Everly Experience will be a ‘test run’ for future performing arts events in the lakes area—with modern, high-tech Pelican Fine Arts Auditorium at center stage
By Louis Hoglund
The return of the “Everly Brothers Experience” to Pelican Rapids is not only a nostalgic concert, but a first step toward a Pelican Rapids area performance and community theater organization.
A lakes area seasonal resident with a background in music, stage performance, and entertainment, Richard Nelson, is promoting the July 23 “Everly Brothers Experience” concert with a long-range objective to promote the performing arts in the greater Pelican lakes area.
“I’m hoping area residents will understand the importance of attending the Everly Brothers Experience,” said Nelson, who was instrumental in bringing the Everly show to a near-sold-out engagement in Pelican, 2019. “By coming to this show, they are not only getting very good entertainment but they are sharing in the startup of quality summer musical theater in the Pelican area.”
Local group envisioning summer theater for Pelican area
His vision is the “Falling Creek Players,” which could debut with a local production by summer 2023, said Nelson.
Several local and area arts and performance professionals have met with Nelson, including Pelican Rapids school band director Sean Fitzsimmons. The near-term goal is to establish an official non-profit. This would enable the Falling Creek Players to receive grants from Lake Region Arts Council and other sources, noted Nelson.
“We see Falling Creek Players as a teaching organization that allows those who wish to grow in their genre an opportunity to learn and hone their skills,” said Nelson. “We want to attract talented individuals who are serious about acting, singing, and dancing who will give a high quality performance. We also want the audience leaving each performance feeling they have seen something special and, in turn, be wanting to come back to see more.”
Pelican auditorium is key to future performances
The new Pelican Rapids Fine Arts Auditorium is the physical centerpiece. The auditorium, which was further enhanced with acoustic and audio features, is one of the finest and most modern performance venues in the region. In fact, the Everly Experience was booked four years ago as a fundraiser for the facility.
Thanks to local corporate and community sponsorships of the upcoming Everly show, nearly all of the revenue from ticket sales will help form the budget for a summer 2023 stage production, said Nelson.
“This would give us a tremendous start for next summer,” said Nelson.
Sponsors step up to support performing arts
Pounding the pavement throughout the lakes area, Nelson secured four major sponsors for the Everly show: Erhard’s Ripley’s Inc, Nelson Auto Center, Bell Bank, and the Pelican Rapids Press.
Mid-level sponsors include Farmers Elevator of Pelican Rapids; Park Region Oil of Pelican Rapids; Pelican Drug; Minnesota National Bank; Larry’s Market; Heart O’ Lakes Quality Meats; Superior Lakeside; Lakeland General Store; Southtown Convenience Store, and the Evenson enterprises.
Nelson has background in theater, in Grand Forks
Nelson’s background includes the formation of the Crimson Creek Collegiate Players in 1998 in Grand Forks.
“The motivating factor was that we were living in a city that had just come out of the devastating flood of 1997, and while the spirit of the people was strong, there was virtually nothing left of much of the city,” recalled Nelson. Grand Forks has a strong tradition of music and theater arts programs.
To fill the void left by the flood and, more importantly, give actors, dancers, and musicians opportunities to stay in Grand Forks, the creation of Crimson Creek Players found its start. The initiative immediately found great community support and strong interest from the potential performers, said Nelson.
Interest in this organization went beyond Grand Forks, with many directors, choreographers, and performers coming from Fargo, Moorhead, Crookston, Devils Lake, and other towns in the region.
“Our shows over the next ten years played to thousands of people who appreciated the high level of talent and live pit orchestra that we gave them in every performance,” said Nelson.
He said he is encouraged by the interest and support he received when introducing the concept of summer theater in Pelican Rapids.
“With this initial reception, I am optimistic that Falling Creek Players theater productions will become a significant summer event in Pelican Rapids,” said Nelson.
Ticket sales for the Everly Brothers Experience will be a big factor in how to proceed with future productions for Falling Creek Players, said Nelson.
Tickets are available at: http://EverlyBrothersExperience.eventbrite.com