SPEARFISH, SD – A new music collaboration is taking place between the Lakota Music Project and the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (SDSO). The Dakota Wind Quintet of the SDSO will perform the resulting student classic compositions at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 10, at The Matthews Opera House in Spearfish, SD. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for season subscribers, and $5 for youth and BHSU students. Tickets are available at The Matthews’ art gallery at 612 N. Main St. during business hours, Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online anytime at www.matthewsopera.com.
June 20, 2017
Washington, D.C. – Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced that Tony Bennett is the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Tony Bennett is not just an artist for the ages, but an artist for all ages. His interpretations and re-interpretations have introduced new generations to the Great American Songbook. He is one of a handful of artists to have new albums charting in seven consecutive decades, beginning in the 1950s through the 2010s. Bennett celebrated his 90th birthday on Aug. 3, and the milestone was highlighted with the broadcast of a television special, the release of a new CD and book and the lighting of the Empire State Building honoring his musical legacy.
“Tony Bennett is one of the most accomplished and beloved artists of our time,” Hayden said. “His staying power is a testament to the enduring appeal of the Great American Songbook the Gershwins helped write, and his ability to collaborate with new generations of music icons has been a gift to music lovers of all ages. I am beyond thrilled that he will join us at the Library of Congress later this year to receive this honor.”
Bennett will receive the prize in Washington, D.C., in November. The Gershwin Prize honors a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson and Smokey Robinson.
“When I was still using the stage name ‘Joe Bari’ I made a demo record that was a two-sided 78 disc, and one of the sides I recorded was ‘Fascinating Rhythm,’ which was written by George and Ira Gershwin,” Bennett said. “I am very proud that one of the earliest records I ever made was a song written by the Gershwins, as their songwriting mastery was so exceptional. To be receiving an award that was named in their honor is one of the greatest thrills of my career, and I am deeply appreciative to the Library of Congress to be named this year’s recipient.”
No one in American popular music has recorded for so long and at such a high level of excellence as Tony Bennett. In the last 10 years alone, he has sold 10 million records. Bennett has received 19 Grammy Awards, including a 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award and a 1995 Grammy for Album of the Year for his “MTV Unplugged,” which introduced him to a whole new generation. Later, his 2006 “Duets: An American Classic” was released, featuring performances with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bono and others, winning three Grammy Awards and going on to be one of the best-selling CDs of the year and of Bennett’s career. The follow-up, the 2011 “Duets II,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts, making Bennett the oldest artist—at the age of 85—to achieve this in the history of recorded music. He broke this record three years later with his 2014 collaboration with Lady Gaga, “Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek,” which also debuted at No. 1 when he was 88.
His initial successes came via a string of Columbia singles in the early 1950s, including such chart-toppers as “Because of You,” “Rags to Riches” and a remake of Hank Williams’ “Cold, Cold Heart.” He has had 24 songs in the Top 40, including “I Wanna Be Around,” “The Good Life,” “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)” and his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” which garnered two Grammy Awards.
Bennett was born in 1926 in Queens. His father died when he was only 10 years old and his mother, Anna, raised Tony and his older brother and sister, John and Mary. Bennett attended the High School of Industrial Arts in Manhattan, where he nurtured his two passions, singing and painting. From the radio, he developed a love of music listening to Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong and James Durante.
Bennett has been on the front lines of history. He is a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and participated in the liberation of a concentration camp. He marched with Martin Luther King in Selma to support civil rights. He has performed for 11 U.S. presidents. The United Nations has named him a Citizen of the World as one of its foremost ambassadors.
He has been a Kennedy Center honoree (2005) and an NEA Jazz Master (2006) and received Billboard magazine’s Century Award (2006).
He also continues to paint every day, even as he tours internationally. His work has been exhibited in galleries around the world, and the United Nations has commissioned him for two paintings, including one for its 50th anniversary.
Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto, a former public high school teacher, founded Exploring the Arts (ETA) to strengthen the role of the arts in public high school education. ETA’s first endeavor was the establishment of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA), a public high school founded in 2001 by Tony and Susan in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. ETA currently supports 33 partner schools in New York and Los Angeles.
For more information on Tony Bennett, visit tonybennett.com.
About the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors living musical artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations.
In making the selection for the prize, the Librarian of Congress consulted leading members of the music and entertainment communities, as well as curators from the Library’s Music Division, American Folklife Center and Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.
The Gershwin name is used in connection with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song courtesy of the families of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. GERSHWIN® is a registered trademark of Gershwin Enterprises.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
KEYSTONE, SD – Celebrate President’s Day at Mount Rushmore National Memorial and enjoy the sounds of Offutt Brass. The brass ensemble of the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band will be performing in the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center Theater from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm on February 20, 2017.
Stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, the band is comprised of two trumpets, a French horn, trombone, tuba, and percussion. They perform a wide variety of music from classical to jazz and popular music. According to the band, “These talented Airman musicians proudly represent the more than 313,000 Air Force professionals around the world who relentlessly protect and defend the freedoms we cherish.”
There is no fee for the concert, however the $10 parking fee will be in effect. Active duty military personnel will park for free and parking for seniors is half price. Keep the parking receipt; it is valid for one year of parking at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
For additional information about the site please visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial’s official website at http://www.nps.gov/moru or call (605) 574-2523.
The dates, times and locations for performances includes February:
- 18, 7:30 p.m. – Community Center Theatre, Belle Fourche
- 19, 4 p.m. – Community Center Theater, Sturgis
- 20, Noon – Mount Rushmore National Memorial amphitheater
- 20, 7:30 p.m. – Mueller Civic Center, Hot Springs
- 21, 7 p.m. – Douglas High School Auditorium, Box Elder
- 22, 7 p.m. – Performing Arts Center Historic Theater, Rapid City
- 23, 7:30 p.m. – Meier Recital Hall, Black Hills State University, Spearfish
Band officials noted that the performances are made possible through the support provided by local area partners including various local newspapers, city facilities and area arts councils. A short musical program will also be performed at Mount Rushmore on Presidents Day. In addition, Offutt Brass will perform master classes for music students at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and Black Hills State University.
By Peter M. Hopsicker and Mark Dyreson
February 4, 2017
In just 50 years, the Super Bowl has become one of the biggest “shared experiences” in American culture, up there with attending religious services, voting in presidential elections and playing Pokémon Go.
But curiously, many of the tens of millions who tune in don’t actually want to watch football.
Perhaps it’s because the game itself has never been all that exciting, with the outcome rarely a close call. As a response, it seems the NFL has created a thriving, celebratory atmosphere around the game.
So how did a battle of gridiron gladiators become second fiddle to a flashy spectacle of singers, fireworks and advertisements?
The Super (boring) Bowl
The Super Bowl is generally super boring – at least, in terms of the typically lopsided score. The game is so boring that a rehash of all 50 of the past Super Bowls finds that the average margin of victory is more than 14 points. Only 18 of the games have been decided by seven points or fewer, while only seven have been settled by a field goal or less.
The first 20 Super Bowls produced only five close games, and criticisms of the lack of parity in the other 15 drowned out the excitement of the handful of close contests. The average margin of victory for Super Bowls I to XX was over two touchdowns. Sports columnists in the 1970s and 1980s dismissed Super Bowls as “hopelessly” and “unbearably dull,” “sleep-inducing” and “lacking high drama.” Even former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle admitted that the day was “probably more of an event than simply a game.”
Still, by the 1980s, the Super Bowl had become a de facto American holiday. But much of the public remained indifferent about the game itself. For example, prior to Super Bowl XXI, one poll indicated that 40 percent of viewers didn’t even care who won.
The show must go on
Because of its inability to consistently guarantee a reasonably competitive championship game, the NFL decided to ramp up the production of a spectacle, with expensive – sometimes controversial – halftime shows and pregame showcases distracting from the football.
Super Bowl halftime performances started out as relatively simple affairs featuring university marching bands and faded pop stars. But as early as Super Bowl XI in 1977 – when the league contracted with the Walt Disney Company to produce a halftime show titled “It’s a Small World” – the NFL began to craft a new production template.
The 1993 halftime show for Super Bowl XXVII featured pop icon Michael Jackson, the first in a long list of high-energy halftime productions built around top musical artists. Megastars of all genres suddenly began to covet a Super Bowl gig. The headliners of these shows soon took their own steps to redirect the focus of millions of television viewers away from football and onto themselves, whether it was Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction during Super Bowl XXXVIII or Beyoncé’s Super Bowl 50 political statement. This year, the NFL will shell out US$10 million to produce Lady Gaga’s halftime show.
The NFL’s schemes for pumping up off-field excitement rather than relying on the drama (or, more frequently, the lack of drama) on the field soon moved to other aspects of the event. The national anthem soon became its own highly produced and coveted gig, joining pregame fireworks and military flyovers.
Whitney Houston’s booming rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for Super Bowl XXV, performed weeks after the U.S. entered the Gulf War, set a new standard.
Not everyone could live up to Houston’s example. At Super Bowl XLV, Christina Aguilera wilted in the spotlight when she forgot the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” stealing some of the post game commentary of what turned out to be one of the closer games, a 31-to-25 victory by the Green Bay Packers over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A commercialized holiday just like the rest?
The NFL’s strategic marriage to television has also diverted attention away from the game on the field. In 1967, advertising rates for a 30-second commercial spot cost a modest $42,500.
In the years since, they’ve escalated to become the most expensive advertising time in the history of television. After 1985, in response to the huge impact of Apple’s legendary “1984” commercial, advertising rates soared to over $500,000 for a 30-second spot. This trend sparked the emergence of the “Ad Bowl,” an unofficial but hyper-intense marketing competition to produce the most creative and memorable television commercial targeting the Super Bowl’s enormous captive audience, which hit 111.9 million viewers last year. Within a decade of the debut of “1984,” advertising rates doubled to $1 million for a 30-second spot. For Super Bowl 50 in 2016, the price reached $5 million. The Ad Bowl has further eroded the focus on football, drawing in viewers who claim that they watch the game more for the commercials.
In recent years, the Super Bowl has actually become much more competitive: Seven points or fewer have decided six of the last 10 games.
Yet better games haven’t produced an audience primarily interested in good football. A 2016 Huffington Post poll found that millennials were less likely to be interested in “the game itself” than in the commercials and the halftime show. The same poll showed that the older you are, the more important football is in your Super Bowl celebration.
Interestingly, a similar trend of commercialization seems to now color most holidays. Independence Day, Labor Day and Memorial Day celebrations have become less about honoring the men and women who serve our country and more about backyard barbecues. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents Day have become more about mattress sales and three-day weekends than recognizing those individuals’ great deeds. The same flurry of commercialism has dampened the religious foundations of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Even with the recent spate of close contests, it’s unlikely we’ll see a major revamping of Super Bowl productions to focus more explicitly on football. To those, however, who hunger for the halcyon days of old when Super Bowl Sunday was about the contest on the gridiron – and not the hoopla at halftime or the barrage of ads – we’d point out that a quality football game has almost never been the core component of this distinctly American holiday.
Peter M. Hopsicker, Associate Professor of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University and Mark Dyreson, Professor of Kinesiology, Affiliate Professor of History, Director of Research and Educational Programs for the Penn State Center for the Study of Sport in Society, Pennsylvania State University
This article was originally published on The Conversation.
January 26, 2017
HURON, S.D.– The South Dakota State Fair, a division of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, announces Lynyrd Skynyrd will perform at the grandstand on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.
Known for their fiery slice of Southern style guitar rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd has been playing some of rock & roll’s biggest hits for over 40 years. With a catalog of over 60 albums, sales beyond 30 million worldwide and their beloved classic American rock anthem “Sweet Home Alabama” having over two million downloaded ringtones, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd remains a cultural icon that appeals to all generations.
Other instantly memorable Lynyrd Skynyrd songs include “Freebird,” “Simple Man,” “What’s Your Name,” “Saturday Night Special” and “Tuesday’s Gone.”
SD State Fairgrounds manager Peggy Besch said, “We have been trying to get Lynyrd Skynyrd to the fair for a few years now so when they confirmed, we were extremely happy. They have so many recognizable hits and are an incredible rock and roll group. We look forward to hosting them. Come Saturday night at the SD State Fair, we look forward to seeing a grandstand packed full of people.”
A ticket presale will begin June 19 for backrest holders followed by Friends of the Fair ticket sales on June 22. General public ticket sales will begin June 26.
The 2017 South Dakota State Fair will run from Thursday, Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 4. Preview night will be Wednesday, Aug. 30. This year’s theme is “Seriously Twisted Fun.” For more information on State Fair events, contact the Fair office at 800-529-0900, visit http://www.sdstatefair.com or find them on Facebook or Twitter.
Beat the winter blues and Escape to the Park! Custer State Park will be hosting the Black Hills Ukulele Orchestra, Saturday, January 21 from 1:00-2:00pm at the Visitor Center located at the intersection of Hwy 16A and Wildlife Loop Road. The orchestra will play a selection of popular music and end the program with an open invitation to audience members to try their hand at the ukulele. The Black Hills Ukulele Orchestra is a program of the non-profit Custer Area Arts Council.
Don’t forget our winter hikes and trail challenge; Escape to the Park snowshoe hikes take place Saturday, January 14, February 11, and Saturday, March 11. Also note Saturday, February 18 and Saturday, March 18 on your calendar and watch for more programming information.
A park entrance license is required to enter the park and can be purchased at the Park Office from 8:00am to 4:30pm during the week, or at the Visitor Center open from 9:00am to 4:00pm.
For more information check the Custer State Park Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CusterStatePark/ or contact the Park Office at (605) 255-4515.
The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry with The HillBenders at Matthews Opera House
The Who’s Tommy: A Blugrass Opry presents a classic rock experience from iconic British rock band The Who through the strings and vocals of progressive bluegrass band, The HillBenders. The show happens on Saturday, January 21st at Matthews Opera House & Center for the Arts in Spearfish, SD.
Rolling Stone Magazine named The HillBenders, “one of the 50 Best Things We Saw at SXSW 2015.” And of the ‘rock opry,’ “You haven’t heard ‘Acid Queen’ until you’ve seen it sung by a bearded man with a mandolin.”
45 years after its original release, this classic of classic rock is now fully realized as a full length bluegrass tribute featuring Springfield, Missouri’s The HillBenders. Conceived and produced by SXSW co-founder and longtime musician/producer Louis Jay Meyers, this Bluegrass Opry brings a new perspective to Tommy while paying total respect to its creators.
The HillBenders’ ‘Tommy’ has been endorsed by original Tommy creators Roger Daltrey & Pete Townshend of The Who. Townshend invited them to a Who performance of Tommy at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena and met with the band after the show, while Daltrey asked the band to perform ‘Tommy’ in its entirety at his Teen Cancer America Presents North Carolina Cares Charity Event in Raleigh, NC.
The 1969 classic was originally composed by guitarist Townshend as a rock opera that tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy, including his experiences with life and the relationship with his family. The original album has sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic and significant value”.
Meyers had been looking for the right band to pull off this high wire bluegrass approach for several decades and The HillBenders are the right band. With a perfect mix of virtuoso musicianship and rock star vocals, The HillBenders bring Pete Townshend’s original vision to life in a new and exciting way.
The HillBenders are one of the few bluegrass groups that recognize their ability to bridge the gap between the common music consumer and the bluegrass genre, selecting material that defies any hillbilly stigmas. With their widely varied influences, they are trying to bring to bluegrass songs that unify. “We wanted to pair bluegrass with the other music we grew up with —rock and roll!” says HillBender Nolan Lawrence.
The HillBenders’ studio album of ‘Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry’ debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Chart. The band has just returned from a UK tour where they presented the show to its home audience at some of the most prestigious music festivals and venues in Europe.
The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry starts at 7:30 pm on Saturday, January 21st. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for adult subscribers, and $10 for youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. Tickets are available at The Matthews Art Gallery during business hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online anytime at matthewsopera.com Matthews Opera House is located at 612 Main St. in Spearfish. For more information about The HillBenders, visit www.hillbenders.com and www.whograss.com
SPEARFISH, SD – The Matthews hosts Newfoundland band, The Ennis Sisters, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. This is the third event in the 2016-17 Subscription Series season at the opera house. Individual tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. Buy tickets at The Matthews’ art gallery during business hours, Mon.-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Tickets are available online anytime at www.matthewsopera.com
“This talented and engaging trio is the perfect antidote to a cold, dark January evening. They bring style and substance to their genre of music – and step-dancing is an added plus! Come and enjoy Irish Newfoundland music at its best,” remarks Sian Young, executive director of The Matthews.
Comprised of Maureen, Teresa, and Karen Ennis, The Ennis Sisters are world-renowned
performers whose inspirational sibling harmonies, humorous recitations, Irish step dancing, and engaging stage rapport lift spirits and warm hearts.
The Ennis Sisters were born and raised on Irish Newfoundland tunes. Their father is a traditional button accordion player, and mother grew up on the southern shore of the Avalon, surrounded by music. Throughout the Ennis Sisters’ childhood, if their parents weren’t making music, it was coming through the radio – particularly the Irish Newfoundland radio shows, which aired on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
“There was just no escaping the Irish Newfoundland, Traditional music growing up,” says Karen. “When we first began singing for an audience, these were the songs we sang. It’s what came easiest and most natural, and still does.”
Maureen and Karen have earned a Juno award, a SOCAN award, and multiple ECMA and Music NL awards and nominations. The sisters have also accumulated three gold records along the way. They have performed worldwide, including Australia, the Middle East, Europe, America and Canada. While touring, they’ve shared the stage with widely respected artists such as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Mary Black, Jann Arden and the Chieftains.
“Music has always been such a big part of our lives,” says Maureen. “As long as we’re able to maintain the passion that we have for playing live, we’ll continue to produce the kind of music that people expect from us at our shows.
- The video links will redirect you to youtube.com
The next event for The Matthews is “Tommy: a Bluegrass Opry” by the Hillbenders on Saturday, Jan. 21. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit www.MatthewsOpera.com.
The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center is a non-profit organization located at 612 N. Main Street in Spearfish, South Dakota. To learn more about The Matthews either contact by phone, at 605.642.7973 or their website at www.MatthewsOpera.com.
A new venue for Open Stage!
Hill City, SD – Open Stage, Hill City’s popular winter tradition that connects performing artists with enthusiastic audiences, will begin a new era when it opens its 2017 season at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, in the Dakota Hall of High Country Guest Ranch. Admission is free, but donations support an annual scholarship program for Hill City High School and other Hill City Arts Council educational initiatives.
The Open Stage series will continue with events at High Country, off Deerfield Road just four miles west of Hill City, on Jan. 28, Feb. 11 and 25, and March 11 and 25. The doors will open at 5 p.m., and musician sign-up will start at 5:15. The number of performers will be limited, so that the events can conclude by 10 p.m. For parking, follow the signs.
The recent closing of Chute Rooster displaced Open Stage from its comfortable setting of many years, but the Hill City Arts Council is excited about the new partnership with High County Guest Ranch. Most aspects of the 2017 events will be familiar: Dan Dickey will return as the emcee, Crow Ridge Productions will manage the sound, and the stage will be filled, as always, with a mix of established performers and emerging talent.
But there will be some changes. The new venue will be much more accessible to people with disabilities, with ground-floor entrance through the High Country store and accessible restrooms. Dakota Hall will also nearly double the capacity of the events. Food service, 5:30-7 p.m. (or when the food runs out), will be buffet style, as is customary at Dakota Hall. Buffet prices range from $13.50 to $19.50 ($5 off for kids 12 and under). Beverages will be available throughout the events. And out a side exit a blazing fire ring will be inviting for fresh air and star-gazing.
Open Stage has become a favorite of both artists and audiences because of the event’s tradition of providing a comfortable venue for performances, with an audience that comes to listen. The event has become a launching pad for many performers, and has become a model for other open-mic events in the region.