Gayville Hall kicks off season with celebration

Gayville Hall kicks off season with celebration
Gayville Hall kicks off its sixth season at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, with the show that, according to proprietor Doug Sharples, "saved Gayville Hall," otherwise known as "A Celebration of Hank Williams," starring Owen DeJong, Nick Schwebach, and John and Susan McNeill.

The concert of Hank Williams' tunes, being presented for the 12th time by the musicians, nearly always produces a full house at Gayville or on the road. It has not been presented in Gayville in two years.

The show was created by John McNeill in July of 2001 after Gayville Hall's first three concerts � celebrating jazz, Dixieland, and pop genres � did not draw large enough crowds to sustain the fledgling music hall. "Do a Hank Williams show," McNeill told Sharples. Gayville Hall did and had to turn away customers.


McNeill sings many of the songs in the show, plays drums, guitar, harmonica and banjo and weaves a commentary about Williams' life and music between numbers. His wife Susan sings and plays bass.

Schwebach, a founder of the Poker Alice Band, plays lead and steel guitar and handles honky-tonk vocals in the show. DeJong, who is classical music director at South Dakota Public Radio by day, plays fiddle in the show, as he does in the Poker Alice Band.

Other spring concerts at Gayville Hall include:

March 18 � "A Celebration of Johnny Cash," featuring the same quartet of musicians.

March 25 � The Poker Alice Band in concert with country singer Brenda George.

April 1 � Pop-and-country singer Howie Gamber with John and Susan McNeill opening.

April 22 � North Dakota troubadour Chuck Suchy and the McNeills.

May 6 � Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, folk and blues artists from Tennessee, and the McNeills.

May 20 � Big Fifth Anniversary Concert, starring John and Susan McNeill, the Public Domain Tune Band, and the beautiful, 20-something Ginn Sisters of Austin, TX, returning to Gayville for the second time.

June 3 � "A Celebration of Elvis Presley," starring Howie Gamber and the McNeills

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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