by Yvonne Hollenbeck for the Tri-State Livestock News; 2017
When you gather a group of the finest musicians and vocalists in the tri-state area and present them on the stage of the beautiful Historic Homestake Opera House at Lead, South Dakota, the results are a presentation of one of the most outstanding Christmas programs of the season.
Under the co-direction of popular cowboy singer, Paul Larson and the executive director of the opera house, Sarah Carlson, this celebration has grown from the idea of hosting an old-fashioned concert and dance to what is now a “must see” event that was presented to a sold-out crowd of 1,000 attendees.
In addition to Paul Larson, the impressive lineup of entertainers included the internationally famous fiddle champ, Kenny Putnam, who now makes his home at Rapid City; star instrumentalist and former member of “A South Dakota Acoustic Christmas,” Boyd Bristow of Sioux Falls; singer/songwriter Jami Lynn of Rapid City; outstanding bassist and vocalist, Chet Murray, also of Rapid City; talented and versatile pianist, Connie Hubbard of Spearfish; cowboy singer, songwriter and poet, Robert “JingleBob” Dennis of Red Owl; Allen and Jill Kirkham, the award-winning singing duo from Custer; Clearfield ranchwife and poet, Yvonne Hollenbeck (myself); and adding her beautiful voice to the mix was co-anchor, Sarah Carlson. Chuck Larsen of Hulett, Wyoming very capably handled the emcee duties and added some of his cowboy poetry to the program. Following the evening performance, many folks enjoyed an old-time cowboy dance with music by the ever popular “Wilt Brothers Band” of Rapid City.
South Dakota is blessed to have a facility such as the Homestake Opera House, and a visit to this unique facility is an attraction that is second to none. In 1914, the building was constructed as a social and cultural center by philanthropist and owner of the Homestake Mining Company, Phoebe Hearst, following the death of her husband, mining magnate George Hearst (father to William Randolph Hearst). The elaborate building boasted a library, a 1,000 seat theater, and featured a heated indoor swimming pool, a billiards hall, six-lane bowling alley, smoking room, social hall and more. This magnificent building was literally the heart of hills until 1984, when the theater portion of the building was nearly destroyed by fire. After sitting empty for 11 years, plans began for renovation of the building with the addition of many modern amenities and it is now home to a first class theatre program providing musicals, adult comedy plays and children’s shows year-round. An ongoing and successful fundraising program has made it possible for the continuation of restoration and improvements, which includes the new Interpretive Center exhibit that opened in May, 2016.
The beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota is indisputably one of the top vacation destinations in America, and a trip to that area would not be complete without a visit to the historic Homestake Opera House, better known as the “Jewel of the Black Hills,” or attending one of the many first-class productions in this beautiful facility including the annual Black Hills Cowboy Christmas concert and dance. For a list of upcoming events, visit http://www.HomestakeOperaHouse.org or call 605-584-2067 for ticket information or to schedule an official tour of the whole building, including the interpretive center and the swimming pool.
Jason Erickson, member of the Homestake Opera House and the unbelievably enthusiastic youth team from Celebration Methodist Church in Brandon, SD visited the Black Hills right before summer hit and spent 4 hours in the building... they swept, dusted, moved a ton of chairs, climbed ladders, toured, laughed, sweated, and shared their life experiences with us. THANK YOU so much for being so generous with your gifts of time and talent. http://www.celebrationbrandon.org/
TOP: Jason Erickson (on the ladder) and another volunteer of he Celebration Methodist Church in Brandon, SD pose while in the basement office section of the Homestake Opera House. Lots of woodwork to dust!
ABOVE: Phelan Scherer and his dad, HHOH board member Dave Scherer, pose with the posse of building/cleaning volunteers who visited from Celebration Church in Brandon, SD.
It's the 10th year of the Black Hills Cowboy Christmas Concerts & Dance
– one of the area’s most highly anticipated events of the year.
Nearly 1,500 guests travel from across the region
to enjoy 15 award-winning musicians, singers, and storytellers
from SD, WY, and MT.
The lineup for the concerts and dance is always packed with talent and new additions to each annual show.
This year’s award-winning performer lineup includes:
Paul Larson, co-organizer and cowboy musician of Rochford, SD
Kenny Putnam, South Dakota fiddler champion, Rapid City, SD
Boyd Bristow, singer/guitarist/songwriter of Sioux Falls, SD
Trinity Seely, singer/guitarist/songwriter of Cascade, MT
Jami Lynn, Black Hills singer/songwriter, Spearfish, SD
Chet Murray, singer/pianist/bassist of Rapid City, SD
Chuck Larsen, emcee and cowboy poet/comedian of Hulett, WY
Yvonne Hollenbeck, champion cowgirl poet of Clearfield, SD
Sarah Carlson, co-organizer and vocalist of Lead, SD
Dance: The Wilt Brothers Band of Rapid City, SD
Our stage is a sight to behold, filled with 30 majestic towering ponderosa pines and white aspens, plus performers and instruments –
including our Yamaha grand piano.
Tickets are available now for $35 to $50 each.
Saturday, Dec. 14 matinee at 2:00 pm.
Saturday, Dec. 14 evening show at 7:30 pm
with down-home country music dance by
The Wilt Brothers and members of the cast.
Sunday, Dec. 15 matinee show at 2:00 pm.
The event is sponsored by Coeur Wharf Mining; Ketel Thorstenson, LLC; First Gold Hotel & Casino; KEVN Black Hills Fox TV; Jim & Janice Clarkson; Black Hills Badlands Tourism Assoc.; and the SD Arts Council through the SD Department of Tourism and the National Endowment for the Arts.
All concerts are held at the Homestake Opera House,
313 W. Main St., in Lead.For more information, please visit www.HomestakeOperaHouse.org or call 605-584-2067.