As the Rapid City Concert Association enters its 83rd season, board president Don Stover said there are some new things for concert patrons to enjoy.
For starters, show times are a bit earlier: all concerts will start at 7 p.m. this season That's a half-hour earlier than last season, which Stover was requested by patrons. The association also has a new website, www.rcconcerts.org.
But the quality and variety of the shows remains the same, with a lineup that brings in nationally and internationally renowned vocalists, instrumentalists and performers. Each year, Stover said the association tries to bring in a variety of styles and genres to appeal to as many people as possible.
This year's season starts with the Annie Moses Band on Sept. 14. Other shows are the Terry Barber Trio on Nov. 12, multi-instrumentalist Rory Hoffman on Dec. 19, Irish musicians and dancers Young Irelanders on March 3, instrumentalist group Sultans of String on March 31 and Chicago tribute band Beginnings on April 18.
All concerts will still be performed in the fine arts theater of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
Named for their great-grandmother, the Annie Moses Band is a Nashville-based group. Six siblings comprise the group: Annie Dupre, Camille Da Silva, and Alex, Benjamin, Gretchen and Jeremiah Wolaver.
Their musical legacy started during the Great Depression, when the original Annie Moses picked cotton for a wealthy landowner in Texas. She saved enough to pay for her daughter's piano lessons, who passed on a love of music to her own children.
Fast-forward to 2001, when their descendants included a Julliard-educated trio who formed a band: lead singer/violinist Annie, Alex on viola and Benjamin on cello. In 2002, the group said they reached a "crossroads" whether to stick with their classical roots or try something new.
They opted for something of their own, and started creating their own music, which they describe as "an eclectic sound that reflected our family's unique blend of roots music and classical polish."
As the group evolved, their father (composer/arranger/pianist Bill Wolaver) joined with a rhythm section; eventually, the other three siblings joined the band.
With a mix of strong vocals and multiple instruments, their music touches chords with gospel, bluegrass, indie-rock and more. Expect to hear roots music covers like "I've Been Everywhere," "Ghost Riders" and "The Orange Blossom Special," classic works from composers like Copland and Gershwin, and a variety of folk and country favorites.
"They’re incredible musicians," Stover said. "They do a beautiful show."
Stover one of the show's he's most anticipating is in December, when South Dakota native Rory Hoffman will return to the area. Now a respected Nashville session musician, Hoffman grew up on a ranch near Lemmon. He has played with stars like Ricky Skaggs, Kathy Mattea, Riders in the Sky and Kacey Musgraves.
For his Rapid City show, several members of his family will also join him on stage. While accomplished on more than a dozen instruments, Stover paid special attention to Hoffman's mastery on the guitar.
"He is a special musician," Stover said.
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Terry Barber, an internationally known vocalist, will be joined for his Nov. 12 show by two other vocalists for the Terry Barber Trio, which Stover said is something new and different for the series. Sultans of String, on the other hand, celebrate stringed instruments with sounds from around the world: Celtic reels, flamenco, Gypsy-jazz, Arabic, Cuban and South Asian among them.
"It's going to be a fun show," Stover said.
Young Irelanders, a group of Irish performers in their 20s and 30s, will bring their traditional Celtic songs and dances to Rapid City on March 3.
Stover said the group will also host a workshop for local students. For the last few years, one of the series performers hosts a workshop with Rapid City-area students, then invites those students on stage with them for part of the show. Last year it was scrapped due to scheduling conflicts, but this year Stover hopes to bring it back with a Celtic dance workshop.
"I'm going to do my best to get them on stage," Stover said.
Anyone interested in participating should go through their dance school, if they attend one, or email email@example.com.
Sultans of String, a Canadian group that plays all genres of music with stringed instruments, will perform March 31.
The final show of the season comes on April 18 from Beginnings, which describes itself as "The Ultimate Chicago Tribute Band." Chicago, a rock band formed in 1967, boasted a stream of hits in the 1970s and '80s, including "Beginnings," "Saturday in the Park," "Colour My World" and "25 or 6 to 4."
Stover said Beginnings effectively captures the sound and spirit of the original band.
"I think the people from the '70s are going to really enjoy this show," he said.
Season memberships are $90 for adults, $25 for college students and $10 for youth through high school. That gets entry to each of the six season shows, and also grants reciprocity for discounted tickets ($15 per person per show) to the concert series in Belle Fourche, Hot Springs, and Newcastle, Wyo.
To purchase a membership by mail, make a check payable to Rapid City Concert Association and mail to P.O. Box 9211, Rapid City, SD, 57709. They are also available at the Dahl Arts Center, 713 Seventh St., Rapid City; the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center box office; or rcconcerts.org.
The association is always looking for new sponsors and members, but Stover said that's especially true this year, as some longtime members are aging out. Recruiting younger members can be tough. But, Stover thinks once people attend a concert, they'll see the benefit — for themselves, and the entire community.
"It's the best deal in Rapid City — or the Black Hills, actually," he said. "They get a lot of entertainment for a little bit of money."