MAMA Hall of Fame induction set at Avalon

Thursday, October 20, 2022

REMSEN — The Avalon Ballroom in Remsen will be the site for the 2022 Midwest. All Music Association (MAMA) Hall of Fame induction.

MAMA is an organization formed to acknowledge all genres of music throughout the heartland (not just rock ‘n roll and country.)

MAMA recognizes, remembers and honors the people and places that have had an impact on the music in the Midwest. It’s a non-profit organization that donates generously to promote music education.

The 2022 inductees for the western Iowa event are:

• Individuals — Big Daddy; Cowboy Bob

• Bands — Starfire; Bob Merchant & The Shadows; Galaxy

Big Daddy hit the Sioux City airwaves in 2004, when Classic Rock 99.5 was born. He brings more than 30 years of radio experience to the Classic Rock 99.5 morning show.

Cowboy Bob Rounds has forgotten more about country music than most of us will ever know. He started his Broadcasting career in 1981 with Midwest Rodeo Sports Review. He was then hired on KMNS Radio that fall. He was on the original KSUX “Super Pig” staff in September 1990, and then helped start KOLK “Cat Country 102.3” in September 1995. Two years later, Cowboy Bob came back to KSUX. In 1997, Bob took over the position of Program Director and Mid-Day Personality, positions he still holds today.

In 1990, Cowboy Bob started “Nashville Nuggets…The Golden Age of Country.” Over the years, that has turned into “Sunday Morning Gold” and the “All Request Classic Cafe” both still running today.

All five members of the southwestern Minnesota band Starfire grew up listening to the songs which they now perform at various venues in the Upper Midwest. Specializing in nostalgic “golden oldies,” Starfire has been nominated for induction into the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, and has received the Performance Award from CJS Promotions for “keeping the music alive.” Their dances and shows have attracted a loyal following of “oldies” lovers from throughout the Upper Midwest.

Starfire was founded in 2001 to concentrate on performing music from the “golden age of Rock ‘n Roll.”

The band plays at casinos, public and private celebrations, classic car shows, county fairs and concerts.

Bob Merchant started playing in bands in 1964, and through the years has been in several bands. Since the early 2000s, it was officially Bob Merchant and the Shadows which consisted of Bob, Mark Scott, Cathy Sandage, and John Bekish. And 2022, Bob, Mark Scott, Cathy Sandage, and Billy Engel.

Galaxy Band was the brainchild of Armstrong school art instructor and drummer Jeffrey D. Speltz, a native of Cedar Rapids, and came together in 1982 with Jerry Behnkendorf as lead male vocalist, Darla Henriksen as lead female vocalist, Glenn Henriksen as keyboardist, and Mary Henriksen as bass guitarist.

Band members changed through the years, and the current roster of Galaxy Band members includes Jerry Behnkendorf, Glenn Henriksen, Donald Fausch, and Mark Kurseth. The band continues to play for dances and events, with their most active time being summers at Okoboji, as well as many other venues in the Upper Midwest, including the Clay County Fair in Spencer,and Stormin’ Norman’s in Waterbury, Nebraska. Galaxy is known as a variety band, with an emphasis on music of the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Doors at the Avalon Ballroom will open at 3 p.m., Saturday. Tickets are $20 per person and are available only at the door.

The induction ceremony will begin at 4 p.m., emceed by Big Daddy with an autograph and photo session immediately following at which fans and friends can meet with the inductees for autographs and merchandise.

There will be a break from 5-6 p.m., with food and beverages available.

At 6 p.m., the dance and show will begin and runs until 11 p.m., with 2018 inductees The Jammers from Le Mars performing, then Starfire, Mike Langley (2021 inductee who was sick last year) followed by Bob Merchant and The Shadows and Galaxy closing the night out.

Dan Ruden of Le Mars, and a member of The Jammers, is a MAMA board member.

He said the best part of being a board member is because of what MAMA represents.

“MAMA is unique in that it recognizes all types of music. Our first inductee was Simon Estes, Opera singer. It’s great to honor all types of musical talent from groups and instrumentalists and individual artists such as singers and those behind the scenes such as sound engineers, etc.,” he said.

“I especially like the fact that the money raised by MAMA is donated to schools in the area where our events are held to be used for middle school music programs. Last year MAMA donated $1,500 to the middle school programs in the two Remsen schools,” he added.

Ruden also said that for those inducted, it is an honor and a recognition of their contribution to music.

“I would hope it is a great honor for those inducted into MAMA’s Hall of Fame/ A lot of time and consideration is taken by the MAMA board each year to select, review and then vote to induct groups and individuals into the MAMA Hall of Fame,” he said.

Ruden hopes people from the area will take the opportunity to attend the event, which will offer good music and a fun time.

“I think anyone who enjoys music should be interested in coming to the event, first because it’s a really good time, Big Daddy does a great job hosting the event and is very entertaining, you get to honor the inductees, the Merrill Legion provides food that can be purchased which helps support them, there will be tons of great music to listen and dance to, and lastly the profits will be given to schools in the area to support their middle school music programs,” he said.

Ruden added the board would also like to thank the sponsors, the Merrill American Legion, Security National Bank of Sioux City and the Avalon Ballroom in Remsen.