THE SHELL ROCK MUSIC ASSOCIATION
In the fall of 1964, Iowa's Governor Hughes suggested that each Iowa community make an effort to welcome its teachers with a special program. Organized to provide the entertainment for Shell Rock's program, the vocal and instrumental group formed at that time became the Shell Rock Music Association.
The first show was staged in 1965 and played to Saturday afternoon and evening audiences. Except for 1986, 1988, 1989, and 2004, Spring Swing has been presented each year since.
Spring Swing 2010 will play 9 performances to a total of some four thousand people. Over the years, road shows have played at the Mental Health Institute, the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School at Vinton, for the Professional Developers of Iowa at the Red Fox Inn in Waverly, at the Electric Park Ballroom and Franklin County Fairgrounds for the Frederika State Bank, and in the Junior High Auditorium in Charles City for the Charles City Rotarians.
The basic show format has remained the same. A standard stage band and a mixed chorus support a series of center stage acts drawn from band and chorus members. A variety of musical styles include popular tunes of the day, golden oldies, and comedy acts.
Shell Rock's Boyd Building has been the "theater" since the beginning. Despite the limitations, the auditorium helps bring a Broadway feel to Main Street USA. The auditorium has recently been named "The Everson Auditorium" in recognition of Dale and Bev Everson's contributions to the Music Association and the community.
Each year stage and set are constructed from the floor up, then removed and stored after the show closes. Lighting and sound systems are designed, installed, maintained, and operated by area people. Most of the costumes are designed and constructed by cast members and show supporters.
As interest increased over the years, more and more people from surrounding communities joined the cast and crew. Spring Swing 2010 represents the work of members from 14 communities. Up to 70 singers have sung in the chorus. The band has varied in size up to 18 members. More than a hundred others are involved in behind the scenes support.
Proceeds have been donated to a variety of causes. The Shell Rock Fire and Police Departments, the Shell Rock Benny Gambaiani Library, Waverly-Shell Rock Schools, New Horizons low rent housing development, Sportsman's Club, Tennis Club, Food Closet, the Joe Harken Scholarship Fund, Scouts, American Legion have received substantial donations. Contributions have also been made to the Community Development Committee, Trees Forever, the Boyd Building, the purchase of street Christmas Decorations, the purchase of a water slide for the Shell Rock swimming pool, Parks Galore, Shell Rock Historical Society, Shell Rock Women's Club and Bremer County Historical Society.
Beyond Shell Rock, significant contributions have gone to the Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City, Bremer-Butler Hospice, Wartburg Community Symphony, Waverly Community Theater, Denver Jaws of Life Project, Bremer County Peace Officers Association, Waverly-Shell Rock High School's Project Graduation, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Jazz Hall Preservation Museum of New Orleans, LA .and Aplington-Parkersburg School Music Department.
One of the benefactors of proceeds from the show is The Shell Rock Community Trust. The Trust was incorporated in 1992 to create a permanent legacy for the financial support the Music Association has provided Shell Rock and surrounding communities. Realizing Spring Swing cannot continue indefinitely, income from the permanent trust will provide community support long after the Swing Show curtain closes for the last time. Distribution of the income from the trust will be made only from income generated by contributions to the trust. The tax-deductible contributions to the trust will never be invaded.
The production budget for the show ranges from ten to twelve thousand dollars annually and supports businesses in the Tri-B county areas by the purchase of music, construction, and costume materials. Area businesses and media have been exceptionally helpful in providing services and expertise to the production staff.
During the Swing Show, you will be hearing music from the Yamaha Clavinova. We want to thank those families who have donated money to make this purchase possible.
Beginning as a local project, Spring Swing has developed over 41 years into a much wider community effort.