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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Rock & Remember

Monday, March 28, 2005

It's the musical party of the year

From a simple desire to strike a chord of memory for a lost friend, the Rock & Remember concert has grown into the area's biggest musical party of the year, and is becoming an important contributor to academic music programs around northwest Iowa.

This year's 5th anniversary Rock & Remember will be the biggest blowout yet, Saturday, April 2 at the Marathon Community Center.

Six of the best bands from around western Iowa will volunteer their services to offer up a dozen hours of nearly nonstop music - everything from classic rock to current alternative, with a little pop, surf, country and originals mixed in.

A silent auction, door prizes, a barbecue pork dinner and plenty of room to dance makes this a must-do for music fans of all ages.

The concert is family-friendly, and children 12 and under are admitted free with an adult.

Admission is $5, good for the entire day of music. Doors open at noon and the rocking goes on until midnight. All of the profits go to boost northwest Iowa middle school music programs.

"The Rock & Remember concert got started after our bass player in a band called Wild Childhood, Paul Sievers from Storm Lake, died in a car accident in 2000. We wanted to have some kind of memorial for him, and we hoped to raise some funds for Paul's family. We decided to do it with the music he loved," said Rod Bramble, who was a bandmate of Sievers.

"A lot of friends jumped in and got involved, and it turned into a huge outpouring of support and a really big deal for live music in our area."

The next year, Al Sorenson, the lighting man for the popular Fort Dodge-based Ski Band, passed away from a massive heart attack, just as his wife was struggling with breast cancer. The concert was reborn as a memorial to both of the lost friends of rock 'n roll, and a portion of the proceeds were set aside for a student scholarship fund.

"Ever since then, we have kept it going both as a memorial and as a way to give something back to young people," Bramble said. "Al had been the one to suggest that we do it for the kids. Each year we have a drawing and choose three schools from about 87 in this part of Iowa, and all the proceeds go straight to their music departments," Bramble said.

"We all read the papers and know that schools are in need of money for arts and music. Most of us who are playing in bands today got our starts in school music programs - I know I caught the bug somewhere in that 12 or 13 age. It only seems right to try to help out the schools to keep music going."

This year's chosen schools are Alta, Schleswig, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn and Orange City Christian.

There are no plans for Rock & Remember to ever end, in fact, the organizers are already figuring that in another 15 years, when they have contributed to every school in the region, they will start all over again.

"It's still growing. Last year we estimated that we had about 550 people come out. This year, the concert should easily put us over the $10,000 mark in total donations to the schools to date," Bramble said.

"It's been really great. We have schools that tell us they have been able to send kids to band camps because of this. Others have bought instruments or music, and Storm Lake was able to get some badly-needed

new music stands.

Admission is $5 at the door. There are no advance tickets, and ticket sales are cash only to speed the donation process. The pork dinner, tacos-in-a-bag and refreshments are available on site for a small charge.