Music on Seneca

The forecast looks good. The talent is local. Plus, your favorite saloon drinks and food are close at hand. It all adds up to Music on Seneca.

-Messenger photo by Robert. E. Oliver
Greg Olson, who, with his wife, Tami, own Webster City's Seneca Street Saloon, are excited about the potential of "Music on Seneca," a new event taking place for the first time Friday evening from 7 to 9 p.m., to bring people downtown for an evening of entertainment. Bring your own lawn chair to see and hear a wide range of local musical talent, both instrumental and vocal. There is no charge for the event.

WEBSTER CITY — Have you noticed? There’s more and more live music in Webster City.

We already have singing at Webster City Community Theatre. Band and choir concerts and plays at the middle and high schools. The annual Variety Show– always good, but especially so this year — and the stunning Christmas show put on by the Community Chorus last November. These indoor events have a long tradition in town, and would be conspicuous by their absence.

Now, with fine summer weather in the offing, Market Nights aren’t the only opportunity to hear live music outdoors in Webster City.

On Friday night, Seneca Street will be closed between Bank and Division streets in front of the Seneca Street Saloon, for an evening of free live music.

Grab a lawn chair and head downtown.

Webster City has no proper outdoor stage, so Marcia and John Hawkins built one from salvaged lumber just for this event. Eric Hanson painted the stage, and Jake Pulis of P&P Electric is providing a huge American flag for the backdrop. Outdoor electrical outlets, installed by the Saloon last year, will power lights and the sound system.

The local band, Humble Beginnings, will play “everything from mid-70s classic rock, country and pop to songs you’ll hear today,” according to Dane Barner, who’ll be on acoustic guitar. He’ll be joined by Eric Hanson on drums, Kirk Greenley on bass, Lane Jahn on electric guitar, and Greta Nelson on keyboard.

The band will perform from 7 to 9 p.m.

Jahn, who’s from Ames, and Barner were classmates at the University of Northern Iowa and kept in touch after college, playing music together at every opportunity. They performed during RAGBRAI’s overnight stop in Webster City in July 2021.

It was then that Webster City High School vocal music teacher Greta Nelson joined them as vocalist, and Jahn thought up the band’s low-key name.

Also on tap, in their premiere performance, are a new trio made up of Jayce Abens (bass, electric guitar and piano); Tucker Murray (vocalist), and Colton Wood, also on guitar. All three are 2022 graduates of Webster City High School. They’ll play a set of four songs: “Starting Over” by Chris Stapleton; Nine Ball” and “Revival,” both by Zach Bryan, and two renditions of “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty.

Live music is having a moment in Webster City, but it’s been a long time coming.

Hanson, a born-and-raised Webster Citian, explained: “Years ago, I felt like we lived in a music desert. Over the past 24 years, though, things have steadily gotten better. Today, Webster City has never had more local talent, and they’re getting together to play.”

Hanson correlates a strong local music scene to encouraging musical talent from a young age, citing the Spotlight live concerts at Prem Sahai Auditorium.

“They got me excited about music in my own life.”

Both Hanson and Barner are quick to praise Dave Parrott, who’ll be running the sound board for the show. Parrott was a professor of sound technology at Mount San Jacinto College in Hemet, California, before he and his family moved to Webster City in 2022.

“You just can’t put on a live music show without proper sound mixing and balance,” Hanson said. “For years, it was the missing link in our local music scene. Thanks to Dave, our musicians now sound like they should.”

Barner heartily agreed, adding: “Dave’s so talented, and so giving of his time. He’s a treasure.”

Tami and Greg Olson, owners of Seneca Street Saloon are unofficial hosts for the event.

Greg Olson said, “Last year we held an event at the Saloon, working with Greta Nelson to raise money for new robes for the high school choirs. It was a bigger success, and more popular, than any of us expected.

“Now, we’re taking it outside to the street, so more people can enjoy the music.”


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