Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Winter Dance Party


Despite the near zero weather, 40 'Bird members and friends made their way to the Willowbrook Ballroom in Willow Springs. It was a sell out with 1,100 in attendance. It was the scene of the Winter Dance Party 5Oth Anniversary, which was a tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper who all tragically died in a private plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa in 1959. What a great show they presented — while we snacked on pizza, nachos, hot dogs, popcorn etc., they each, in their own style, brought us back to the our high school days (at least some of us). Some of our "younger members" had only heard of these performers, but still enjoyed the special evening. Many of us took to the dance floor and danced to the ever so familiar melodies such as Buddy Holly's Peggy Sue, Maybe Baby, It's So Easy. Richie Valens LaBomba and Oh Donna, and The Big Bopper's Chantilly Lace and Running Bear, along with at least 300 dancers on the dance floor. It was a memorable evening with the mirror ball spinning, and the ballroom recalling the "old days."

The history of the Willowbrook Ballroom goes back to the 1920's when it was known as O' Henry Ballroom and it became home to the biggest and best bands of the day throughout each decade. What a privilege to be able to still spin around the ballroom today. This tribute concert is an annual event, and hopefully, we can make this a repeat event next year, since it was enjoyed by so many of our members.

The awards for coming the farthest were: Len and Mary Keil (Johnsburg), Lloyd and Joan Schellin along with two of their friends (Garden Prairie), Joe and Sandy Kraatz (Valparaiso, IN), and Tom and Alice Wolfe (WestDundee). Also enjoying the evening were: Gordon Gluff and Mary, Len and Irene Vinyard, Perry and Cindy O'Kano, Bill and Liz Werth with two friends, Ken and Kathy Smizinski, Ron and Donna Pavlak, Paul and Urszula Mounts, Pete and Marylu Kramer, Larry Johnson and Sue and two of their friends, friends of Bob Hoge, Larry and Karen Kelly and two of their friends, and Dave and Marian Pogorski.

- Marylu Kramer

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