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Home-grown talent

Rockwell City variety show gives stage to a wide range of performers

September 24, 2012
By JOE SUTTER ( , Messenger News

ROCKWELL CITY -For at least one afternoon, some Calhoun County residents stepped away from their TVs and were entertained by local talent.

There was no panel of judges and no prizes given out - just a showcase of what folks from the area can do. No established bands showed up. This was a place for all levels of talent, from kids in their second year of piano lessons to seasoned veterans of other area singing groups.

A good-sized crowd sat at tables or in the stands in the old gymnasium in the Calhoun County Museum, which was once a school. Seventeen performers sang, played piano or told stories on the stage at one end of the room.

"This stage needs to be used more than it is," said event organizer Dorothy Talbott. All the stage curtains were recently replaced or repaired, she said, at the stage is in good shape. That was one reason she wanted to hold the show.

"I just wanted to show there is a lot of musical talent in Calhoun County," she said. "A variety of talent, not just musical."

Talbott said she was very happy with the turnout.

The oldest performer was Tom Meusburger, of Lytton.

How long has he been singing?

"About 100 years," he joked.

He wasn't all that far off. Meusburger is 93, and he began learning to sing and play guitar when he was 10 years old.

"Radio was a really new thing when I was 10," he said. "I just loved those cowboy singers who would sing and play guitar. I made up my mind I was going to learn to play guitar."

Meusburger also writes stories. His grandson Chris Meusburger read one of them, about the early days of threshing.

Ashley Stradberg, age 10, played a piano solo. She said it was pretty different to play for an audience this size.

"I did feel nervous," she said. "I just try to pretend the people aren't there."

Stradberg has been taking lessons for about two years now.

Talbott said she's been working on getting a show together since last May, but for a while she had trouble finding people.

"Last week or so we finally got all the contestants," she said.

The museum will be closing at the first of October, she said, because it is hard to keep the old building heated. Until then hours are 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday. Tours will still be available upon request after the museum closes by calling (712) 297-8139.



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