Opera House granted a boost

FAIRMONT — While the Fairmont Opera House is still dealing with the effects of Covid, it recently received a boost of support in the form of an Arts and Cultural Heritage Grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council.

The Opera House’s Executive Director, Blake Potthoff, said they’re no stranger to this organization.

“They’ve been very supportive of us and grants from them have helped us the last few years. They’re very supportive of arts in our region,” Potthoff said.

The $13,000 grant will allow the Opera House to put on two shows. The first of which will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2.

“The Okee Dokee Brothers are a Grammy Award-winning music group. They’ve won Grammys for two of their albums. They’re a five-time Parent’s Choice Award winners,” Potthoff said.

He said they’re family music song writers that focus a lot of their music outdoors.

“The fact that we’re working with them is just incredible. They’re very talented. They’re bringing their quartet along and their bass player, Liz Draper, is actually from Fairmont,” Potthoff said.

In the spring, Fairytales on Ice will show at the Fairmont Opera House.

“It will be a dance show but they’re putting artificial ice on our stage. It’s something we’ve never done before. There will be ice skating in the Opera House,” Potthoff said.

The gift of the grant and the upcoming show is welcome news for the opera house after having two shows cancel this month.

“The groups that we bring in are not from our community so we have to and they have to think about where are they coming from and where are they going and what kind of exposure they could bring to our community and that they could leave with, too,” Potthoff said.

He said they try to be careful and cognitive of how Covid spreads and sometimes it’s in the best interest to cancel and move on because it’s hard to control the situation.

“It’s unfortunate but it’s the world that we’re in right now,” he said.

Potthoff said Covid has forced them to change and do things differently and that safety is always a concern, pandemic or not, for artists and for patrons.

However, he said to cope with the changes and cancellations, they’ve been focusing more on local talent by having more frequent youth theater workshops. They also have another Fairmont Area Community Theater adult show coming up next month.

“We’re trying to focus on local talent because the local talent is here. We don’t have to worry about touring. That will help keep cancellations to a minimum,” Potthoff said.

Tickets for the upcoming Okee Dokee Brothers show, and all other shows, can be purchased online at fairmontoperahouse.org.


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