Peter Yarrow of folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, will take the NPAC stage on Oct. 4 as part of the Community Concert Series. (Submitted photo)
Peter Yarrow of folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, will take the NPAC stage on Oct. 4 as part of the Community Concert Series. (Submitted photo)

VAN WERT — The Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio is working toward finalizing its schedule for next season; we now have a glimpse of the season with the release of the Community Concert Series which has been a tradition in Van Wert since the 1950s.

These days the series is only a part of the full NPAC schedule, but tickets can be purchased for all six Community Concert Series shows for as low as $60 each. These shows will be presented on dates this October and in March and April of 2015. Performers for the Select Series will be announced later this summer.

The 61st season of Community Concert offerings begin with an Oct. 4 show with the Annie Moses Band. The group of musicians is really family with a sound all their own which they call chamber pop, a mix of classical, jazz, and pop blended with a country sound. Don’t be surprised to hear the band members play everything from Classical to Bluegrass as they wow the audience with an exciting show.

A musical legend will present the next concert in the series. On Thursday, Oct. 4, Peter Yarrow of the iconic folk group Peter, Paul, and Mary, will take the stage for an evening of familiar songs and interesting stories. NPAC Executive Director Paul Hoverman described, “Take a stroll down memory lane to when ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ was first created and delight in the soothing songs of Yarrow and Mustard Retreat, his friend-filled band. As an advocate of ‘anti-bullying,’ Yarrow will also share his encouraging platform on that issue with students as part of his visit to Van Wert. Support of the Community Concerts affords this worthwhile cause that impacts communities through the arts.”

Ready for something different? The Oct. 13 show takes you south, all the way to the island of Cuba. The music will come from the group Habañeros, a string quartet with clarinet. The music will combine classical and Cuban music with the band members in authentic Cuban garb with a digital background with scenes of Cuba. The experience will be unique and beautiful.

The tune changes when the Community Concert Series resumes March 8, 2015. Two familiar faces will star in a classic show. Hal Linden, best known as television’s Barney Miller, and Barbara Eden, best known as television’s Jeannie from “I Dream of Jeanie take the stage in the play “Love Letters.” According to Hoverman the play is “about two people who grow up in love with each other’s writing. ‘Love Letters’ shows that, despite how things seem, what divides people is rarely as powerful as what connects them.” These two audience favorites will star in the presentation on Sunday afternoon, March 8.

The bodybuilding concert pianist returns to Van Wert on March 22, when Leon Bates brings his incredible talent and artistry back to the NPAC stage. Bates played here in 2009 when he appeared with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. This time, he will also be offering a master’s class and seminar of African-American composers and their contributions to American music.

The Series wraps up on April 14, 2015 with high-energy excitement generated by the StepCREW. Six dynamic dancers combine traditional and modern dance styles into this unique show. Hoverman stated, “Masters of three exhilarating dance styles: Ottawa Valley stepdance, Irish stepdance and tap, this new show takes you on a journey with some of the finest dancers and musicians in the Celtic music scene today. The StepCREW delivers a show of both brilliant visual and musical display.

Ticket prices for the series sell for $60 for balcony seating, $75 for mezzanine seating or $100 for orchestra seating for these six shows.

The 2014-15 Community Concert Series is presented by Vancrest Healthcare Centers. Supporting sponsors are Delphos Hearing Aid Center, Central Insurance Companies, Taylor Auto Sales, Slusher’s Jewelry and Van Wert County Hospital. Season sponsors for 2014-15 season are StateWide Ford Lincoln and Van Wert Federal Savings Bank.