The 364-seat Memorial Opera House (104 Indiana Ave.) in downtown Valparaiso recently underwent a facelift with new paint, new tech upgrades and newly renovated lounge and box office areas.
The historic venue, which recently turned 124-years old, takes a lot of effort and funds to maintain. Fortunately, for the Region and for the venue, there is a dedicated and diligent team of caretakers and curators who collectively go above and beyond in their duties to keep this treasured building around for the next generations to enjoy.
One of those team members is the MOH's production director Scott "Stretch" Miller. Three years ago he created and produced an event called Rock The House to raise funds to help with some of the restoration needed at the opera house. Many area entertainers stepped up to partake in the event, which this weekend celebrates its fourth anniversary.
Rock The House IV takes place Saturday and features several hours of virtually non-stop entertainment by a large variety of family friendly acts. Other activities are also featured. The daytime portion of the event runs from 1 to 7 p.m. and is free to all, although donations to the cause are appreciated. "Once again, we have two stages of great entertainment, one outdoor and one indoor," said Miller. Performing outside under the tent will be: The Blues Project (1 p.m.), Vintage Postcard (2 p.m.), Justin Anderson (3 p.m.), Terry Klemma (4 p.m.) and 3 Peace (6 p.m.).
The evening's headline concert inside MOH will be by the Chicago-based rock duo Local H. The duo features Scott Lucas covering both the guitar and bass duties through a modified extra pick up in his guitar, as drummer Ryan Harding pounds out the beat. Opening the show for Local H will be Billy Ozzello. The cost for the 8 p.m. Local H (16 and older) concert is $25.
“I really wasn't sure what would happen that first year," said Miller. "I didn't know if this would fly or not, but I felt I had to do something to help keep this great venue going. I went on Facebook and posted that I needed some bands to donate their time for a fundraiser to help the opera house. The response I got was unbelievable! Every year since has gotten bigger and better and everyone donates their time and talents. Rock The House has really grown into a team effort that now involves a lot of people and businesses in the community. This year we've teamed up with the Porter County Museum next door which will host a variety of kids games and even a scavenger hunt."
There will also be tours of the Courthouse Square led by County Historian Kevin Pazour and also an all day antique car show.
This year's event has food available from favorite Valpo vendors like Yats, Franklin House, Designer Desserts and Valpo Velvet, and beverages from Misbeehavin' Meads and Ironwood Brewery. Practice your pitch because once again there is the Local Celebrity Dunk Tank, that will include among others MOH director Scot PJ McDonald.
There is full bar service inside the opera house. More: (219) 548-9137 or memorialoperahouse.com.
• The Highland Parks & Recreation Department finishes up the last 3 days of its Community Theatre presentation of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "State Fair," directed by Peggy Glennie and featuring a live 17-piece orchestra of Region musicians directed by Greg Jasek, with sound by John Huber of Spot Studio. Blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets are recommended. No alcohol permitted. Refreshments will be available for purchase on site. More: (219) 838-0114, facebook.com/HighlandParks or highlandparks.org .
• Highland's Wednesday Farmer's Market Concert Series returns to Main Square Park after a few weeks hiatus on Aug. 9 with live music by classic rock band The Influence (5 p.m.) and rock 'n' soul group The Class of '68 (7-9 p.m.). More: (219) 838-0114 or highlandparks.org.
• The Munster Parks & Recreation Department's Sunday Concert Series in Heritage Park (1005 Ridge Road) features a 6:30 to 8 p.m. performance of hit songs from the 1970s through today by The Saturday June Band. More: munster.org or (219) 836-7275.
• At 8:30 p.m. tonight, Hobart Park & Recreation Department's Summer Market on the Lake presents at the Revelli Band Shell (111 Old Ridge Road) in Festival Park the rockin sounds of Buckdaddy. More: cityofhobart.org. Tonight at Lakes of Four Seasons in Crown Point, Crossroads will play a mix of classic rock and county at 7 p.m. at The Clubhouse (1048 N. Lakeshore Drive). More: lofs.org/calendar.
• Portage offers two free concerts each week: At 1 p.m. Sunday in Founder's Park (6300 Central Ave.) is a variety of musical styles sure to impress by international touring artist and entertainer Keytarjeff & His 21st Century Solo Orchestra. Then at 6 p.m. Aug. 8 inside Oakwood Hall at Woodland Park (2100 Willowcreek Road), the gifted young ladies of Hobart High School's Wolffgang, will perform a variety of music from various decades from the 1940s and up. More on both events: (219-762-1675 or portagemusic.org).
• Northwest Indiana singer/songwriter Jef Sarver has been added to the performance roster at the Lake County Fair Saturday and will perform a mix of covers and his original songs from 3-4:15 p.m. Sarver just released his latest original music album "Scribbler on the Roof."
• The Chesterton-Porter Rotary's Babapaloosa 2017 Music Festival happens Sunday from 1 to 9 p.m. at Sunset Hill Farm County Park in Valparaiso with live music by All Good Things (1 p.m.), Jerica Paliga (2:30 p.m.), Township Train Wreck (4 p.m.), Visions of Santana (5:30 p.m.) and The Corey Dennison Blues Band (7 p.m.). Tickets: $25 for 13 and older/12 and younger free. Food, beer and wine served. Kid activities and more. Funds from the event support the efforts of both the Rotary Club and the See Change Foundation, an initiative founded by Chesterton native Eric Bouchard to help children in rural Nepal with education and other essentials. More: dunelandrotary.com/fundraisers/babapaloosa.
• Join this columnist for a "live from the midway" radio broadcast on opening day of the Lake County Fair on 89.1 Lakeshore Public Radio's now twice weekly program "Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges." The show will air from noon to 2 p.m. at Gate #2 of the Lake County Fair. Guests will include Jim ("George") Hondros from Meet The Beetles, Chef Nick Liapes of Chef Nick's Eatery and others. More information and to stream the broadcast live online, go to: lakeshorepublicradio.org