One of the unique features of Detroit Lakes' annual Holmes Art Show has always been that each of the three days of the show at the Holmes Ballroom is capped off by a live performance just across the hall, on the main stage of the Historic Holmes Theatre.
That tradition continues this year when the 16th annual show gets underway on Thursday, Nov. 21, and continues through Saturday, Nov. 23. For more on the art show itself, check out today's Tribune entertainment page.
The BoDeans: Celebrating 30 years of making music together
As always, the biggest show of the three live performances is set to take place Friday night, as the BoDeans make their Holmes Theatre debut at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22.
From the days when their biggest hit to date, "Closer to Free," dominated both the radio and television airwaves (it was chosen as the theme song for the popular Fox series "Party of Five"), to the present, when their songs form the bulk of the soundtrack for the Netflix series "The Ranch," the BoDeans have enjoyed success over a wide range of genres and entertainment media, while maintaining their identity as an American rock and roll band.
"When I was really young, AM radio used to play everything ... all kinds of music," says the band's frontman and founder, Kurt Neumann. "There wasn’t really a specific format or genre. They played country, folk, British and American pop, soul and Motown — that was my biggest influence growing up. It was all about really good songs — it didn’t matter if it had a little different sound."
That diversity stretched to the music Neumann wrote (and still writes) for the band. "Sometimes we lean more toward folk or country, and sometimes it's a more pop rock sound, but ... it's all very much within the American rock and roll style," he said. "American music is what we play."
Neumann added that he mostly draws on everyday life to find inspiration for his music — but his focus has changed a bit through the years.
"When you're younger and just starting out, you write a lot of songs about girls," he said with a laugh, "because that's the focus of your life. As I got older and became a dad, I started writing a little more about family."
Though there have been a few personnel changes since the band first formed in Milwaukee 30 years ago, frontman and founder Neumann says their music continues to enjoy a loyal following, in part due to that diversity.
"I started the band back in the '80s, and we've managed to keep it going," he said. "We'll keep trying to keep this music and these songs around as long as people will still come out to the shows and sing them along with us."
Neumann added that audience interaction is a big part of their shows.
"We’ve been lucky to have a lot of radio support throughout the years, so people have been able to get to know our music," he said. "Our crowd has always been big singers of our songs, and I encourage that."
In fact, Neumann said, there are sections of certain songs they perform that are designed for the audience to sing back to the band.
"Our music is kind of designed for that," he said. "It's uplifting, feel good music. It's not the kind of music that you sit back and relax and just watch — it's very interactive. We hope people will get involved and have fun with it."
'100 Years of Sinatra' with the Andrew Walesch Big Band
Also making their first appearance at the Holmes this week is the Andrew Walesch Big Band. Walesch, who hails from St. Cloud, will be kicking off the weekend with his popular tribute show, "100 Years of Sinatra," as he and his 10-piece band take the stage Thursday night, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m.
"This is a show I started doing in 2015," Walesch said. "We premiered it at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater here in the Twin Cities, right around Dec. 12, which was the official 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra."
Since then, the show has had many iterations, he added. "We’ve done it dozens and dozens of times, probably even hundreds of times now, all over the Midwest."
Walesch explained that he chose to focus on the music and career of Frank Sinatra for this show because he grew up listening to it. "I've been a fan since I was 11 or 12 years old," he added.
"It’s a real joy, because Frank Sinatra was one of those voices, one of those rare performers that really crossed generations," he added. "People of all ages can appreciate his legacy and his music."
Though Walesch himself is the lead vocalist, and also plays piano, he says he couldn't do the show without the talents of the musicians backing him up on stage.
"It’s a 10-piece band, with a real big band sound," he said, adding that along with him on piano there are six horn players, a drummer, guitarist and bass player.
"These are veteran musicians of the Twin Cities music scene," he said. "One other guy is my age, and everybody else is probably in their late 50s and older. There’s one guy in the band who's almost 90 years old. He actually is from New York and played with a lot of the big bands back in the day, during the swing era."
Though fans will hear all of Sinatra's iconic hits, like "My Way," "New York, New York" and "That's Life," they'll also hear a lot of songs by Cole Porter, "because he was Frank's favorite songwriter, and mine as well," Walesch said.
"We have a bunch of other songs we mix in," he added. "In all, there's about 50 different songs we can perform. Often I will have a set list and the band will glare at me in the middle of the show because I completely change the set and do other songs (than the ones on the list)."
Walesch added that he is excited to be playing in Detroit Lakes for the first time.
"I've heard great things about the Holmes Theatre, and I'm really looking forward to coming up there and playing the space," he said.
Community band to present 14th annual fall concert Saturday
The third pillar in the Holmes' tripod of upcoming weekend musical performances is much more familiar to lakes area audiences: The Lakes Area Community Concert Band will present its 14th annual fall concert to close out the art show on Saturday, Nov. 23, starting at 4 p.m.
"I think we'll have a fun bunch of music," says the band's director, Gene Gaffney.
The set list includes not just one, but two marches by John Phillip Sousa, "King Cotton" and "The Black Horse Troop" — the latter of which was written in 1927, in honor of Troop A, 107th Calvary, Ohio National Guard, which traveled on horseback.
"The first performance took place in Cleveland," Gaffney said. "As the march was being played, Troop A rode down the isles and onto the stage and stood behind the band, to the tumultuous cheering of all.
In addition, there will be two pieces, "Liquid" and "American Civil War Fantasy," accompanied by videos that were produced and edited especially for the show by Leighton Broadcasting's Rayna Zima.
The latter is actually a medley of patriotic songs, including "Dixieland," "Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which will close out the show.
Though Saturday's show is being presented free of charge, there will be a free will offering taken to support the band.
Tickets for Friday night's show by the BoDeans are $42 each, while tickets for Walesch's Sinatra tribute are $25 for adults and $12.50 for students. To purchase, or for more information, visit the Holmes Theatre website at www.dlccc.org/holmes-theatre.html; call the Holmes Box Office at 218-844-7469; or stop by the box office in the theater lobby at 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes, which is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as for two hours prior to each show.