WingFest 2024 with Concerts

Great Food! Great Music!

Join us for WingFest 2024!
Featuring:

$20 gets you All You Care to Eat Wings AND admission to the Concert with Arthur Seabury and the Supermatics, The Jah Lion Band and more on The Lot.

Wing Contest - Only 20 spots available. Call 660-827-3228 to reserve your grill.

People Choice - $2 per vote minimum.

Starts at 4 p.m. Bring your family and friends.


USAF Band of Mid-America "Chronicles of Valor" Concert Series

This 90-minute concert features their 45-member concert band and will honor our nation’s fallen, share stories of their sacrifices, and reflect on all that makes us flourish as individuals and as a nation. In addition to spectacular marches and patriotic music, selections will include Broadway tunes and more. Admission to these performances is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.


USAF Band of Mid-America "Chronicles of Valor" Concert Series

This 90-minute concert features their 45-member concert band and will honor our nation’s fallen, share stories of their sacrifices, and reflect on all that makes us flourish as individuals and as a nation. In addition to spectacular marches and patriotic music, selections will include Broadway tunes and more. Admission to these performances is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.


USAF Band of Mid-America "Chronicles of Valor" Concert Series

This 90-minute concert features their 45-member concert band and will honor our nation’s fallen, share stories of their sacrifices, and reflect on all that makes us flourish as individuals and as a nation. In addition to spectacular marches and patriotic music, selections will include Broadway tunes and more. Admission to these performances is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.


Spend the Weekend with Elvis

Put on your blue suede shoes and head to Branson next weekend for the 17th Annual Branson Elvis Festival. Enjoy great music and amazing competition as 19 talented Elvis tribute artists compete for prizes and a spot in the national contest.

By Sandy Selby

If one Elvis makes for a rockin’ evening, imagine how much fun you’ll have when 19 Elvis tribute artists get together for a fabulous festival! The 17th Annual Branson Elvis Festival takes place March 15-17 at the Pepsi Legends Theatre and welcomes amazing performers from Brazil, Japan, and the United States.

The festival begins with the Elvis Meet & Greet on Friday, March 15, at 5:30 p.m. Check out the Elvis Vendor Village in the theater lobby on Saturday, and then settle in for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. The semi-finals take place on Saturday, March 16 at 3 p.m. and the competition wraps up with the finals the following day at 2 p.m.

The contestants eagerly await this competition. “They usually start reaching out to us as soon as this year’s festival is over,” says Jill Heppner, marketing director for Pepsi Legends Theater. “We get quite a few entries, and we vet them.”

Contestants will be judged on vocals, appearance, and stage presence. The winner will receive a prize package and the opportunity to compete in the 2024 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest finals presented by Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. this August at Graceland in Memphis. Only performers who compete and win in a sanctioned contest, like the one in Branson, are eligible to compete at Graceland. According to Jill, Branson winners have gone on to take the top prize in the national contest. “We’ve had several win “Ultimate,” she says, and we’ve had many place in the Top Five and Top Ten.”

Jill says that about 200 of the festival attendees return year after year and are present for every event from start to finish. “If we don’t know them by name, we know them by face,” she says of the festival regulars. The weekend-long event typically attracts about 600 Elvis fans.  

This year’s festivalgoers are in for a special treat with three headliner concerts. Ronnie McDowell performs on Friday at 8 p.m., Bill Cherry takes the stage on Saturday at 8 p.m., and Ryan Pelton performs at the Sunday morning gospel show at 11 a.m.

Tickets are available for each event during the festival and may be purchased at BransonElvisFestival.com. Tickets are $20 (plus tax) for the Meet & Greet event, and range from $35 to $50 for headliner concerts and the contest. The vendor fair, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, is free and open to the public.

All photos courtesy of Pepsi Legends Theater.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.


A Family-Friendly Musical

This Tony Award-winning musical has an uplifting message, bright and colorful characters, cool music by some famous artists, and is a family-friendly production that can be enjoyed by young children and Grandma and Grandpa, too. You’ll leave with a smile!

A cheerful winter break would be watching "The SpongeBob Musical." Presented by local community theater, you can watch this fanciful stage production March 1, 2, or 3 in St. Joseph at the Missouri Theater.

 “This is definitely a family-friendly show,” says Lindsay Prawitz, Program Director of the Robidoux Resident Theatre,. “It’s a great way for an entire family, from young children to Grandma and Grandpa, to enjoy a musical together. It has an uplifting message: that everyone has a place, and everyone is important.”

About 50 community members have been working hard, making costumes, building sets, and rehearsing their roles. The musical, based on the popular SpongeBob SquarePants character, is known for its bright colors and catchy music, composed by well-known artists like Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, and The Flaming Lips, as just a few samples.

“This production appeals to actors, too, because so many different people could participate. Some plays require certain specific types or styles of actors or body types, and this one can include a wider base,” Lindsay says.

Unlike some traditional productions, "SpongeBob The Musical” has presented the set builders and costume mistress some challenges. “Making the extra legs for an octopus character has been an interesting challenge. They love that they get to have fun with this, creating bright and whimsical pieces.”

The show's storyline is simple but heartwarming: when the citizens of Bikini Bottom face a threat to their home, SpongeBob and his friends must band together to save the day. It’s a tale of friendship and optimism, perfect for lifting spirits.

Tickets cost either $17 to $37 for children, and $25 to $45 for adults, depending on seating at The Missouri Theater, and may be purchased online here. There will also be ticket fees.

Hey Robidoux Resident Theatre, “Your genius is showing” in selecting such a fun musical—as several characters in the television series might have said.

All photos by Blair Darnell, RRT Board Member

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.


Attend a Cosmic Concert

Let the power of music lead you through the universe. A creatively themed concert, The Elements, starts with a big bang, takes you across a river, and even promises to control the elements in space on a journey to the international space station.

Get ready for an out-of-this-world musical experience on Tuesday, February 27th, 2024, for this 90 minute performance, at the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau!

While the theme "The Elements" might evoke visions of cosmic storms and celestial phenomena, it's more of a subtle nod throughout the concert. Picture this: the Big Bang brought to life through Anthony Barfield's "Red Sky," a mesmerizing trombone solo with Dr. Felipe Brito taking center stage. Then, brace yourself for the world premiere of "Mississippi Crossing" by student composer Keaton Lacey. Another piece, about the control of elements in space, is told through Brian Balmages' "Open Space," a captivating narrative of the International Space Station.

Most of the musicians are students at SEMO, but they are a diverse bunch, with the Wind Symphony primarily made up of music majors and the University Concert Band boasting a mix of majors. Each brings their unique style and energy to the concert.

Dr. Jim Daughters, Director of Bands at SEMO’s Holland College Department of Music, was inspired to choose "The Elements" as the theme. “I knew we were performing ‘Red Sky’ that represents the Big Bang, and I was looking for music along the same thread,” he says.

And here's a fun fact: this concert is the grand finale of a whirlwind week of performances. From the Robert Gifford Band Festival, with 20 performances from middle and high school bands in Missouri, Kentucky, and Illionois on February 24th,  the SEMO High School Honor Band on February 26th. This musical marathon showcases talent from across Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois. High school students from those states also join the SEMO High School Honor Band. Band directors picked 240 students out of nearly 400 nominations!

Tickets for this stellar event are $15 each, with discounted rates of $12 for seniors, military personnel, children, and Southeast Missouri State University faculty. Everyone needs a ticket, and you may buy them here. 

This evening of cosmic melodies promised to leave you starry-eyed! 

All Photos Courtesy of Shawna Creaser

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.


A Free Magical Valentine Concert

A renowned guest music director will present an evening of masterpieces by Bach, Boccerini, Debussy, Schubert, and Vivaldi. The highlight will be Mozart’s Piano concerto No. 21, also known as “Elvira Madigan” due to the film of that name.

By Missouri Life

Photos by International Center for Music

Treat your Valentine to a music-filled evening of popular classical favorites at 7:30 p.m. February 9th in the impressive Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel at Park University, at 8700 NW River Park Drive in Parkville. 

This special Valentine’s concert features the Park International Center for Music’s Orchestra under the direction of guest conductor Timothy Hankewich. Hanewich has led acclaimed performances across North America and Europe, and is the director of Orchestra Iowa, which he has guided through a transformative period. His career includes serving as the Resident Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, and he won The Aspen conducting award in 1997.

The concert will begin with the ethereal second movement of Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite, widely recognized as Bach’s Air on the G String. The piece’s slow and dreamy melody hovering over a gentle walking bass line creates a mood of quiet contemplation and serves as introduction to all the music that follows on the program.

Next, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, also  known as "Elvira Madigan", due to its use in the film of that title, will feature soloist Michael Davidman from the prestigious ICM Piano Studio under the tutelage of ICM Founder and Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Stanislav Ioudenitch, an Uzbekistan-born American pianist. Davidman began his musical journey at the age of five and studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard Schoo. He is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at the International Center for Music. Critics have described his playing as “chiseled and fiery,” and he captivates audiences with his explosive and extreme performances.

Other popular works capture Valentine moods and include Debussy’s Claire de Lune for piano, Boccherini’s Minuet from his String Quintet Op.11 No.5, and Schubert’s Serenade for solo voice. Lisa Hickock, executive director of International Center for Music at Park University, says, “I’m particularly looking forward to the performance of "Claire de Lune" by Debussy/Naughten. Though I've heard it many times, this piece holds a special place in my heart because of its beautiful and emotive melodies. It also feels inherently romantic, making it especially appropriate for a Valentine concert!”

 

A Valentine cookie and punch reception follow the concert, and you’ll be able to meet Hankewich and Davidman. Even though the event is free, make reservations here to secure your seat. Parking is plentiful and also free.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.


Missouri History Today: January 22, 1955 Springfield Broadcasts Pioneering Country Music Program

The first-ever TV show of its kind noted for making country music more popular broadcasts via Springfield’s ABC affiliate. Performers included Red Foley, Brenda Lee (pictured), and Slim Wilson. 

Based upon content from the book This Day In Missouri History by Ross Malone, author and Missouri historian. Get your copy on Amazon.

Photo credit: MCA Records Billy Smith Management via Wikimedia Commons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenda_Lee_discography#/media/File:Brenda_Lee_1977.JPG 


Bluegrass For Your Winter Break

A bluegrass festival this weekend makes a nice after-holiday treat. Hear Grammy-nominated musicians, a world-traveling local boy who’s returning to his hometown, and some of the best bluegrass bands in the business.

By Danita Allen Wood

The Missouri Area Bluegrass Committee, which is the oldest continuously running bluegrass organization in the country, according to their Facebook page, presents its 41st Annual Pat Strawhun Memorial Winter Bluegrass Festival on January 5 and 6 at the Holiday Inn Six Flags at Eureka, Missouri. Six different bands will play throughout the festival, with some bands making two appearances but playing different sets. 

Among the performers this year are C. J. Lewandowski, a Eureka native who now travels the world playing bluegrass. He tours with the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, which was nominated for a Grammy award. “Many people will remember him as a little kid playing, and it’s neat to see him living his dream,” says Walter Volz, one of the volunteers who helps put on the festival. You can see that band and hear them here.

 

In addition, perhaps the most well known band, Fast Track, out of Nashville, will be returning by popular demand. 

Fast Track, courtesy of Fast Track

One of the bands Walter is looking forward to hearing is River Bend, from Illinois, whose last album was nominated for a Grammy. You can sample their music here. You can also hear the music of the Finley River Boys’, also appearing at the festival. 

One of the performers is Wyatt Harman, with Harman & Ruble Band. Tragically, Mason Ruble, another founding member, passed away after a car accident in October, but the band continues with his name. 

Prices range from $15 to $30 depending on whether you want afternoon or evening performances, or the entire weekend. The six bands play different sets, of course, at different times. For more information and a full schedule, visit the festival Facebook page or call 636-441-7429. Tickets are available at the door, and the festival begins at 7 pm Friday and 1 pm Saturday. You may call the hotel directly for reservations at 636-938-6661. 

The festival is named in memory of Patricia A. Strawhun, who was a 38 year member of the Missouri Area Bluegrass committee but passed away in 2014. 

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.