A performer who sounds eerily like the legendary Nat “King” Cole … a beloved cowboy ensemble that has delighted audiences for more than 75 years … a tribute to the super group ABBA … and a group of five extraordinarily talented trumpet masters – it’s a lineup that audiences in the Fox Cities or Milwaukee might expect.
But it’s a list of artists who will be performing for audiences in Minocqua over the next few months, thanks to the Lakeland Performing Arts Association (LPAA), an organization dedicated to bringing high quality concerts and plays to the area. The LPAA was formed in 1981 by Dave Veldhuizen, Mark Westphal, Betty Aldridge, Peter Warner and Virginia Warner.
“People in the Minocqua area were going to Rhinelander to attend performing arts programs there, so they decided to establish their own program in Minocqua,” says Deane Galloway, the current president of the LPAA.
He describes the organization’s mission as follows: “The purpose of the LPAA is to increase the appreciation of the performing arts in the Lakeland community through sponsorship of professional artists in concerts, plays and other types of performances, and through cooperation with non-profit, educational and performing arts organizations.”
Those involved with the LPAA know that access to high quality concerts, plays and other performances adds richness to life in a rural area that’s better known for its outdoor recreation. “We believe it is important to have a non-profit organization, run totally by volunteers, that can offer quality performing arts at a very reasonable price so a large proportion of the people from the Lakeland area can partake and enjoy the arts,” Deane says.
Bringing quality artists to the Northwoods, or anywhere else for that matter, is no small task. The LPAA board of directors is made up of 24 people who put in an estimated 1,700 hours each year to organize these concerts. The committees on which these volunteers serve, Deane explains, handle a number of tasks, among them publicity, membership, refreshments, artist receptions, grants and others. The organization works in cooperation with Lakeland Union High School, where performances are held, as well as the Northern Arts Council and the Wisconsin Arts Board. Performances are also made possible by donations from local organizations and ticket holders who send money beyond the cost of tickets.
LPAA board members are in large part retired and come from various backgrounds, but they have at least one thing in common: a passion for bringing the arts to audiences in the Northwoods. The volunteers who work with the LPAA enjoy sharing their dedication with like-minded people.
“The nominating committee is always on the lookout for new board members,” says Deane. “We try to recruit members from all areas represented by our concert goers and areas we may not currently represent well.” Those interested in serving on the LPAA board, he says, may write to the organization at P.O. Box 1279, Minocqua, WI 54548.
As for Deane, he, like many of his fellow board members, enjoys the beauty and outdoor recreation the Northwoods has to offer. After retiring from a career as a research scientist/director for an international plastic packaging supplier in 2006, he and his wife moved to the area. They began attending LPAA concerts in 2007, and in 2010 they joined the organization’s board of directors.
“What I enjoy most about being a part of the LPAA,” he says, “is the opportunity to get to know and work with people who have a passion for community service and an interest in helping provide arts entertainment to the people of this area. It’s a fun group to work with!”
Upcoming performances and ticket information
The 2013-14 season kicked off Sept. 25 with a concert by pianist Danny Wright, but there are still four shows left to enjoy. Upcoming concerts include Long Live the King – Music of Nat King Cole (Allan Harris) Oct. 22; Sons of the Pioneers Nov. 14; Thank You for the Music – A Modern Tribute to ABBA Feb. 11; and Les Trompettes de Lyon May 3.
The LPAA offers five concerts, and sometimes six, each year, with the season running from September through May. An adult season ticket costs $50, and a student season ticket is $12.
Those who don’t live here year round but who enjoy the performances can still get a deal. “Since this area has a lot of ‘snowbirds,’ we offer a snowbird ticket package, good for any three of our concerts, at $40,” Deane says.
Individual concert tickets are available at the door the night of the performance. Adult tickets are $20 and student tickets are $5.
All concerts are held in the Lakeland Union High School auditorium, Minocqua, and begin at 7 p.m.
For more information about the Lakeland Performing Arts Association, log on to lakelandperformingarts.org.