The Lawrence Welk Show will keep a song in your heart on Feb. 12

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS - ELISABETHD­OWSON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The Stars for Saskatchew­an open­ing con­cert to kick off 2011 will rec­og­nize one of mu­sic’s most in­flu­en­tial stars when the Lawrence Welk Show plays the Sky Cen­tre on Feb. 12. Lawrence Welk was a tele­vi­sion main­stay for over three decades, and that time­less mu­sic is now brought back to the pub­lic by Lawrence Welk Show tour pro­ducer and for­mer Lawrence Welk reg­u­lar Mary Lou Met­zger.

“I’ve told ev­ery­body to in­clude a love song for Valen­tine’s Day and we’re also go­ing to have a video trib­ute to Lawrence and to My­ron Floren, so it’s go­ing to be a good show.

“We’re go­ing to do a lot of big band mu­sic and we’ve got vo­cals and danc­ing and in­stru­men­tals and a lit­tle some­thing for ev­ery­one.”

The Lawrence Welk Show was broad­cast for a to­tal of 27 years, the long­est run­ning weekly mu­si­cal va­ri­ety show in the his­tory of tele­vi­sion, and be­came an era for mil­lions.The show first aired in Los An­ge­les in 1951 and was signed by ABC in June of 1955. It aired on the ABC tele­vi­sion net­work from July 1955 to Septem­ber 1971, and in syn­di­ca­tion from 1971 to 1982.

Welk was fa­mous for “easy lis­ten­ing” ar­range­ments of com­posers rang­ing from Elvis and The Bea­tles to Burt Bacharach, Hal David, The Everly Broth­ers and Paul Wil­liams.

The show con­tin­ues to be en­joyed by over three mil­lion view­ers each week on over 270 pub­lic tele­vi­sion sta­tions.

The tour has as­sem­bled a mem­o­rable cast. “We have a won­der­ful band leader and his name is Bobby Tillery.

He as­sem­bles our band for us and they’re from the group we use when we were at the Cham­pagne The­atre in Bran­son Mis­souri.

“We’ve got Ava Bar­ber, our fab­u­lous coun­try singer, and Gail Far­rell, who’s a won­der­ful pi­anist as well as vo­cal­ist, and she asked ‘Do you think they’d like it if I did Maple Leaf Rag?’

“Dick Dale will be join­ing us. He worked with Lawrence Welk from 1951 to 1982 - an amaz­ing 32 years - as a fea­tured sax player, co­me­dian, singer and dancer; and Jack Imel, who was part of Mr. Welk’s Mu­si­cal Fam­ily from 1957 to 1982.

“We have a won­der­ful young ac­cor­dian­ist named Tim Padilla, who sort of re­minds you of a young Lawrence Welk, be­cause it wouldn’t be a Lawrence Welk Show with­out a polka and an ac­cor­dion.”

Met­zger will also per­form. “I do a lot of the stuff from the Broad­way shows, and some sing­ing and danc­ing, and lots of won­der­ful mu­sic.”

She cred­its the longevity of Welk’s mu­si­cal ap­peal to a need to recre­ate the mem­o­ries of shared fam­ily times as­so­ci­ated with the Welk mu­si­cal era.

“Ev­ery­one has mem­o­ries of fam­i­lies com­ing to­gether with the Welk show.

And I think we’re liv­ing in times where peo­ple are hun­gry for that. It’s like com­fort food, with past mem­o­ries of good times be­ing to­gether.

“You’re lucky now if you can get to­gether once a week to have the fam­ily have din­ner to­gether. Ev­ery­body’s sched­ules are so hec­tic. I think it’s kind of mem­o­ries of sweet times.”

Younger au­di­ences con­tinue to be drawn to Welk’s mu­sic. “The way it usu­ally hap­pens is a younger mem­ber of the fam­ily brings a par­ent or grand­par­ent to one of our con­certs and they’re al­ways sur­prised.

It’s so much fun, the band is so good, the mu­sic is great and they have a won­der­ful time.

“It is im­por­tant to us to hear what our au­di­ence likes and don’t like so we can grow with them and make the changes they want. I think our crowd ap­pre­ci­ates that. I think most peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing heard.”

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