- Outkast reunite, headline Coachella festival
- Nudist Colonies local and from afar looking for younger skin and new members
- OFFBEAT: Caesars Entertainment, both at Horseshoe and Sin City, paying off
- OFFBEAT: Gary physician Dr. Rachel Ross now hosting on TV's 'The Doctors'
- Mr. Excitement: Chester Gregory pays tribute to Jackie Wilson in Gary
RSSLocal Scene By Tom Lounges
Lounges looks at the latest projects of local musicians and bands and lets people know about upcoming musical events.
After having playing to a standing room only audience and having to turn away people last month during its regional debut performance at The Aquatorium in Gary, “The Signal – A Rhapsody” has been scheduled for a second performance on April 27 at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts (540 S. Lake Street) in Gary. Tickets: $20 & $25 / Showtime: 4pm.
This original 90-minute production written and produced by lifelong region resident Henry Farag is an historical tribute to the early doo-wop street sounds of Gary, Indiana. It traces the original urban music of Gary from the 1950s through the 1970s with The Jackson Five. Featured in its cast, along with contemporary regional performers are original members of hit-making vocal groups The Spaniels (“Goodnight Sweetheart”), Stormy Weather (“Street Corner Serenade”) and Willie Rogers & The Soul Stirrers (“Chain Gang”).
Hall of Fame inductee Willie Rogers (who with The Soul Stirrers performed and recorded with late R&B icon Sam Cooke) will guest along with The Spaniels’ Billy Shelton and Stormy Weather’s Henry Farag on the April 22 live 6-7pm broadcast of “The Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” radio program on 89.1-FM/Lakeshore Public Radio. The three R&B icons will perform live on air and share stories about their careers. Stream the program live online at: www.lakeshorepublicmedia.org/radio.
The second annual “Stars Over Valpo” all ages community concert to raise operating funds for low-power public radio station WVLP-98.3 in Valparaiso takes place at 6pm this Sunday (4/13) in Duesenberg Recital Hall at the Valparaiso Center for the Performing Arts.
“Stars Over Valpo came about as a skull session between myself and station founder Paul Schreiner as to how we would bring in more revenue, since our operating costs had increased while the economy had taken a toll on our ability to raise money through such normal means as donations, memberships, grants and other accounts,” explained WVLP’s Executive Director Gregg Kovach.
“Paul came up with the idea then shared it with others and eventually other station activists refined the idea into what it is today – a musical revue comprised of a diverse collection of local talent,” continued Kovach. “The event last year was an enormous success which surpassed our expectations. We think this year’s event will be even better than the last one.”
For their first concert in Northwest Indiana, Chicago rockers The Westies will make a “soft debut” by performing in an acoustic format at 7:30pm this Sunday (4/6) at Chicago Street Theatre (154 W. Chicago Street) in Valparaiso. Tickets: $25 with VIP Couch seats $50.
The idea to form The Westies came about after a casual Nashville recording session by well known Chicago singer/ songwriter Michael McDermott with some friends and producer/session player Lex Price (K.D. Lang, Mindy Smith). McDermott so enjoyed the “band” format of the sessions, The Westies were formed to bring those recorded songs to the concert stage.
The band introduced themselves and their Americana-flavored sound to Chicago hometown audiences via back to back sold out shows at City Winery, an appearance at American Music Festival at FitzGerald’s and a few other local gigs. The reaction was so strong McDermott decided to make it more than a side project.
As “father” to some amazing rescue animals over the years, I have come to be passionate about the important work being done by my fellow animal lovers at local shelters and rescue groups. I spend a lot of personal time volunteering and campaigning on behalf of the region’s homeless and abused animals.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am donating some celebrity items from my personal memorabilia collection for the event’s silent auction and will be volunteering as stage emcee for this Saturday’s “Pet Rock” event.
The rustic big barn at County Line Orchard (200 S. County Line Road) in Hobart is the site for “Pet Rock,” the Humane Society of Northwest Indiana’s family-friendly fundraiser featuring live performances by three regional music groups of various styles and a bounty of celebrity-signed items up for auction.
The members of the country music group Hazzard County have circled the wagons and are coming to the aid of a longtime fan and friend Dan Berrisford by putting together a multi-band event on March 29 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles (13140 Lakeshore Drive) in Cedar Lake. The doors open at 4 p.m. with Hazzard County scheduled to kick off the live entertainment at 5 p.m., followed by full sets from two other area country bands, Falls Creek and Bridgewater.
Lifelong region native Dan Berrisford has suffered five heart attacks and three open heart surgeries coupled with long hospital stays and multiple tests all with no insurance, so the bands have rallied together to produce this event to raise funds to help Berrisford and his wife Ellen battle the mountain of medical bills and day to day living expenses
Along with the bands, a pork chop dinner is planned from 4-7:30 p.m. along with raffles and a silent auction. A donation of $10 is requested and the event is open to all ages. More information is found on the Facebook.com event page: Benefit for Dan and Ellen Berrisford.
Munster native S. Joel Norman celebrated the release of “Traveling Light,” last week with a headline performance at The Metro in Chicago and is thrilled that radio is already picking up on the title track/single.
Norman’s sophomore release is the follow up to his 2011 debut, “Take It In Stride,” which made this columnist’s “Top 10” list for that year in The Times. It is available in multiple formats – digital, CD and as a limited edition vinyl LP. It can be ordered at all online music retail sites and at: www.sjoelnorman.com
While “Take It In Stride” was more laid back “Traveling Light” shows tremendous growth for Norman, who has lived in downtown Chicago for the last few years. There are plenty of horns, some tremendous gospel group backing vocals and other adventurous changes.
The third annual “Mike Ratley Memorial Rock & Roll Benefit Concert” named for longtime Highland resident and regional musician Mike Ratley happens at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1400 South Broad Street, Griffith, IN on Saturday (March 8) from 6 pm to midnight. All ages are welcome.
Mike Ratley played drums in a variety of Northwest Indiana club bands over the years. He was a member of The Alley Cats when he died at age 52 in November of 2011 of complications due to diabetes. Friends remember him as a devoted family man, an accomplished musician and avid fisherman.
“His death made us all realize how fleeting life can be and how much our friends enrich our lives on a daily basis,” explained his wife Rita Ratley in a written statement. “In an effort to keep Mike’s spirit alive, we decided to sponsor a fund raiser in his honor to raise money for diabetes related charities that has now become an annual event. As music was a lifelong passion of Mike’s, we knew the event would feature music provided by friends and acquaintances, giving us all a positive occasion to remember our fallen colleague and not wait until the ‘next funeral’ to meet again.”
In recent years, Derek St. Holmes had been a key component of the “Voices of Rock” national tour that united famous singers behind famous radio hits; and rightfully so, since it was St. Holmes’ indelible voice that powered Ted Nugent’s biggest hits.
That legendary voice will be unleashed on Sunday at Chicago Street Theatre as promoter Paul Braun pulls a real rabbit out of the hat with this latest installment of his “One Night Jam” concert series.
“I've always had the notion of doing a concert with Derek in the back of my mind, but never thought it would work since we're not set up for an electric rock band, certainly not one like Derek's,” said Braun. “As it turns out, Derek enjoys the challenge of playing his hits acoustically. He’d been told about our unplugged series and was willing to work with me to make something happen. Coincidentally, he was free on March 2, so the show I thought would never happen is actually happening.”
The South Side’s most eclectic music club -- FitzGerald’s at 6615 W. Roosevelt in
Berwyn -- continues to celebrate its 33rd anniversary by bringing two favorite artists back for consecutive nights of great music hot enough to melt away all memories of recent snow storms and frigid weather.
The Marcia Ball Band will fire up the venue’s “20th Annual Jambalaya Cook-Off” first on March 3. Next up is C. J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band to give Fat Tuesday on March 4 a true Louisiana flavor.
Northwest Indiana author and songwriter Ken Churilla is among the Chicagoland celebrities dancing their way closer to a cancer cure next month as Arthur Murray Presents “The Dancing with Chicago Celebrities - Pink Carpet Premiere” ninth annual charity ball to fight against breast cancer. The all-star 7pm event happens March 7 at Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Drive).
Net proceeds benefit the Northwestern Memorial Foundation, directed to an innovative research effort focused on a breast cancer vaccine trial, and Imerman Angels, a non-profit group helping provide 1-on-1 support among cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.
Among those stepping out on the ballroom floor is Highland, Indiana native/resident Ken Churilla, a long time local/national music journalist this columnist once mentored, who is also a songwriter by night and the Director of Marketing for Balmoral Park by day.
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