Many turn out for original music showcase

By Jeff Smith

Come out tonight — And that is what the crowd did last Saturday night when Buffalo Grass and numerous other groups and individuals took to the stage to share their musical talent with the audience. Buffalo Grass, a new group within the last year, shared songs written by the group’s leader, Kim Plender. From left are Mark Pecora, Greg Johnson, Plender, Pieter Wouden and Katie Lautenschlager.

The “Black Hills Original Music Showcase” was a special event for the Hill City Arts Council. It was held at High Country Guest Ranch on Jan. 27.

The event was a ticketed event and featured outstanding performances from prominent local artists.

The event was a fundraiser for the Hill City Arts Council which will use some of the funds to support the community. There was a unique feeling that many felt and while everyone enjoys the regular Open Stage events, this one was special.

“Everyone had a great time,” said Rob Timm, president of the Hill City Arts Council.

One hundred and twenty people attended the event.

The event will be shown to the larger public as part of the “No Cover No Minimum” series on South Dakota Public Broadcasting. Timm said they will know in one to two weeks when the Hill City episode will be on the program.

Pegie Douglas, who has performed at the Open Stage events, was on stage last Saturday night with her new group “Aces & Eights Classic Country Music.”

She said the original showcase was great.

“There were lots of people. The food was fantastic. All of the musicians were high caliber,” Douglas said.

“It was an honor for Aces and Eights to be a part of it.”

There were 10 different acts throughout the night. Altogether, there were 17 people that went on stage. The people that performed there have grown as performers from being at the Open Stage events and other types of live music events in the area.

“Aces and Eights Classic Country Music” performed three songs. Every performer was able to be on stage for 12 minutes.

All the performers that were there were invited and they all performed original tunes. Douglas said that creating original music is very different but it’s nice to create something that appeals to the public.

“It’s very special when something you created is well received,” Douglas said.

Douglas has been playing with Kim Bachman and Harland Allen of Aces and Eights for only three weeks. She said she is still catching up. She said she was invited to play bass and didn’t pass up the opportunity.

She plans on going back to High Country Guest Ranch for more Open Stage events.

“I’m hoping to go to as many as I can,” Douglas said.

Chris and Rick VanNess were in charge of filming the event through their company Crow Ridge Productions.

“It went fabulous. Everything went really well,” Chris VanNess said.

“We have a lot of good shots.”

She said the crowd enjoyed the event and was pretty impressed with the talent that was there.

Altogether, there is about 15 hours of footage between five different cameras. Each camera captured different angles, shots of emcee Dan Dickey and various shots of the crowd.

Another five-camera production Crow Ridge Productions did was the Concert for Reconciliation of Cultures which was a Brulé concert.

Timm said they did a great job and he appreciates what they do.

Barbara Majchrzak, who owns High Country Guest Ranch with her husband John, said it was a really neat evening. She described it as being at a higher level of professionalism and class than regular events.

“It was fantastic. A beautiful evening,” Majchrzak said.

High Country Guest Ranch is hosting the Open Stage events for the second year.

Majchrzak said the program has grown and the Hill City Arts Council wanted another venue. The main thing that is needed for Open Stage is food, seating and a stage that is provided at High Country Guest Ranch.

Majchrzak said it was also special because it was a chance to see what is out in Hill City and what goes on in the winter.

Timm said the hope for the future is to have more elements to provide encouragement for performing artists, ways for them to work on their craft and give them more opportunities to be on stage so they can become more comfortable with the public.

Timm said it also gives the opportunity for the public to see these great artists.

Another program in conjunction with SDPB is possible in the future. Timm was thinking the event filmed on Jan. 27 might be a two-night program depending on the amount of footage.

VanNess thought that if there aren’t two different shows there will be several types of webcast videos.

The “Open Stage” series will continue with events at High Country in February and March. The remaining nights of performances are Feb. 10 and 24 and March 10 and 24.