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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2015


Music in Van Wert

By: Paul Hoverman


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

Although the Fountain Park Summer Music Series does not have a concert in the park this Friday night, I believe we will more than make up for it on August 7 when Your Generation in Concert: Fifty Amp Fuse takes the stage.  This nine-piece band is an international favorite for celebrities, festivals, corporate events, casinos and private events.  Located in the Detroit metro area, this band covers six decades of the pop/rock era of American and British music.  They are in high demand and we are very fortunate to be able to bring them to Van Wert to close out our summer series. I think you are going to really love their concert. It will be a fun conclusion to a rainy summer!

Although this concert with Fifty Amp Fuse is the last concert in our series, I want you to not forget about the Van Wert Area Community Concert Band, who will be in concert in Fountain Park the following week on August 14.  They are delighting audiences with their enjoyable brand of traditional and contemporary band music. Food will also be provided for those who wish to enjoy their meal in the park.

You might have also noticed the Elvis Tribute who will be in concert in Fountain Park on Saturday, August 15. I understand it is a tremendous show. Tickets are available through Visionary Promotions and the proceeds of the concert will benefit the Children’s Garden in Smiley Park.

I will mention one more concert, which will be held at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Saturday, August 8.  The Dudelang Symphonic Band from Luxembourg is touring the United States and we were fortunate enough to be able to host them for a free concert.  It has been set up in cooperation with Ohio Northern University.  The concert will be at 7 p.m. and there is free admission. Come to the Niswonger and enjoy a free band concert with our friends from Luxembourg!  Music bridges the gap of many miles.

Tickets for the upcoming Niswonger season are flying out the door each day. Many of the shows and concerts are filling up quickly.  Interestingly, The Texas Tenors, part of our Community Concert Series, are leading all concerts in sales. Over 500 people have bought the entire Community Concert Series, making The Texas Tenors a real bargain!  We have added another 400 through Select Series buyers. Also in that series is Ethan Bortnick, whom you might have also seen on PBS this summer.  As are The Texas Tenors, Ethan Bortnick is quite a show. Both will be outstanding productions.

Speaking of the Niswonger business, I want you to know about a project the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation is launching very soon. The foundation is raffling off a beautiful cream colored/red interior 2002 Ford Thunderbird with very low mileage. Tickets are $100 each and just 500 will be sold. The proceeds will help us build a permanent cover over the loading dock, providing a much safer environment for our many volunteers who help load in and out the Niswonger shows, many times in the winter weather. Stage lighting and video projection will be enhanced with any remaining proceeds.

So, you are helping a good cause and someone will drive away with a beautiful Thunderbird. You will see it parked outside the main entrance of the Niswonger before upcoming shows. Good cause, good chance, beautiful car.

There will be more to share with you next week as we draw closer to our Fountain Park finale. Until then, keep a song in your heart!


POSTED: 07/29/15 at 6:22 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

I have to admit, I met Catherine Porter in New York City this past January and now we’re going to have Shotgun Wedding this Friday night in Fountain Park. Did I get your attention? I hope so, because I think this week’s Fountain Park entertainers are worth seeing and hearing!

They claim they are a “City Country Band” and they hail from Brooklyn, New York.  Go figure. Porter, the female vocalist of the band explains that Shotgun Wedding is “…Like sippin’ a Moonshine Martini after a long, hard day.”  If you have the chance, you can check out their sound at

This band is blazing its own trail with a new music genre, “City Country.” Their songs reflect life in NYC, steeped in Bakersfield country, rock-n-roll, with a dash of swing. Their website suggests you will get the picture if you trade your front porch for a fire escape, your trusty steed for the 7 o’clock train, and Ole’ Yeller for a yellow cab.

Shotgun Wedding

Shotgun Wedding

One thing I do know is that this band is filled with outstanding musicians who like to have a lot of fun!  Guitarist Dennis DelGaudio has spent time guesting with the likes of The Turtles and our friend from the Niswonger in 2008, Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits). He has also been lead guitarist, and eventually musical director, on the Broadway smash hit Movin’ Out.  He was also part of Billy Joel’s historic Last Play at Shea concerts and is now a touring member with Joel.  As a matter of fact, Dennis and Wade Preston, piano/vocalist for Shotgun Wedding, will both be hustling into Van Wert on Friday after finishing a concert with Joel in Boston’s Fenway Park.

Bassist and vocalist Andy Cichon hails from Australia, but began his U.S. career by touring with Shania Twain and still performs with Shania and Joel. He has also shared the stage with Paul McCartney. Drummer Chuck Burgi has a resume that reads like a “Who’s Who” of rock and pop music. He teamed up with Hall and Oates for two platinum albums and two world tours. He has also recorded with the likes of Michael Bolton, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi and Meat Loaf. He, as well as Andy, Dennis and Wade, also performs with Joel as his drummer.

Catherine Porter is a native New Yorker and has sung with Michael Crawford, Hugh Jackman, Brian May, Queen, Chaka Khan, Sam Moore and Kiki Dee, to name a few. Of all her gigs, she claims singing in Shotgun Wedding is her favorite place to be.

So, as you can see, the band scheduled to play in Fountain Park this Friday night has quite a resume! If you like country music with a New York City twist … and if you like and appreciate world-class musicians, you won’t want to miss Shotgun Wedding this Friday night in Van Wert’s Fountain Park.

Of course, if it should rain (and what would the chance be we should ever get rain), we will move the concert into the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Fountain Park scheduled concerts begin at 7 p.m.  We all hope we can be outside and enjoy beautiful weather and good food prepared by Family Health Care of Northwest Ohio.

Tickets are flying out of the Niswonger box office each day as people are taking advantage of early buying opportunities by bundling three or more concert and saving 10-15 percent. Grand Series and Community Concert Series are still being sold, too. Care to guess who is in first place as of right now in ticket sales at the Niswonger?  The Texas Tenors (who da thunk). Great show, though. Lots of people have been seeing their show on local PBS stations this summer. I’d want to come, too!

Pray for good weather and I’ll see you in Fountain Park this Friday night … hopefully!


POSTED: 07/15/15 at 6:28 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

This Friday night in Fountain Park there will be a band concert. It features many adults who have either continued with, or rediscovered, music making. The Van Wert Area Community Concert Band is a musical organization where amateur musicians can come together and enjoy making music for people to listen to, although I kind of think they would enjoy the activity just for the reward of making music for themselves. This band is filled with people, from teens to over 90 years old. One of the real “cool” things about making music is that it can be done and shared with each other regardless of your age.

This Friday night, the Van wert Area Community Concert Band will feature a musician who made most of his living working at Central Insurance during the day, but playing at night and on weekends. A wise professor of mine once said: “You can play around when you’re young and work like a dog the rest of your life, or you can work like a dog while you are young and play the rest of your life!” He was referring to practicing a musical instrument.  Glen Poling is a man who has been able to play music the rest of his life … and what a life it has been!  Although Glen has played in community band and church on the baritone horn mostly, his real love is the guitar.  Glen has played all over the country with fellow musicians as part of jazz and dance bands

This Friday night, Glen will be featured with the VWACCB in Fountain Park playing his guitar.  At 90 years old, he seems to keep going like the Eveready Bunny of music. I am sure Glen has played more music than most anyone in Van Wert. When in town, he plays baritone horn with the concert band and also guitar with many Limaland musician friends. In the last couple decades, he has spent winters in Florida and, of course, made friends with fellow musicians and entertains retirees enjoying the warmth of the winter in Florida.

The VWACCB is what used to be the Masonic Fellowcraft Band. Some of the same players from that band have continued through the transitions and continue playing. Richard Sherrick, legendary and now retired band director from Parkway Local Schools, has taken over the reins as conductor and has attracted new musicians. I heard the band play at the Van Wert County Historical Museum on July 4 and they are making some very enjoyable music. I hope you can attend their concert in Fountain Park this Friday night and enjoy a good old band concert in the park and hear one of Van Wert’s finest and most seasoned musicians, Glen Poling.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. just like all our Fountain Park Summer Music Series concerts. Food will be served out of the Rotary concession booth for you to enjoy.

Also on the docket for this weekend is a new festival called “Eats on the Street/Art from the Fort,” which is sponsored by Main Street Van Wert and Wassenberg Art Center. Food vendors and activities will be located on Central Avenue from 4-11 p.m. this Saturday. There will even be a duck race down Town Creek. Launch time is 6:15 p.m. from the footbridge in back of Wassenberg Art Center. Come downtown and enjoy a fun time and take in some music at the Wassenberg Art Center too!

The following week, we return with a Fountain Park Summer Music Series concert featuring a band from Brooklyn, New York, called “Shot Gun Wedding.”  It will be a city/country band that features all kinds of music styles played by some outstanding musicians who currently play with the likes of Billy Joel, Shania Twain, Bon Jovi, and Dianna Ross just to name a few. Their music, which is on the Country side, has been compared to the sounds of Loretta Lynn, George Jones and Merle Haggard. They are outstanding musicians and I think you’re gonna love them!

Lastly, today is the beginning of Select Series sales at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. This is where anyone wishing to select three or more concerts may purchase tickets for the upcoming season.  It’s always a big day and with the line-up for this season, I expect many seats to get eaten up by the end of today (Wednesday.) Sales begin at noon and can be purchased in person at the box office, online ( or by calling (419.238.NPAC 6722.) There are 25 outstanding performances and events to choose from. Don’t lose out. Think now about the ones you wish to attend and get your tickets before we’re sold out!


POSTED: 07/08/15 at 6:20 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

Another big holiday weekend is approaching as we celebrate Independence Day in America.  Once again, many activities will surround the July 4 celebration in Van Wert with the Holiday at Home plans.

Things get started this Friday night with what has become a Van Wert tradition with the Lima Symphony Pops Orchestra in Fountain Park.  I hope we as a community don’t take for granted the wonderful opportunity we have to celebrate July 4 with a live orchestra.  There are not many communities in America that can share a July 4 celebration much like we see on the lawn of our nation’s capital each year.

Maestro Crafton Beck has a program of American music put together that includes Broadway and film scores, popular music, American folk songs, marches, overtures and patriotic tunes sure to get everyone in the celebratory mood of Independence Day.  The Lima Symphony will play this Friday in Van Wert and then moves to the lawns of Ohio Northern University for a concert on Saturday.

Activities on Saturday in Van Wert will be in abundance, including a chicken barbecue at Smiley Park by our local firefighters, a parade at 11 a.m. down Main Street and festivities at the Van Wert County Historical Museum kicking off at noon. Fireworks will be put on display at the Van Wert High School/Middle School site. The Van Wert City School District, as well as numerous businesses, corporations and individuals who have stepped up to fund this year’s fireworks, should be thanked for their contributions.

Tickets for the Niswonger concerts are starting to sell as Grand Series sales begin today (July 1).  Remember: Grand Series packages include everything outside of the Community Concert Series.  With a Community Concert Series and a Grand Series, you won’t miss a single concert this season.

One week later (July 8), Select Series tickets go on sale. This is the time anyone can bundle three or more concerts or events, receive a discount, and be pretty much guaranteed a ticket to the concerts they want. The longer you wait to make your Select Series selection, the more risk you take in tickets either being sold out or the selection of seats decreasing. This is the reason we have added one more level of giving. We call it the “Friend” level of membership; this allows you to make your Select Series selection one day earlier on July 7. Call or stop by the box office to find out details.

That reminds me that the Niswonger box office will be closed this Friday in observance of the Fourth of July holiday. Other than that, the summer box office hours are noon-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. The phone number of the box office is 419.238.NPAC (6722.)

Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you have a blast and enjoy some good music. I’ll see you from the stage this Friday night as we celebrate America with the Lima Symphony Pops!  Food will be provided by the YMCA Wellness Center.


POSTED: 07/01/15 at 5:50 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert

With the announcement of the upcoming Niswonger season, it seems essential to let as many as possible know the buying process for concert tickets.  Each year, we try to inform interested ticket buyers as to the process of obtaining tickets, but some fall through the cracks.  I may be preaching to the choir, but in case we help a few this time, I will restate our ticket policy.

Before I get into the details, though, I want to inform everyone exactly how we (Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation/NPAC) are organized. We are a non-profit organization that chooses to book our own concerts and events, allowing us to create a season of who we choose.

Some concert hall venues and organizations rent their halls out to promoters who have purchased a bunch of dates for a particular artist and wish to place them in performance halls throughout the country or region. This has its positive features, but also some drawbacks. We have chosen since our inception to self-promote and plan a season as we like (and hopefully, as you the patron will like).

In the parameters we have given ourselves, we try to generate long-term support, rather than go after, and depend on, single ticket buyers who will likely visit us once or twice. To accomplish this, we offer packages and try to establish a loyal customer base. It has been a rather successful strategy for us, and we have most of you to thank for that.

Also, since we are a non-profit organization, we are not driven by profit, although we need to generate funds to function and remain vital and fresh. We realize there are some who really like to have certain seats in the Van Wert County Foundation Saltzgaber Music Hall. The only way to guarantee this feature is to offer memberships and packages which allow priority purchasing dates.  In exchange for that, there is a cost associated with the privilege, but also then a discount on the tickets.

We have established membership levels, as well as series bundling sale dates. Participating in this allows people to guarantee a seat is available to them for the concert. Memberships can be purchased at any time and we are currently selling tickets to platinum, gold, and soon, silver members. We then open to Grand Series buyers; those wishing to buy every concert or event on the season (Community Concerts are separate.)

Next is the big Select Series release day. This is where you can bundle three or more concerts, receive a discount, and still get in on early ticket buying.  This year we instituted a new membership level called Friend, which allows you to make a Select Series purchase one day in advance.

After all these loyalty dates are through, single tickets sales begin typically 60-90 days before the concert.  Those dates are listed in our catalog as well as on-line (NPACVW.ORG).  Now here is the important point I want everyone to be made aware of: There may be some concerts that will sell out by the time we get to the single ticket release dates! This is due to the enormous interest in a particular concert and the early purchasing options.

In the past, we had this situation with Marie Osmond, Kelli Pickler and Kenny G, just to name a few. The way to avoid being shut out of a certain concert is to take advantage of one of the early release dates. And if there are certain seats you really cherish, select a package or date that best suits your needs and purchasing ability. We really don’t want you to say as Yogi Berra, the famous Yankee catcher once said: “No one goes there. They’re always too busy!”

Grand Series sales begin July 1, Friends begin July 7, and Select Series begins July 8 (always a big day at the Niswonger!)  If you want to secure your seats even earlier, call the box office (419.238.6722) and ask about Membership options available.

It will be a Mardi Gras atmosphere in Fountain Park this Friday night when the Hoo Doo Loungers come to town.  All the sounds and music of New Orleans will be on display as this talented nine piece band featuring horns, bass, drums, accordion, guitar, vocals, keyboards and a whole lot more will liven up your weekend this Friday night at 7 p.m.

I also want to mention a concert coming to Trinity United Methodist Church in Van Wert this Thursday. It features internationally known singing group “The Celebrant Singers and Orchestra.”  We are proud to say that Crestview graduate Natalie Collins, daughter of Mary and Jeff Collins, is part of the tour this summer as a musician. This concert begins at 7 p.m.

Hope to see you soon!


POSTED: 06/24/15 at 7:41 am. FILED UNDER: Music in Van Wert