Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Tour member says show carries on legacy of Welk

By CHUCK CLEMENT, The Daily Republic, Mitchell, SD


A member of the musical group that performs the “‘Live’ Lawrence Welk Show 2003” said she is excited to be a part of the tour because it gives members a chance to carry on the legacy of Welk, whose champagne music impacted the nation for decades.

Ralna English, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was a cast member of Welk’s television show and will sing gospel and patriotic songs and old standards from the 1930s and 1940s when the “Live” show comes to the Mitchell Corn Palace March 5.

English and other original cast members from “The Lawrence Welk Show” will entertain the audience with music, singing and dance numbers during a two-hour show, starting at 7 p.m.

“Lawrence Welk loved every minute when he performed in front of an audience,” English said. “His enthusiasm rubbed off on all the other entertainers who were part of his show. On these tours, we’re trying to carry on with his achievements.”

Other entertainers from Welk’s television show who will perform include tap dancer Jack Imel, dancer Mary Lou Metzger, country singer Ava Barber, singer and musician Dick Dale and jazz clarinetist Henry Cuesta. The Lawrence Welk Orchestra, from Branson, Mo., will provide music during the tour.

Several artists who did not appear on Welk’s show - including Russian dancers Pasha and Iliona and accordionist Tim Padilla - also will join the tour.

English plans to sing “I’ll Be Seeing You” and perform “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” accompanied by Cuestra.

Mark Schilling, Corn Palace director, said the auditorium has seating for 2,000 people. If needed, the seating could be increased to 3,000 people.

Tickets cost $32.50.

The 2003 tour will honor Welk’s 100th birthday on March 11 during a performance in Salt Lake City, Utah. He died May 17, 1992, in Santa Monica, Calif.

Welk and his orchestra appeared at the Corn Palace on five occasions. His musical variety show was aired on network television from 1955 to 1982. Reruns of “The Lawrence Welk Show” are aired on 277 public television stations and watched by about 2.5 million people each week.




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