Jeff Jennings, a native of Negaunee, now a music teacher in Green Bay, Wisconsin, came up with the idea of doing a musical fundraiser to help fund repairs to the Historic Vista Theater in Negaunee. Here he sings The Heat is OnÓ during this fundraiser, Rocking-n-Rolling Through the Ages on Saturday at the Negaunee Band Shell. (Newspaper photo by Renee Prusi)
Julie Williams and her friend Frankie Phillips, 5, were dancing with their umbrellas to the music at the Rocking-n-Rolling Through the Ages fundraiser on Saturday. Both are from Ishpeming. (Newspaper photo by Renee Prusi)
The Negaunee High School Marching Miner Band performed ÒSweet CarolineÓ and ÒSeptemberÓ at Rocking-n-Rolling Through the Ages, a fundraiser for the Vista Theater on Saturday. (Newspaper photo by Renee Prusi)
Gerry Pirkola, from Negaunee, who now lives in Iron Mountain, performed three songs during the Rocking-n-Rolling Through the Ages fundraiser for the Vista Theater. (Newspaper photo by Renee Prusi)
NEGAUNEE – They were singing in the rain on Saturday night at Breitung Park in downtown Negaunee.
In fact, the singers were under the cover of the Negaunee Band Shell in the park, but the audience was drenched in the rain which started around the same time as the music.
But the hundreds of people in attendance at the Rocking-n-Rolling Through the Ages concert – which was meant to raise money to repair the roof of the Historic Vista Theater – didn’t seem to care. They clapped loudly as one act after act took to the stage, including the Negaunee High School Marching Band, Julie Williams Project, Ally Bellanger and Jeff Jennings, to name a few.
Jennings, a native of Negaunee, now a music teacher in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was one of the instigators of the musical evening.
“I wanted to do something the first day, when the roof collapsed” Jennings said.
The roof of the theater, which has been part of Iron Street in Negaunee since 1926, fell under the weight of thousands of pounds of rainwater last August.
Plans to repair the roof are underway, but more funds are still needed.
The rainy weather on Saturday did not dampen the morale of the musicians or the audience, most of whom sat in the rain for nearly three hours of the show.
“Even with the rain, people stayed. That says a lot about the kind of community we are talking about ”, Jennings said. “The support was incredible.
Rusty Bowers, chairman of the board of the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council, which manages the theater, agreed.
“I want to congratulate everyone who attended the (Saturday) night event. Everyone did a great job ”, he said. “And a big thank you to the die-hard Vista fans who braved the weather to show their support. They were hungry for “live” entertainment and showed their love for this building and our group of good performers.
“And so many businesses in the region have shown their support at this stressful time”, he said. “Still a lot of Vista people love to spread out in this community.”
In addition to those already mentioned, other artists performing on Saturday night included Megan Good of Green Bay; and Upper Peninsula artists Gerry Pirkola, the NHS Dance Team, Arnie Spickerman, Whiskey Ryan and Catfish Kennedy, Leslie Parkkonen, Bonnie and Marissa Symons, Dean and the Jello Shooters, Lisa Bowers, Rusty Bowers, Jack Bowers and Marcia Hicks.
For more information, visit the Historic Vista Theater / PAAC Facebook page at www.facebook.com/paacvistheater or visit the official Vista website at www.visstatheater.org.
Renee Prusi can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240. His email address is [email protected]