Paul Hoverman
Paul Hoverman

With this past Saturday evening’s announcement of the 2014-15 Community Concert Series, the Jeannie is out of the bottle, so to speak. If you missed our announcement at Saturday’s Voices of Unity concert and season unveiling event, we announced that next year’s CCS stars Barbara Eden and Hal Linden in a production called Love Letters.

If you are a baby boomer or above in age, you certainly remember the two iconic TV shows these stars were a part of. Barbara Eden, although she also starred in other films and TV shows, is most well known as Jeannie from “I Dream of Jeannie,” starring herself and Larry Hagman, who later starred in the TV show “Dallas.” Most of you recall Jeannie for her wardrobe and the controversy it created in the run of shows from 1965-1970. Let’s just say that Larry Hagman was not the only man dreaming of Jeannie!

Hal Linden, of course, starred as Barney Miller in that crazy TV show of misfits set at a NYC Police precinct. Barney Miller actually had a longer run on TV than “I Dream of Jeannie.” Barney Miller ran from 1974-82. This smash TV hit featured many characters such as Abe Vigoda, Steve Landesberg, Gregory Sierra, and Barbara Barrie to mention just a few.

Love Letters stars Barbara and Hal as two stage characters who grew up together as friends at an early age. They share letters they wrote to each other over their lifetime. You will share funny moments as well as tenderhearted moments during this one-time Broadway show. And with legendary actors such as Eden and Linden, it will be a guaranteed winner for Van Wert.

As good as Love Letters will be, there are five additional concerts on the series that could be headliners in their own right. The Annie Moses Band has enjoyed such success that they have played everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the Grand ‘Ole Opry. A family that includes Julliard trained fiddlers, they have appeared on their own PBS special and have been seen many times locally on TV-44 out of Lima because of their spiritual influence in their lives and performances. Their lively performances certainly appeal to those of their own age to the more mature audience.

Peter Yarrow is another name all baby boomers know and love. As one third of the legendary folk group, “Peter, Paul & Mary,” he is responsible for songs that have been passed on through generations. Songs like “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “If I had a Hammer” are all a part of our lives because of “Peter, Paul & Mary.” Peter’s interest in anti-bullying has made him a national spokesperson on the subject and he will be sharing his message with students in addition to his public performance later in the evening.

In an effort to inform, inspire and entertain, we are proud to present the Habaneros from Cuba. A quartet of string players from the National Cuban Orchestra and a virtuosic clarinetist will perform classical music and lively native Cuban music as they share beautiful photos on our big screen of their homeland. This is a rare opportunity for us to learn about a land located just 93 miles from our United States coast, yet we know so little about their beautiful land, customs, culture and people. Come, be informed and enjoy some lively Cuban music performed by some of their finest musicians.

Concert Pianist, Leon Bates returns to Van Wert in a concert featuring Community Concert’s own Baldwin SD 10 concert grand piano. Bates combines two rather peculiar traits: bodybuilding and concert pianist. This may be one of the reasons he is one of my favorite concert pianists. His music really comes to life because of his physical strength. Bates is also a leading speaker on the subject of African-American composers and their influence on American music. You will enjoy his talk on this subject as well as his virtuosic piano playing. If you love “Stomp,” you will love The StepCrew. They complete the new CCS in a dazzling and exciting show of dance and music, with a bit of Celtic flavor. I first saw them at the Dublin, Ohio Irish Fest when they first got started a few short years ago. They will have the audience exhausted just watching them perform. This show will excite young people with their high energy music and dance. It is definitely a winner to close our season with.

Now for the best news; all six shows can be purchased for as little as $60! This year, we are scaling the house and details can be found on-line at or by calling or visiting the Niswonger box office. FINE