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Music in Van Wert
By: Paul Hoverman
I know there are many of you out there who are big Gospel quartet fans. We have listened to your requests and now are proud to present one of the finest and certainly the most popular of all quartets of today! Ernie Haase & Signature Sound is coming to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center this Sunday night at 7:00 p.m.
Since opening our doors, I can’t tell you how many have asked if we would ever be able to get this group to Van Wert. I know they have been in the region over the years, but never have they played The Niswonger. This Sunday, the drought will end and you can start your Holy Week with a big dose of Southern Gospel music.
If you are a fan of Southern Gospel music, there isn’t much I can tell you about Ernie Haase and this vocal group he calls Signature Sound that you don’t already know. But, in short, Ernie Haase got his start and recognition with the famous and legendary Cathedrals- the epitome of Gospel Quartets for years. What I had actually forgotten is that the Cathedral Quartet got its start in Akron, Ohio with Rex Humbard and the Cathedral of Tomorrow. With the retirement and eventual passing of bass singer George Younce and Glen Payne, the Cathedral Quartet run was over. A good run it was though, from 1964-99.
Young tenor, Ernie Haase, who married Younce’s daughter, went on his own to have a solo career for a few years before eventually starting Signature Sound in 2003. The rest is history…. Gospel Quartet history. The new youthful Haase surrounded himself with other outstanding young singers and put a renewed energy into today’s Gospel music.
I invite you to come to the Niswonger this Sunday night and experience the music, the energy, the charisma, and the Gospel as Signature Sound rolls into Van Wert for this Palm Sunday night concert. Some tickets are still available, but are going fast.
And speaking of Southern Gospel music, the Trinity sponsored Southern Gospel Expo is just around the corner April 4-7. I know many of you enjoy that music and ministry-filled weekend. Our Signature Sound concert this Sunday night will get you all warmed up for this annual event.
Apparently, the Niswonger people love Vicki Lawrence. Her evening performance at 7:30 p.m. on April 5 sold out months ago and the 2:00 p.m. matinee performance we recently added is selling like hotcakes too! If you got shut out of the evening show, I would encourage you to catch this matinee featuring one of the funniest women of TV over the past 30 years. You will certainly enjoy reliving some of those hilarious clips from the Carol Burnett Show and who knows, maybe… just maybe, Mama will show up in the house!
One final reminder to non-profit organizations in the county to submit your name for serving food in Fountain Park at one of the Summer Series concerts. The summer line-up will be announced soon. Watch the news. It’s coming soon!
Music In Van Wert
This Thursday, March 14, the Speaker Committee of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center presents a program I think you will find very interesting. Ceci Wiselogel is an authoritative speaker and admirer of Norman Rockwell’s work. I am sure (or at least I hope), nearly all of you are familiar with Norman Rockwell’s paintings. Born in 1894 and passing away in 1978, this American painter and illustrator brought American small town life to all of America primarily through his works for the Saturday Evening Post and later LOOK magazine. I guess this may date some of us, but it is certainly something I think every American can connect with; most certainly those of us in the heartlands of America.
Thursday’s presentation by Ceci Wiselogel will re-connect us with a much simpler America; perhaps one you remembered as a child. Do you remember the days when we didn’t all gather around a TV, or maybe the days when we all DID gather around the TV? Remember when mom had to warm up things on the stove? No microwaves! Remember how hot the summers were and we didn’t have air conditioners? Do you remember sitting under a tree and eating an apple….. from the tree?
Life was sure much simpler then. Better? You can be the judge of that. But, whatever your perspective is, that’s the way life used to be and I think it is good to remember and cherish some of those good memories. There are some great stories behind Norman Rockwell’s pieces. If you come to the NPAC on Thursday, you will experience some of these and travel back in times to that simpler America.
We have two programs scheduled for Thursday; one at 1:30 in the afternoon and the other in the evening at 7:30 p.m. It will not be a packed house, but you will be able to get up close and intimate with the presenter and the works. We hope you will leave with a sense of education and inspiration from this program. And $5 gets you any seat in the house. That’s pretty inexpensive education and inspiration.
The 1:30 p.m. presentation will include about 500 students, but the public is also invited. The evening presentation will be primarily adults, but children are certainly invited too. I am glad we can offer this program for students because I feel, in this age of I Phones, computers, and a myriad of technological devices; our youth has lost perspective of our past. Through Norman Rockwell paintings and illustrations, they can re-connect to the simpler life many of us remember.
Okay, many of you read my column last week and wondered about some of the facts and figures I teased you with concerning Niswonger audiences. Of the 88 counties in Ohio, we have seen patrons from 24. In our neighboring state of Indiana, we have seen 12 counties represented with Allen County (Fort Wayne area) bringing the most. As you would expect, Van Wert County represents the largest number of patrons, followed by Allen (OH), Mercer, Auglaize, Putnam and Paulding. In the city of Van Wert, 1279 people have purchased tickets while Delphos, Convoy, and Ohio City are well represented.
I guess what one would surmise is that the local region supports the Niswonger activities quite well, but there is potential to reach even more. We are also able to see that there is potential in outer areas too. Before the Niswonger opened for business in the arts entertainment industry, these 5,501 households were going elsewhere to spend their entertainment dollars. They now come to Van Wert; and many of them on a regular basis.
We thank each and every one of our patrons for their trust in us serving a top quality entertainment product. We never take anyone for granted and will continue doing everything we can to earn this trust. We have six more outstanding concerts and shows remaining this season and will welcome even more new audience members to the NPAC. And soon, a new season will be released with some outstanding new talent I know you’re going to love. Stay tuned…. And thanks!
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To provide a premier venue for a wide variety of performing arts, concerts, lectures, meetings, and special events which will inspire, educate, and entertain residents of and visitors to Van Wert County, and to provide an economic catalyst by increasing cultural tourism, creating new jobs, and generating business for the region.
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