By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor
Persons living in the Houston County area who enjoy nationally-acclaimed entertainment don’t need to drive to the Twin Cities, Milwaukee or Chicago. They can just travel to La Crescent and take in “big-named” acts like Tonic Sol-fa, Branson on the Road, the International Tenors, 1964-The Beatles Tribute Band and Second City TV.
Bringing big name entertainment acts to La Crescent is the brainchild of the La Crescent-Hokah Community Education Department.
According to Community Ed. Director Val Krage, she and some of her co-workers were discussing how the beautiful 600-seat theater at the local high school could be utilized more.
“We have such a beautiful venue here and we all felt that it should be used more,” Krage said. “So we decided to organize a concert series, featuring a variety of entertainment acts and see what happened.”
What happened was an over-whelming response for area residents. All four shows last winter were sellouts.
And so far this year, the support from area residents has been just as strong.
Krage reported the nationally-known vocal group Tonic Sol-fa attracted a standing-room-only crowd. And when Branson on the Road performed, they had to set up chairs on the stage.
“People were thrilled. They paid $20 for a ticket and got to be right up on the stage with the performers,” Krage said.
Once the concert series idea was sold to “the powers that be,” reality set in and Krage wondered if they might have bit off more than they could chew.
“It was terrifying before the first show. A week before the series was to begin, we weren’t close to selling the show out. But the final week, ticket sales were fantastic. We sold out and have had excellent response from then on,” Krage reported.
Last year’s concert series included four performances. This year, Krage’s group added a fifth date. Because they are using the La Crescent-Hokah School District’s theater, they must schedule the concerts around the numerous school activities. They have been able to schedule one performance per month.
Second City TV Saturday
This Saturday night, performers from the Second City TV (SCTV) comedy troupe from Chicago will be the main attraction.
SCTV has spanned numerous internationally-know comedians, including John and Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, Harold Ramis, Martin Short and Dave Thomas.
Many SCTV veterans went on to Saturday Night Live fame.
Krage said the SCTV touring group will include seven actors and actresses, who will conduct an improv workshop for high school students this week.
Saturday night’s performance will begin at 7 p.m.
Upcoming events include the 19674- Beatles Tribute Band, which was named the top Beatles Tribute Band in the United States by Rolling Stone Magazine. That concert will take place March 24 at 7 p.m.
The final event of the season will feature the Lowe Family, a musical family from Nashville that performs a wide variety of music.
To add to each event, local artists have been booked as opening acts.
“We’ve still got a few tickets left,” Krage said last Friday. For more information, contact the La Crescent-Hokah Community Ed Department at (507) 895-5051.