THE MATTHEWS Presents Portland Cello Project, January 19, 2018

“It doesn’t get much more genre-crossing than this,” –

December 28, 2017

(SPEARFISH, SD  The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center hosts traveling cellist group, Portland Cello Project, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 19. This is the fourth event of the 2017-18 Subscription Series season. Single tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. They are available at The Matthews’ art gallery during business hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online anytime at

“This performance will feature cellos as you have never heard them before. Be prepared for an evening that will challenge your perceptions of the sounds and music that these stringed instruments can produce under the bows of talented musicians,” comments Sian Young, executive director of The Matthews. “You will find no other evening out like this in our area,” she continues.

The Portland Cello Project, or PCP as their fans affectionately call them, delivers a new show each performance, with a repertoire now numbering over 1,000 pieces you wouldn’t normally hear coming from a cello. PCP’s stage setup ranges from the very simple (4-6 cellos) to the all-out epic (which has included 12 cellos playing with full choirs, winds, horns, and numerous percussion players).

PCP has wowed audiences all over the country with extravagant performances — from punk rock clubs to loading dock street parties, exclusive private events, and symphony halls all over North America. The group has built a reputation mixing genres and blurring musical lines and perceptions wherever they go.

In the fall of 2006, a group of 10 cellists got on stage at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge to perform western classical music in an informal setting.

Many of the cellists that night thought it would only happen once.

But slowly that one-off event led to more gigs playing Portland’s most popular clubs and by 2009 the group had evolved into a nationally recognized performance and educational group with a revolving cast of cellists, releasing full-length albums, performing everywhere from punk rock clubs, loading dock street parties, and symphony halls all over North America. They spend more than a quarter of the year touring featuring a diverse repertoire of well over 1,000 pieces of music.

This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the South Dakota Arts Council and the Crane Group.

The next event at The Matthews is the continuation of the 39th Winter Art Show, from January 17-25, 2018. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit

The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center Hosts Auditions for the Community Theater Play, “Angel Street.”


Spearfish, SD – The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center hosts auditions for the community theater play, “Angel Street.” The auditions take place at 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 7, in The Matthews’ theater on 612 N. Main St. in Spearfish.

The director is Julie Walkins. Contact Ms. Walkins at 605-642-2454 to arrange another date to audition. Audition scripts will be available for sign-out in The Matthews art gallery by Aug. 21. Casting is for five adults (varying ages) — 2 men and 3 women.

Performance dates are Oct. 26-29 and Nov. 2-5.

“Gaslight,” retitled “Angel Street” in the United States, was the play that made writer, Patrick Hamilton, famous in 1938. It tells the story of the Manninghams, who live on Angel Street in 19th century London. All appears to be the essence of Victorian tranquility. It is soon apparent that Mr. Manningham, a suavely handsome man, is slowly driving his devoted wife, Bella, to the brink of insanity with an insinuating kindness that masks his more sinister motives.

With “Angel Street,” Hamilton has built and sustained some of the most brilliant, suspenseful sequences in modern theater.

The next event for The Matthews is the Lakota Music Composition Academy Concert, 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 10. Tickets on sale now. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit

The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry with The HillBenders at the Matthews Opera House


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 Matthews Opera House is located at 612 Main St. in Spearfish. For more information about The HillBenders, visit and

THE MATTHEWS Continues its 2016-17 Season With The Ennis Sisters Live Concert

The Matthews is honored to have The Ennis Sisters perform live on its stage at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.

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

“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.


“Take Me Home”:
“Sing you Home”:

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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


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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

Pop Music Iconoclast A.J. Croce to Perform at Matthews Opera House in Spearfish, SD

Los Angeles, CA – Fresh off of his new release of his most ambitious project yet, Twelve Tales, Croce now celebrates the 20th anniversary of his acclaimed album That’s Me in the BarCroce will be performing songs off of Twelve Tales and That’s Me in the Baras well as songs from his complete repertoire. Friday September 23rd in Spearfish, SD at Matthews Opera House at 7:30PM on 612 Main St., Spearfish, SD 57783. Tickets available here: Matthews Opera House

(Photo by: Michael Llewellyn)

Compass Records put out the rerelease of A.J. Croce’s highly successful album, That’s Me in the Bar, in celebration of its 20th anniversary. With his unique jazz piano stylings and blues-tinged voice, the 12-track album established Croce as a singular artistic force in 1995. The rerelease features a bonus track, “If You Want Me to Stay,” recorded 20 years ago but locked in the vault until now which, features Red Hot Chili Peppers funky bass player Flea and had the vocals re-recorded by Croce this year in Los Angeles.

Hailed by The Boston Globe as “a thoughtful, probing record,” That’s Me in the Bar boasts appearances from the likes of Ry Cooder, Bill Payne (Little Feat), Robben Ford, Sweet Pea Atkinson (Was (Not Was)), Waddy Wachtel, Sid Page (Sly Stone & The Family Stone), and others. The album’s producer Jim Keltner was known for his selectivity behind the board, and he produced only four artists other than Croce: Jerry Lee Lewis and Ry Cooder, to name a couple. Croce and Keltner have remained close friends to this day.

Croce, son of legendary singer-songwriter Jim Croce, began his career at age 18 opening for B.B. King and has since spanned genres from jazz to Americana to blues to pop. He was blinded as a result of abuse from his mother’s boyfriend at age four, regaining partial vision at age ten. During that time he taught himself piano while listening to other great blind artists like Ray Charles.

David Wild of Rolling Stone considers him “one of our greatest young songwriters” – and with good reason. Croce has written with artists including Robert Earl Keen, Gary Nicholson, Roger Brown and Will Jenningsand headlined festivals and shared the stage with artists including Ray Charles, Lyle Lovett, James Brown and Rod Stewart. Croce‘s eight studio albums have charted on seven U.S. radio charts including Top 40, College, Americana, and Blues and charted 17 singles in the Top 20. Additionally, Croce has performed on Leno, Letterman, Conan and Austin City Limits and received praise from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, People Magazine and more.

 “A.J. Croce has wisdom beyond his years. With his music, he represents his generation with a profound sense of honesty in his lyrics and quality in his delivery. The future of entertainment is safe in his hands!” – Willie Nelson

The Matthews Opera House and Art Center’s 39th Annual Festival in The Park Sampling

A sampling of items that were available this weekend in Spearfish at The Matthews Opera House and Art Center’s 39th Annual Festival in The Park.

Kitzan Family Farms of Nisland were selling products from sheep that were raised on their farm at The Matthews Opera House and Art Center’s 39th Annual Festival in The Park in Spearfish, SD. Pictured L-R Heather Kitzan and Gwendolyn Kitzan. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


Shannon and Gail Macklin of Macklin’s Sculpture from Flagstaff, Arizona were doing a brisk business with their unusual hand crafted copper and driftwood fountains at The Matthews Opera House and Art Center’s 39th Annual Festival in The Park in Spearfish,SD. Photo:Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


A conference is held to decide what to see next at The Matthews Opera House and Art Center’s 39th Annual Festival in The Park in Spearfish, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


John Werbelow displaying his decorative and functional pottery at The Matthews Opera House and Art Center’s 39th Annual Festival in The Park in Spearfish, SD. Photo:Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


The group “6 Mile Road” entertains Saturday afternoon at The Matthews Opera House and Art Center’s 39th Annual Festival in The Park in Spearfish, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press