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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Hank Williams tribute

Monday, November 25, 2002

Gayville Hall presents "A Celebration of Hank Williams," starring John and Susan McNeill, Nick Schwebach, and Owen Dejong, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 30, at the Lauridsen Performing Arts Theatre of the Lakes Art Center, 2201 Highway 71, in Okoboji.

John McNeilI sings the majority of the Hank Williams' songs in the show, plays drums, guitar, harmonica and banjo, and weaves a commentary about Williams' life and music between the numbers.

The tribute concert was conceived by McNeill, who is emcee and a star performer at Gayville Hall, a one-and -a-half year old music hall in Gayville, South Dakota.

The show attracted standing-room-only crowds in Gayville and at the Grand Opera House in Dell Rapids, S.D. It has also been presented twice at the Belbas Theatre in Sioux Falls. The performance at the Lauridsen Theatre will be the show's Iowa premiere.

"The theatre is a beautiful venue, and everyone loves the songs of Hank Williams," said Gayville Hall producer Doug Sharples.

McNeill teaches at the state prison in Springfield, S.D., and is one of South Dakota's most prolific songwriters. Susan McNeill also sings several tunes in the Williams' tribute and plays bass. They have performed together with their family band or as a duo for more than two decades.

Nick Schwebach, who plays steel guitar and sings several songs during the show, founded the popular South Dakota band Poker Alice.

Acclaimed fiddler Owen Dejong has played in Poker Alice for a decade and a half and was with The Travelin' Band of Nashville during the 1980s. By day, he is classical music director at South Dakota Public Radio.

Dejong and Schwebach have performed together 23 years. They regularly tour in the Comfort Theatre Company's production of "Always, Patsy Cline."

For tickets to the Hank Williams tribute, call the art center at 712-332-7013 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or from I to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and ask for the box office.

The cost of an advance reserved seat is $13.75. Admission at the door on the evening of the performance will cost $15.