‘Dakota Opry’ debuts at Gayville Hall June 12

'Dakota Opry' debuts at Gayville Hall June 12 Gayville Hall presents the debut of a new music show titled "The Dakota Opry" at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 12, at the music hall in Gayville. The stars of the show are Springfield musicians John and Susan McNeill; Owen DeJong, Nick Schwebach and the Poker Alice Band of rural Wakonda; and special guest, Elk Point singer Elaine Peacock.

"The Dakota Opry" will mix original songs with the classics of American popular song, country and folk, according to Gayville Hall proprietor Doug Sharples. "This is a chance to see the show before we take it on the road," said Sharples.

John McNeill will emcee and sing original songs and song classics with his wife Susan and the Poker Alice band. One of the state's most prolific songwriters, McNeill is the master of ceremonies and a regular performer with his wife at Gayville Hall. He created one of the hall's popular Hank Williams and Johnny Cash tributes.

Members of the band Poker Alice have performed widely in those tributes and in the Comfort Theatre Company's production of Always ? Patsy Cline. Lead guitarist and singer Schwebach founded Poker Alice in the 1980s. Legendary fiddler DeJong performed with The Travelin' Band in Nashville before joining Poker Alice and is classical music director at South Dakota Public Radio by day. He has played with the Dakota String Quartet in concert halls and brought down the house as a fiddler in roadhouses, clubs and festivals from Nashville to the Black Hills.

Bassist and singer Larry Rohrer, a Sioux Falls native, joined Poker Alice after becoming program director at South Dakota Public Radio in 1989. The other band members are Dennis Jensen of rural Alcester on guitar and vocals and Al Remund of Lennox on drums.

Peacock had been singing for fun and at church for many years but only recently became serious about performing, competing in national country music contests, cutting her first CD, and singing professionally in casino shows.

Gayville Hall is at 502 Washington Street in Gayville. Reserved seats cost $12.50. Call the box office at 605-267-2859. Tickets are $10 at the door.

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