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World Music in Siouxland, National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD

24 May

 

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble which plays Javenese music is part of the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

On a recent visit to the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD I and others enjoyed a Javenese music presentation by a local gamelan ensemble that performed in the small space at the museum. I enjoy a variety of music in general although I lean more toward jazz, classical and some world music. So it was a delight to hear this local group perform and share their  passion and delight.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble plays Javenese music at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. Members include Deborah Check Reeves, Rebekah McLaughlin, Julie Besenbruch, Jing Williams, Risa Hanson, Caleb Hanson, Carter Hanson, Faythe Weber, Deanne Archer, Toben Archer , Tucker Lutter, ZeHui Ng, Solveig Korte and Tom Quinn. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble plays Javenese music at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. Members include Deborah Check Reeves, Rebekah McLaughlin, Julie Besenbruch, Jing Williams, Risa Hanson, Caleb Hanson, Carter Hanson, Faythe Weber, Deanne Archer, Toben Archer , Tucker Lutter, ZeHui Ng, Solveig Korte and Tom Quinn. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble plays Javenese music at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. Members include Deborah Check Reeves, Rebekah McLaughlin, Julie Besenbruch, Jing Williams, Risa Hanson, Caleb Hanson, Carter Hanson, Faythe Weber, Deanne Archer, Toben Archer , Tucker Lutter, ZeHui Ng, Solveig Korte and Tom Quinn. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Singer Andy Williams born in Siouxland, Wall Lake

16 May

 

I am always somewhat amazed but also delighted when I find a bit of nostalgia and history tidbits as I drive about Siouxland. One of those tidbits is the fact that the singer and entertainer Andy Williams was born in the small community of Wall Lake, roughly about 800 people. His birthplace and home for the first eight years of his life is now a restored show place in the community and maintained by the Wall Lake Historical Society.

An autographed photo of himself, Andy Williams, sits on an end table at the singer Andy Williams’ birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Members of the Wall Lake, IA, Historical Society Esther Bielema, seated, and Janice Determann, standing at the singer Andy Williams’ birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The day I visited the home I was greeted by a couple of enthusiastic members of the society and fans of Mr. Williams, Esther Bielema and Janice Determann. While the home is not filled from floor to ceiling with memorabilia, it is full of all sorts of historical items about the singer and his family and basically a shrine to a small town boy who made it big.

The birthplace of singer Andy Williams sits atop a hill overlooking downtown Wall Lake, Iowa, Friday, April 18, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Singer Andy Williams, left, with his parents Jay and Florence Williams appearing in one of his Christmas TV Specials on display at the singer’s birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various photographs of singer Andy Williams adorn the walls of his birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The downstairs bedroom where Wall Lake Historical Society member Esther Bielema and others believe that singer Andy Williams was born in 1934 at his birthplace home in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I can remember growing up that my parents watched the Andy Williams’ Christmas Specials on TV and while I don’t believe they had any of his records, the songs he sang are well known and include such hits as “Moon River”, “Abraham, Martin and John”, “Days of Wine and Roses”, “Dear Heart”, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Born Free”.

While there a woman from Des Moines stopped in and walked about the home in awe. For Bielema and Determann the joy of the grand opening when Williams and his wife attended along with other family must have been a thrill they still feel today. History comes alive in places like this mostly because of those who help visitors enjoy it. And one never knows where other historical facts may pop up, but it’s nice to know such gems are still around to find.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Introduction to the Mormon Trail near Siouxland, Council Bluffs

18 Apr

During a visit in southern Siouxland I stopped at the Kanesville Tabernacle in Council Bluffs. Being pressed for time I did not go inside to tour the historical site but learned later that is was where Brigham Young was “sustained” or acknowledged as the second president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Another historical mormon site in located in Omaha, NE which I did visit and gave me insight as what I might find at the tabernacle. I love history, even history I may not totally understand or even agree with.  As a fictional TV character once said, “It’s better to know than not know.”

And I believe that many people are looking for the path to Heaven and redemption through Jesus, it’s just that they are following different footpaths to get there. And whatever one’s proscribed faith, history helps inform us and then leaves us to determine what we should or not believe.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The historical story of the Mormon trek from Nauvoo, IL to Slat Lake City, UT is partially told at the Kanesville Tabernacle located in Council Bluffs, Iowa Monday March 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The historical story of the Mormon trek from Nauvoo, IL to Slat Lake City, UT is partially told at the Kanesville Tabernacle located in Council Bluffs, Iowa Monday March 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The historical story of the Mormon trek from Nauvoo, IL to Slat Lake City, UT is partially told at the Kanesville Tabernacle located in Council Bluffs, Iowa Monday March 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Contrasting Seasons in Siouxland, Morningside College

7 Feb

A number of Siouxland colleges have outdoor performing areas that are utilized in more accommodating months of the year, basically when it is warmer. Morningside College is no exception and hosts free performances over the summer. And so I find it interesting to contrast the recent snow storm and a couple of performances that occurred last summer. Time and place, it always seems to matter.

And it makes looking forward to those warmer months a cheerful thought as the temperatures dip again to below freezing and me reaching for another cup of coffee.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

An outdoor performing arts theatre looks very different during a blizzard on the campus of Morningside College which resulted in 11 plus inches of snow in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A nice crowd turned out for the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Benches at an outdoor performing arts theatre on the campus of Morningside College look different without patrons attending a show during a blizzard that resulted in 11 plus inches of snow in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Attendees of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band keep the late afternoon sun off with a “patriotic” umbrellas at a 4th of July celebration concert at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A shortened performance of the popular Cats production over the weekend at Morningside College at the Betty Ling Tsang fine art series in the Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter’s Magic and Art in Siouxland, Sioux City

5 Feb

During the last snow storm Sioux City and the Siouxland region had I was fascinated with some of the scenes I saw just blocks from my house. Prior to the snow there had been freezing rain and together the two created a sort of “live” pencil art exhibition turning the campus of Morningside College into a living exhibit. Except for a few other braves souls I was one of a few to witness this and enjoyed the scenes as I walked about seeing nature creating its own art under less than pleasant “human” condition.s

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Snow encrusted trees look like pencil drawings on the campus of Morningside College during a blizzard that resulted in 11 plus inches of snow in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Snow encrusted branches of a tree on the campus of Morningside College during a blizzard that resulted in 11 plus inches of snow in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Snow encrusted trees on the campus of Morningside College during a blizzard that resulted in 11 plus inches of snow in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A snow encrusted pavilion on the campus of Morningside College during a blizzard that resulted in 11 plus inches of snow in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Singing Christmas Carols in Siouxland, Nora SD

8 Dec

Around Thanksgiving I attended a Christmas carol sing-a-long in a small community in South Dakota in Siouxland. In Nora, SD music enthusiast and Christmas lover Mike Pederson invites people to come to a former general store and share in the spirit of Christmas.

Mike performs on a pipe organ in the store which he has been doing for 28 years, and is accompanied by a violinist and the voices of people who travel near and far to join in song and celebration of Christmas. The last sing-a-longs will be occurring soon and a real treat, it’s worth a drive.

Mike Pederson plays a pipe organ that sits in the store during the Christmas sing-a-long at Nora, SD Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The Nora General Store in Nora, SD, sits along a state highway and is listed on the National Register of Historic, which occurred in 2007. A Christmas sing-a-long has taken place for 28 years at the Nora store, Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

It is fun to meet people and sing with them, even if your voice sounds better in your head than in real life, like my own. Christmas is a season for rejoicing and sharing and the comradery with happy faces and voices is amazing. Mike would love to have you stop by and join in the fun. However, get there very early, otherwise you might find yourself listening in through the open front doors on a pleasant day, and through the doors on a day with temps in the teens and snow on the ground.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

With the seating and standing room full inside the store, others stand around the front door for the Christmas sing-a-long to sing carols at Nora, SD Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Celebrating Independence Day in Siouxland, Sioux City

24 Jul

During the July 4 holiday I attended a parade in southern Siouxland and enjoyed festivities and band music there, although that group played music from a couple centuries ago. The evening of July 4 I attended a concert at a local college, Morningside College and listened to the U.S. Air force Heartland of America band perform. Patriotic songs, big band, swing and some pop numbers were all performed with aplomb. This group could swing and belt out some tunes.

It was a fun evening and many local residents took advantage of a pleasant evening without searing heat to come out and hear the band play.

Attendees of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band keep the late afternoon sun off with a “patriotic” umbrellas at a 4th of July celebration concert at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A large crowd enjoys the sounds of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band as it plays a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The men and women who serve in the various armed services perform a variety of services. Some of those are just connecting directly with the public and the Heartland of America Band, based at Offutt Air Base in Omaha, NE does a great job. Following are some songs the group performed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Members of the audience stand for the National Anthem prior to the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band guitar player MSgt Jerry Birkenmeier watches SSgt Daniel Thrower as he solos in the spotlight during a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band brass members TSgt Carl Eitzen, SSgt Daniel Thrower and MSgt Ben Kadow play for a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A nice crowd turned out for the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fires works sound off over Morningside College at the conclusion of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band’s concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band play a finale of their concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. Members of the performing band include TSgt Becky Packard, Tsgt Carl Eitzen, SSgt Daniel Thrower, MSgt Alex Serwatoski, MSgt Ben Kadow, SSgt Ed Zarsky, A1C Sierra Bailey, TSgt Michael Schmaus, MSgt Jerry Birkernmeier and TSgt Marshall Gentry. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

TSgt Becky Packard and A1C Sierra Bailey share a show tune during the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band members SSgt Ed Zaryky, YSgt Carl Eitzen, SSgt Daniel Thrower, MSgt Ben Kadow and TSgt Michael Schmaus during the concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An attendee applauds at the end of a song as the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band performs a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

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