Area musicians, venues to be inducted at MAMA Hall of Fame Event Oct. 23

Thursday, October 21, 2021

REMSEN — Hall of fame musicians and venues will be featured in Remsen Saturday, Oct. 23, as part of the Midwest All Music Association's Western Iowa 2021 Hall of Fame Inductee Event at the Avalon Ballroom.

Bands and musicians to be inducted are The Embers; The Expressions; The Senders; and Mike Langley.

The Avalon Ballroom and the Siouxland Musical History Museum in Sioux City and its curator, Phil Newby, will be inducted as venues for music.

The Iowa Rock & Roll Music Association (IRRMA) will be inducted under the music association heading, while two individuals, Tom Golden and Tim Tourville will also be inducted.

Sponsors for the event are the Avalon Ballroom and Oleson/Halweg American Legion Post 125 of Merrill.

The Midwest All Music Association or MAMA, is an organization that was formed to acknowledge all genres of music throughout the heartland, not just rock 'n roll and country. Its mission is to recognize, remember, and honor the people and places that have had an impact on the music in Iowa.

Dan Ruden of Le Mars is a member of the board of directors for MAMA, and a member of The Jammers, a Le Mars/Sioux City band that was inducted into the hall of fame in 2018. The first hall of fame induction was in 2015.

"It's not just rock and roll, it's all music," Ruden said as he noted well-known opera singer Simon Estes, as well as harpist Susan Sinnett, Des Moines Director Joseph Giunta and blues artist Ernie Peniston as previous inductees.

"Rock and roll is kind of the majority of what it is because that's more prevalent. They have more shows, than a harpist, for example," he said.

"We'll play anywhere," he added, referring to rock and roll bands.

He pointed out that inductee Mike Langley is a great guitar player, and toured Europe with his brother when he was younger for about 10 years. Langley teaches guitar at Western Iowa Tech and Morningside College, and performs either solo or with several fellow music veterans.

“Because we want to expand and cover the whole state, they've added to the board a few years ago. We were going to have one last year and then COVID hit. We had it all set up with Dean (Rhodes) at the Avalon and then of course we had to cancel both events, eastern Iowa and western Iowa,” Ruden said.

This year two events are being held, with the eastern Iowa induction held Oct. 2 at the Ponderosa Ballroom in Walford.

“We are not sure if we will do one a year, alternate and go back and forth or do two a year. We don't want to saturate but we want people to get to know the name and recognize the musicians and the talent in the area,” he continued.

Ruden points to area bands such as Spectacle and The Jags, both of which have been inducted to the MAMA Hall of Fame.

“I played with The Jags the year they got inducted, and was a good friend of Dave Puetz, who recently passed away, they toured on the Dick Clark tour,” Ruden said. “Iowa is known for rock and roll, that's why IRRMA, the Iowa Rock and Roll Music Association, is so popular. It's a good thing.”

Two of the men who started MAMA are former board members of IRRMA. They are Tom Golden, the CEO, and Hal Huntsinger, who is also an IRRMA inductee.

“They just wanted to recognize everybody,” Ruden said. “It’s a nice organization. We donated to the schools, Le Mars Community and Gehlen."

Golden noted he created MAMA for that purpose. In the event's program booklet, Golden said, "I had for a while wanted to create an association that honored all genres of music and also give monies back to music booster organizations to assist middle and high school students in their pursuit of music. With MAMA, we have been able to accomplish this."

Ruden indicated depending on how the event in Remsen goes, donations will be made to the two schools in Remsen.

Doors open at 3 p.m. with the induction ceremony commencing at 4 p.m., emceed by Big Daddy of Classic Rock 99.5. Immediately following the induction, there will be a "Meet & Greet" at which fans and friends can meet the bands for autographs and merchandise.

The dance and show will begin at 6 p.m., featuring the inducted bands, including a performance by 2018 Hall of Fame inductees, The Jammers.

Evening performance will feature Mike Langley, The Embers, The Senders, The Expressions and concludes with The Jammers.

The three bands to be inducted have been a part of the tri-state music scene for decades, and have performed many times in the local area. The Senders began playing in 1962. The Expressions were founded in 1967. The Embers Band was formed in 1984.

The Avalon Ballroom opened on Labor Day 1937, and hosted nearly 800 people on that day. Over the decades, the Avalon drew hundreds of visitors each week for its Thursday night dance. It also became one of the top western Iowa stops for traveling musicians, earning it induction into the Iowa Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.