History here has seldom been as fun as it’s going to be Jan. 22 when we present “Dig it! The Music of the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s”

JEFFERSON, Iowa, Jan. 12, 2022 — On Saturday night, Jan 22, the Greene County Historical Society presents another program in our series that complements our exhibit “Dig it! The 1950s, ’60s & ’70s” that opened last summer at our museum here.

But this new program “Dig it! The Music of the 1950s, ’60s & ’70s” might well be one of the most unusual historical events the organization has ever offered.

Six of the most popular musicians from the Des Moines area are collaborating on a 90-minute concert of the most significant songs of the 30-year period of history being featuring.  It will be staged — free! — at the History Boy Theatre in the back of the RVP 1875 vintage furniture shop. 115 S. Wilson Avenue in Jefferson.

The musicians are led by veteran rock and blues artist Heath Patschull, on saxophones and guitars.  Others are Kevin King on guitar, Todd Mason on both electric and stand-up bass, Joe LeValley and Tim Hammett alternating on drums, and Jefferson native Tanner Taylor on keyboard.

Band leader Heath Pattschull has been starring in bands since he was a high school student in Cedar Falls, and played with the Blue Band for 15 years. In more recent years he’s led his own Heath Alan Band, which played the Bell Tower Festival in Jefferson a few years ago. Pattschull is early-retired from a teaching career in which he served as work experience coordinator for special needs students in the Ankeny and then Johnston schools.

In a story next week, we’ll share highlights of our recent conversations with all the band members about their careers and their perspectives on how the music the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s brought major changes to our lives and culture.

At the Jan. 22 concert, the History Boy Theatre crew, led by founder & artistic director Robby Pedersen, will have concessions for sale.  And those attending are welcome to bring their own beer or wine.

The historical society strongly encourages those in the audience to wear masks for two reasons: 1) All will be safer with COVID still lurking in our area, and 2) you’ll be less hesitant to sing along – even loudly – if your face is half-covered!

The costs of the event are being underwritten by four sponsors – Jefferson Telecom, Bett & Bev’s BBQ, Deal’s Orchard and the news & opinion internet site Offenburger.com.

Tanner Taylor, who will play keyboard in the concert here, is recognized as one of the best jazz pianists in the Midwest. Taylor is a 1999 graduate of Jefferson-Scranton High School. He and his wife and three children live in the Des Moines area. He now plays regularly from Des Moines to the Twin Cities and Kansas City, but he’s also performed across the nation and beyond.  (This photo is from his page on Facebook.)
Guitar player and singer Kevin King, a native of Sioux Falls, So. Dak., has been based in Des Moines and leading the rock band “Hot Rod Chevy Kevy” for more than 40 years. That band has played back-up for some of the best-known rock stars, including playing with Chuck Berry for a crowd of 30,000 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Bass player Todd Mason grew up in Gowrie, Ia., and earlier in his life lived in Jefferson. He now lives in Ankeny and has become one of the top bass players in the Des Moines area.
Joe LeValley, a native of Dayton, Ia., graduated in journalism from Drake University, later earned an MBA at the University of Iowa, wrote for newspapers in Boone and Mason City, then started a 30-year career as a communications and management executive in healthcare, retiring in 2018 as a vice-president in the MercyOne system in Des Moines. And get this — he struggled 20 years with completing a crime novel he was writing, but after retirement, finished it, saw it published and has now written three more!  LeValley, who now lives in Waukee, has been a drummer touring with rock ‘n’ roll bands since his college years. He’ll be sharing the drums at the concert in Jefferson.
Also playing drums here will be Tim Hammett, also of Waukee. He was born in Memphis, raised in Chattanooga “and very much steeped in music from a very early age, like 10 or 11. In fact, the drum set I’ll be playing in Jefferson will be the same set my mother bought me back in 1966 when I was starting out.” He had another career, though — serving 25 years as a pastor ordained in a Canada-based Presbyterian Church, serving congregations on the East Coast, West Coast and in the United Kingdom.
The evolving list of songs the band will play at the “Dig it!” concert in Jefferson.

 

Bopping during rehearsals in the garage of band leader Heath Pattschull in Des Moines.
A busy Pattschull — organizing, writing, playing and leading.
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