Wega Arts hosts spring dance
By Angie Landsverk
The Swingtime Big Band will be back at the Gerold Opera House on Saturday, April 30, for the Wega Arts Spring Dance.
The doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the music will begin at 7:30 p.m.
It will be the band’s third concert at the opera house.
Tickets are $15 and available online at wegaarts.org, as well as at Wega Motors in Weyauwega and The Book Cellar in Waupaca.
There will be a full cash bar.
“We play the songs we know,” said Severin Thompson, who is the band’s leader.
The 18-piece orchestra is based in Appleton.
Thompson has been a part of it since the band began in 2008. In addition to being the band’s leader, he also sings and plays the trumpet.
Donna Ruzicka, of Oshkosh, is the band’s female vocalist, Thompson said.
He describes the members of the Swingtime Big Band as a combination of professional musicians and talented amateurs.
“We play music from the ‘20s to the ‘60s,” he said. “We typically sing Big Band music to the Rat Packs.”
The band has played at Appleton’s Performing Arts Center and also at Lambeau Field for Old Glory Honor Flight fundraisers.
It generally plays at Appleton International Airport when the veterans return from their Old Glory Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C.
Thompson, who has been singing since he was a child, said he was a professional musician for about 10 years.
“Then I became a father and thought I should get a real job,” he said.
Retired from the film and television industry, Thompson said he still does some commercials and still photography.
“I live one mile up the road,” he said from inside of Wega Motors, which he purchased about a year ago.
Thompson has about two dozen collector cars.
Kathy Fehl, of Wega Arts, said a film-making workshop will be held at the opera house in June.
With a tentative start date of June 13, the workshop is geared toward students who are 14 to 18 years old, she said.
The workshop will last about two weeks and will be followed by a week of editing later in the summer, Fehl said.
Those interested in participating in the workshop may email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive additional details.
Fehl is also excited about the opera house hosting An Evening with Molly Ringwald & Her Jazz Trio next fall.
That event is scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 8.
Ringwald, known for her roles in the John Hughes’ films “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty In Pink, began performing with her pianist father’s jazz band when she was 3 years old.
She is also the author of “When It Happens to You” and “Getting the Pretty Back.”
Tickets for the Oct. 8 show will be on sale soon.