Fundraiser set Sunday for Memorial Opera House
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent July 7, 2014 8:50PM
Updated: July 9, 2014 2:04AM
VALPARAISO — In an ongoing bid to increase its financial self-sufficiency and lessen its reliance on money from Porter County, the Memorial Opera House is hosting a fundraiser Sunday featuring local bands and beer and food vendors.
“Rock the House,” featuring 17 acts, starts at 1 p.m. and will continue until about 11 p.m. at the opera house, 104 Indiana Ave. Advance tickets for the all-ages music festival are $10 per person and $15 per couple. Information and tickets are available at (219) 548-9137 or www.memorialoperahouse.com.
Businesses wishing to donate to a silent auction or provide other support should call (219) 465-3554. Items up for bid in the silent auction include two Fender Squire Stratocasters.
“All the bands are volunteering their time, and we’re completely staffing it with volunteers. The outpouring of people who wanted to perform on our stage was wonderful,” said Michelle Smith, the opera house’s business director.
The idea, a first for the opera house, came about during a staff meeting as a collaboration between Smith and Stretch Miller, the opera house’s audio engineer, who has contact with many local musicians.
The opera house was built in 1893 as a memorial to Civil War veterans, and its upkeep can be costly. Work in recent years has included masonry repairs, a new roof and gutter repairs.
Within a couple of hours of Miller posting a request for bands to perform at a fundraiser for the opera house, 75 bands expressed interest if they could fit it into their schedules.
“The response was just so amazing. We were like, ‘we’ve got to do this,’ ” Smith said, adding that she thought about holding the event over two days because of the response, but the opera house’s schedule was booked up.
The 17 acts scheduled to perform, in order, are Mac McElhaney; BB & the Players (members of the Opera House orchestra); Ronn Barnary; the Nick Danger Band; Nicole Jamrose & Mark Soljacich; Big Top; Charles Burton; Firepoint; Andrew Cyprian; Buck Daddy; Chris Grove; Billy O.; Ripley Street; the Darren Enlo Band; Dreamz; M.O.B. and Stonewave.
Broadway Music, of Merrillville, is donating backline stage gear so bands will not have to set up and take down between sets. Miller said the afternoon celebrity master of ceremonies is Buddy Devil of the Lounge Devils, and the evening MC is Lakeshore Public Radio personality Tom Lounges.
A full bar will be available inside the opera house. Figure 8 Brewing will have a beer garden outside, and Ben’s Pretzels and Valpo Vienna will sell food outside as well.