Friday evening, Lon and I parked in the Beloit Ironworks Building parking lot and entered the fairly recently remodeled Beloit Corporation building. Lon had been in the building previously so I followed his lead to the elevator.
We were surprised to see half a dozen fellows who appeared to be in their twenties standing beside the elevator door. I had expected to be amongst an older crowd that evening. We rode up the elevator with them, listening to their small talk and laughter. We would later see them again, not as members of the audience but playing the parts of Buddy Holly, his drummer and bass player-the Crickets, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens.
All along the inner walls of the Ironworks building, abstract wall hangings created with all shapes and sizes of paper machine patterns decorated the walls. My father had been a pattern maker in this very location. I was fascinated with the artwork and with being in this place. Everything about the location was classy, from the flooring to the expanse of glass that separated the space into the businesses housed within.
Lon and I sat at a table for two for dinner and the show. The buffet dinner, catered by Best Events, exceeded our expectations as did the performance. The show is described on the Wisconsin Theatreworks show card as follows: On February 3rd, 1959, the man who changed the face of popular music tragically died in a plane crash at the age of 22. Now, Buddy The Buddy Holly Story tells the story of the three years in which he became the world's top recording artist with a show that features over 20 of Buddy Holly's greatest hits.
The show took place on a small yet perfectly designed stage and stage setting while the audience were seated on chairs at tables in a fairly good sized room yet intimate in mood. The familiar songs sung and accompanied by the voices and instruments of the performers on stage reminded me of times long ago. The music, the upbeat tempo, the joy of those times for Buddy and indeed for all of his world wide fans provided an enjoyable experience I'd venture to say for all who were present. Inevitably, the death of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens in that small plane that crashed in Iowa was remembered and we once again felt the horror of the terribly unfortunate accident and the deaths of three larger than life young men.
We left the building with the rock 'n roll music again playing in our ears and the bittersweet memories of the world's losses mingling with the unforgettable songs.
I thank radio station WGEZ, The True Oldies Channel, 1490 on your radio dial here in Beloit, Wisconsin. I won the tickets by answering a question regarding Buddy Holly posed by Robert Anthony, the early morning show disc jockey.