Congratulations to all that helped make
"Opry at the Sami 2" a great success! Despite a weather forecast
that would scare an "ice road trucker", More than 600 people
joined together to experience a tremendous night of
entertainment. To the guest artists, members of the all star
band, our own Mini Pearl, ushers, ticket takers and many others
too numerous to name, THANK YOU!. To the advertisers in our
program, THANK YOU! Please give them your business. A special
thanks to Jim Howard for all his work. Without it, "Opry at the
Sami" wouldn't happen.
Because of Opry 2, we're more than $6,000 closer to our goal.
Also, the Mini-Wakan story has once again been shared.
AT THE SAMI HUGE SUCCESS
Area musicians played to a packed house
of country music fans during the “Opry at the Sami” on January
24, helping in a massive fund-raising effort to restore and
renovate Mini-Wakan State Park’s shelter house. Held in
conjunction with the University of Okoboji’s Winter Games, the
event took place at the recently completed Sami Bedell Center
for the Performing Arts in Spirit Lake.
“The show was a colossal success,” said Jim Howard, organizer of
the event. “This demonstration of community support will really
help us with the Mini-Wakan project.”
Restoration and renovation of the shelter house is expected to
cost $1 million. The Spirit Lake Protective Association’s Mini-Wakan
Committee is spearheading the effort to raise the needed funds
through grants and outright contributions. All proceeds from the
concert, more than $14,000, will benefit the shelter house
“We can’t thank our performers enough for donating their time
and talent,” Howard said. “Members of the committee, Sami Center
personnel, Spirit Lake School administrators, the Winter Games
Committee, students, the media, and the appreciative audience –
so many groups and individuals contributed to the success of
this project,” he added.
The Grand Ole Opry style country music show featured Emcee
Rhonda Wedeking and Opry All Stars band members Steven O.
Samuelson, Sr., Don Demers, Maury Muhm, Nate Newhouse, Jon
Johnson, Bryon Kittleson and Billye Jane Kruse in company with
performers Melinda (Mel) Kimblad, Gloria Wieneke, Wes Mager,
Maceylyn Rossow, Harold Van Der Sloot, Dallas Clark, Dennis
Wienke, and the Jessie James Band.
In addition to Howard who planned, produced, coordinated and
performed in the event, others who were instrumental in its
success included Gary Heady and his students Jesse Miller, Alex
Waltz, Alyssa Bainbridge and Ethan Wilson; stage sound
technician Rob Rickman, on stage assistant Gretchen Graff, prop
design and construction engineer Allan Duus, cosmetologist Karen
Holst, sales promotion chair Norm Meinking, and Mini-Wakan
Committee Chairman Joe Ulman.
School Superintendent Doug Latham and Sami Center Director Terry
Miller authorized use of the world class performing arts center.
The Light of the Lakes Friends Church provided the rehearsal
site for the performers. Winter Games Chairperson Molly
Gildemeister and the Winter Games Committee included the program
as an addition to the 29th Annual University of Okoboji Winter