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Friends of the Orpheum host Fundraiser on Feb. 2

The Orpheum Theater Center has taken two big hits this year … the first was when the facility was seriously damaged by the July 19 tornado, and the second has been the loss of revenue from event patronage and facility rentals since that time. To help offset the loss of event revenue, the Friends Of the Orpheum Theater Advisory Committee is hosting an Orpheum Fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 7 to 10 pm. Admission will be $20 per person.

Tickets to the fundraiser will be on sale starting Jan. 22, and they’ll include a 20% off coupon for Zeno’s on the back. Tickets can be reserved by calling the Orpheum at 641-844-5920 or purchased at Zeno’s Restaurant, 111 E. Main St., Marshalltown.

The Fundraiser will feature performances by the Awful Purdies and Ben Driscoll & The Posthumous Cowboys; both groups are performing free of charge in support of the Orpheum Theater Center. The event will be held at the Iowa Valley Continuing Education Conference Center, 3702 S. Center St., in Dejardin Hall. The venue is located on the southwest corner of the Iowa Valley/MCC campus.

The Friends of the Orpheum Advisory Board raises funds to bring performers to the Orpheum Theater Center, and tickets sales support the remainder of the performance costs.

“There are probably many people who don’t realize that Iowa Valley does not fund the Orpheum’s performances,” explains Amy Pigors, chairperson of the Friends Advisory Committee. “Our group of volunteers supports the Orpheum in a number of ways, including financial. The 18 Men Who Cook fundraisers have been wonderful, but this year with the huge loss of revenues we will need additional community support to get the Orpheum back on its feet once it re-opens later this spring.”

Newcomers to the Orpheum Theater Center, Ben Driscoll & The Posthumous Cowboys will be the fundraiser’s opening act.

The Awful Purdies, scheduled to perform at Live After Five at the Orpheum last summer but cancelled due to the tornado, is a popular modern folk group that describes itself as “an eclectic quintet of female multi-instrumentalists who take turns stepping up as songwriter and lead singer.” The ensemble “purdifies” each song it meets, filling in sweet harmonies as it lets the song lead the way. While one song might require channeling the Andrews Sisters or Gillian Welch, another might reach out to a rock-a-billy or Motown sensibility.

Little Village magazine in Iowa City has written, “The women of the Awful Purdies combine many years of musical experience, compounded by six years of playing shows together. They all sing, play and write, staying close to the modern folk music vernacular. What gets me about the Awful Purdies is that they come together and create something seamless and unique. Each of the singers brings something different into the sound. Katie Roche’s voice has an appealing hoarseness, with a jazz singer’s behind-the-beat phrasing. Sarah Cram sings a bit smoother, but can muster a brassy rock tone when called upon. Nicole Upchurch sounds a bit reedy, with a subtle, rapid vibrato. And Marcy Rosenbaum’s voice has a raw, slightly nasal quality that is disarmingly open and unaffected.”

“We are exceedingly grateful that these two groups are donating their time and talents to support the Orpheum,” says Bob Untiedt, Orpheum Theater Center Director. “The money raised will be used to bring future performances to our venue as soon as we re-open when construction is finished. I’m hopeful that will happen in late April or early May, depending on how the weather treats us between now and then.”

Repairs to the Orpheum facility are being paid for through the District’s insurance and deductible payments. Money raised from the Feb. 2 Orpheum Fundraiser will not be used for facility repairs or improvements.

The IVCCD Orpheum Theater Center is owned and operated by Iowa Valley Community College District and demonstrates IVCCD’s vitality and commitment to partnering, educating and building our communities.

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