at 7:30 p.m.  Here’s hoping we move into the Music Hall!

Following Quinones talk, selected local law enforcement officers, medical doctors, treatment professionals, judges, and possibly state representatives will serve on a panel to discuss their perspectives and take questions from the audience.  It should be a very informative and eye-opening evening.  I’m glad our Speaker Committee suggested this subject and that Westwood Behavioral Center has been so cooperative and excited to team with us.

A second speaker event will be Sunday, October 2, at 7 p.m., with extremely popular author and motivational speaker Jon Gordon. Gordon is so amazing that our sponsor, Central Insurance, is having him speak to all their employees the next morning!  Two of Gordon’s books: The Energy Bus, and Training Camp, were chosen by our speaker committee as a community read. The Brumback Library in Van Wert has several copies you can check out and read.  They are fast and easy reads, but also very inspiring.

Gordon has spoken to Fortune 500 Companies as well as collegiate and professional sports teams.  He will speak about team work and inspiration in our lives.  He also has a strong faith component that helps direct his life. This will be a Sunday evening event and tickets may be purchased at the Niswonger Box Office. We have businesses, school staffs, school sports teams, and individuals already attending from all over. Don’t miss Jon Gordon!

We are getting ready to kick off our Tenth Anniversary Season at the Niswonger. It all starts with Guy & Ralna, a popular singing couple who gained notoriety from their 12 years on the Lawrence Welk Show.  Tickets for this season opener on September 18 are currently available too.  Ten Years of Wow in entertainment, inspiration and awareness education are just around the corner.  Get ready!

Oh yes …  and dare I say, “Go Falcons!” as my alma mater tries to knock off the giant of Ohio this Saturday in Columbus at the “Big House.”


POSTED: 08/30/16 at 3:15 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

As we enter the 10th season at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, it’s interesting to look at the top 10 selling concerts thus far. Now granted, we have four weeks before the start of the season and things can, and probably will, change. As example, today was the release of single ticket sales for the Christmas musical, Elf.  It just jumped from No. 7 to No. 2!

Selling trends are always interesting and helpful to learn from and analyze. We talk considerably about how we think a certain show or concert might appeal to buyers as we are planning a season. The proof is always in the pudding, or shall I say ticket sales.

I know many of you who have purchased tickets are oftentimes interested in how certain events are trending.  For those who have not yet pulled the lever, it may prompt you to make your move soon, before getting shut out as result of a sell-out.  So, as of Wednesday, here are the top 10 ticket sellers at the Niswonger.

  1. Andy Williams Christmas featuring the Osmonds and Lennon Sisters — Saturday, December 10, at 7:30 p.m.
  2. Elf the Broadway Musical — Monday, November 21, at 7:30 p.m.
  3. Diamond Rio — Saturday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m.
  4. The Hit Men — Saturday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. (note: this is part of the Community Concert Series, but can also be purchased separately).
  5. The Time Jumpers featuring Vince Gill — Saturday, February 4, at 7:30 p.m.
  6. REO Speedwagon — Saturday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m.
  7. Doc Severinsen and his Big Band — Sunday, October 23, at 7:30 p.m. (also part of the Community Concert Series, but can be purchased individually).
  8. Mutts Gone Nutts with Comedian Robert Post — Sunday, April 30, at 3 p.m. (also Community Concert Series).
  9. Broadway’s Rain-A tribute to the Beatles — Monday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m.
  10. Guy & Ralna from “The Lawrence Welk Show” — Sunday, September 18, at 2 p.m. (yet another Community Concert Series event).

What we are seeing is there is a logjam of many concerts. Those not making the top 10 are not far behind. A few of these will probably switch over to sellouts before long.

The juggernaut event of the year is likely our gala concert featuring Bernadette Peters with the Boston Pops Orchestra. It has not yet been released, and was not included in our Grand Series or available for Select Series purchases. There are some very special considerations we need to take care of. During the month of December, groups or individuals who either helped build the Niswonger and have been regular supporters throughout our 10 years will have early buying options.

If you want to make sure you do not miss this concert, you might want to talk to the box office about becoming a member of the Niswonger, guaranteeing early buying options. Any remaining tickets will go on sale beginning January 4 for those interested in seeing the concert of the decade featuring Bernadette Peters and The Boston Pops. We wish we could fit everyone in the Van Wert County Foundation Saltzgaber Music Hall, but we are limited to 1,200 seats.

By the way, I just took a peek at Bernadette Peters’ performance schedule. It reads: Royal Festival Hall in London, Manchester Opera House in Manchester, Edinburgh Playhouse in Edinburgh (all three in the United Kingdom), San Diego, California, Charleston, South Carolina, Mesa, Arizona, and a few others before reaching the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert, Ohio. That’s pretty good company!

We are humbled, honored, and indebted to you for the support you have given the Niswonger. Help us spread the good news of Van Wert’s crown jewel to all your friends, neighbors, and family members. We certainly have something to be proud of: “Ten Years of Wow!” at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center!


POSTED: 08/23/16 at 4:03 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

All you have to do is walk outside and you know things are heating up.  I just stepped outside my office and the thermometer downtown said 94.  But even as the days heat up, the evenings have cooled quite nicely.

So it is with our concerts in Van Wert.  As our concerts in Fountain Park come to a cool end this Friday night, things are starting to really heat up with our “Season of Wow!” at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

This Friday, believe it or not, we hold the final concert of Van Wert County Foundation sponsored concerts in Fountain Park. We have kept our biggest concert of the summer for the final one. “The McCartney Years” is a great production and concert of the memorable music of Paul McCartney with the music he made famous with Wings, as well as the classic mega-hits with The Beatles.

There are many Beatles tribute bands, but this one has a unique twist to it.  Led by Canadian musician Yuri Pool, this group has been hailed by Sid Bernstein, the guy who brought The Beatles to North America, as “the best on the scene today!” I’ve actually heard these guys and, as I’ve said before, I didn’t want them to stop playing. I knew every song and they sounded so much like the music of Paul McCartney! Yuri and his band is one you are sure to enjoy.

Plan on coming early and staying late as we sing into the night the songs many of us grew up to and many others you still hear today, regardless of age.

The Red Cross of Van Wert will be serving up food and a special opportunity will be given to donate to a group of civic volunteers interested in making Fountain Park a holiday spectacular this Christmas season by adding decorations to the park.  Bring your spare change and bills so we can make Van Wert an even better place to live and visit.

If we should be so fortunate to do a rain dance and bring in showers that last all day on Friday, the concert will definitely be moved into the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.  A passing shower would not necessitate a move. An all-day or evening rain event could change our plans. I hope we get to celebrate the end to a summer of fun in Fountain Park, but either way, we win!

Actually, the music in Fountain Park will continue as the Van Wert Area Community Concert Band will perform a bonus concert on August 19.  So don’t forget this concert too!  These talented volunteer musicians work hard to put on an entertaining concert of all kinds of band music.  You’ll enjoy them too.

Plans are heating up for the new season at the Niswonger. My staff, board, and our loyal army of volunteers are gearing up for a huge 10th season. Twenty-six concerts, shows, and outstanding speaker events will kick off this September.  We are cleaning, decorating, and making plans for our best season ever!  It will culminate with our gala on April 1 with award-winning singer-actress Bernadette Peters and THE Boston Pops Orchestra.

Check out the season at NPACVW.ORG or pick up a catalog and select your tickets now.  Several concerts and shows are starting to fill up.  It will be an exciting 10th “Season of Wow!” and we don’t want you to miss it.


POSTED: 08/09/16 at 8:31 pm. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert