McNeill to sing original songs at Gayville Hall May 4 John McNeill of Springfield has been a performer and emcee at Gayville Hall in Gayville since the music hall's second concert last June. As such, he has performed tunes of all kinds, including many of his own, in more than a dozen and a half shows.
A concert at Gayville Hall at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 4, will be the first at the venue devoted exclusively to original songs. The proprietors of the hall, Wakonda filmmakers Doug and Judi Sharples, will present "An Evening of Original Songs" performed by John and Susan McNeill. Tickets are $10 at the door.
John McNeill is "one of the best songwriters in South Dakota," according to Sharples. "He's been writing since the late '60s and did film music for us many times, and really started seriously writing tunes in the mid-'70s."
McNeill teaches at the Springfield State Prison but has been playing music nights and weekends since his college days at USD in the 1960s, when he performed in the Pine Street Singers, the Herb Shriner Memorial Jazz Trio, the Five-Line Transport Blues Band and other bands. He joined Vista, moved south, and performed in soul bands in Alabama in the late 1960s and early '70s before returning to South Dakota.
Since the late 1970s he has performed with his wife Susan, a native of Clark, often in a family band that included their three children until they went off to college. He has written and performed music for radio commercials, documentary films, and tourist attractions.
Gayville Hall hopes to showcase other South Dakota songwriters in future shows. The hall is located at 502 Washington Street in Gayville.