After a full spring season of music and a busy summer of theatre, Festival Theatre’s 2014 Music Series continues with six concerts this fall. Coming in September are Billy McLaughlin, The Barley Jacks with Brian Wicklund, plus Sinatra and Company featuring Colleen Raye with music from the Rat Pack era. In October Festival welcomes The Whyte Orfield Band, and in November Alice Peacock and Lynne Rothrock both return.
Kicking off the line-up is Billy McLaughlin, taking the stage on Saturday, September 6th. McLaughlin is recognized as an innovative performer and composer who embraces the advantages of acoustic guitar amplification, unorthodox techniques and altered tunings while celebrating a gift for melody. His enormous yet fluid acoustic guitar tone has carried him around the world, to Billboard's Top-Ten Chart and most recently through a devastating medical disorder called focal dystonia. McLaughlin has accomplished what might be described as "one of the great musical-comeback stories of all time."
The Barley Jacks with fiddler master Brian Wicklund appear on Saturday, September 20th, bringing their special blend of original bluegrass, Celtic, and roots. The Barley Jacks sing original vocals and play jaw–dropping instrumentals in a spirit of excitement and fun. They are masters of the fiddle, guitar, bass and drum who meld their divergent backgrounds of blues and bluegrass, classical and Celtic, R & B and bebop to inspire each other and create something entirely new. Frontman and fiddler Brian Wicklund is joined by Joe Cruz on guitar, Kevin Rowe on bass, and Joel Arpin on percussion. Virtuosity, magic and a little danger combine to make every performance unique.
Up next is a matinee event recently added to the calendar. Colleen Raye Productions Presents: Sinatra and Company features music from the Rat Pack era, set for Friday, September 26th at
2:00 pm. Colleen Raye, Debbie O'Keefe, Tim Patrick and the Fabulous Blue Eyes Band bring a totally entertaining presentation featuring iconic music from the '50's and '60's crooners - guys and gals! Audience members will hear songs from Sinatra, Garland, Ella, Marilyn, Dino, Sammy, Dinah, Rosemary and more - all with the spontaneous feel of a Rat-Pack concert. Group rates for ten or more seats are available for this swingin’ show. Call the box office for assistance in making group reservations.
New to Festival Theatre, the Whyte Orfield Band features Sue Orfield and her band teaming up with national blues vocalist Ellen Whyte on Saturday, October 18th. Sue Orfield plays the tenor saxophone with the whimsy of Sonny Rollins, the passion of Kurt Cobain, the soul of Bill Withers, and the joy of Ella Fitzgerald. Along with a compelling mastery of her instrument, Sue brings to the stage a powerful presence and joy of all things musical. Sue has played with many musical greats over the years, including Bo Diddley, Bobby McFerrin, The Indigo Girls, Ann Wilson (Heart), Dizzy Gillespie, Ivan Neville, and Jo Dee Messina, among others.
Three time Grammy award nominee Ellen Whyte, an accomplished singer songwriter, has fronted bands continuously now for 35 years, and she has four critically acclaimed albums. She was captivated by music since she was a child growing up in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Leaving the humidity and the taffeta dresses of her accordion marching band behind, Ellen branched out to bluegrass, gospel, rock, blues and jazz. Her eclectic tastes in music include heroes such as Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, and Bonnie Raitt.
On Saturday, November 1st a national performer with local roots, Alice Peacock, returns to Festival’s stage. Peacock, a recording artist with four CD's, brings to town her engaging pop/rock/country and blues sound.
Chicago singer/songwriter Alice Peacock was immersed in performing at an early age. Her grandfather Fritz Gnass was an actor in Germany, appearing in many films including Fritz Lang's “M;” her grandmother was a cabaret composer; her father acted in repertory theater in the 1960s; and her mother acted in film and television. Growing up in a big family, Peacock was exposed to diverse musical styles; she listened to one sister's '70s hard rock and another sister's country-rock, as well as her mother's Burl Ives and Johnny Cash records. While attending college at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, she joined the university jazz band and also performed with a cover band and did some jingle work. It was during this period that Alice discovered a passion for classic jazz, blues, and standards; she also found herself interested in folk and bluegrass. Her musical journey has lead through St. Croix Falls three times previously, and Festival Theatre is excited to have her return to the community this November.
Finally, Lynne Rothrock & the Mood Swingers perform on Saturday, November 8th. Lynne Rothrock is a vocalist, an entertainer and an arts educator. Whether performing in concert as a solo artist who can sing any style, or in theatre as an actor or musical director, she brings a wealth of talent, training and experience to the stage, and often shares that experience with local students in workshops. Rothrock will be leading vocal workshops for local school choirs during this visit, culminating in a chance for students to perform on stage with her during the evening concert.
Lynne’s band, The Mood Swingers, is comprised of Iowa Blues & Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Ron Dewitte, keyboardist Gerard Estella of Queens, New York, bass player Dave Ollinger of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and drummer Greg Kanz of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
With the exception of the Sinatra & Company matinee, all of the concerts begin at 7:30 pm. Many are Flex Pass eligible and tickets for all events are on sale now. Single tickets purchased in advance are either $21 or $26, depending on the show, and tickets at the door cost an additional $5 per seat. Detailed links are listed on the Upcoming Performances page, or information is available by calling the Box Office.