CLEAR LAKE | Heads bobbed, toes tapped and hands clapped Thursday afternoon as nostalgic '50s rock 'n' roll covers filled the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Middle School for the Winter School Dance Party.
More than 300 middle-schoolers and adults attended the concert featuring live entertainment from "Buddy's Buddies," affiliated musicians from all over the world who performed an impromptu set list of Buddy Holly hits and other popular rock 'n' roll tunes.
“It’s a great opportunity for our kids,” said Clear Lake Superintendent Doug Gee, who stood in the auditorium for his second Winter School Dance Party experience.
The concert was one of two held this week in conjunction with the annual Winter Dance Party hosted by the Surf Ballroom & Museum to commemorate rock 'n' legends Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens’ last performance in Clear Lake.
The three — along with pilot Roger Peterson — died in a plane crash Feb. 3, 1959, about 5 miles north of Clear Lake.
Richie Lee, a musician and regular contributor to “Buddy’s Buddies,” paused in the middle of the set to acknowledge the contributions of Tommy Allsup, Billy Corston and Jerry Dwyer, who have died in recent years.
“They’ll always be part of this, so we want to thank them,” he said.
Dwyer was on duty at the Mason City Municipal Airport early Feb. 3, 1959, when the plane carrying Holly, Richardson and Valens took off and crashed in a field a few minutes later. He owned the plane and found the wreckage the next day.
Since 2002, “Buddy’s Buddies” has performed at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium to help keep the musical legacy alive for another generation of students, said Paul King, of England, who created the musical group.
"I just like it," he said, looking into the auditorium where students could be seen standing, clapping and singing along to the music. "It's so fun."
About an hour into the concert, "Buddy's Buddies" slowed it down with a nod to Don McLean’s "American Pie," that contains the line, “The day the music died,” referring to the deaths of Holly, Richardson and Valens, before singing a few of their hits, like "That'll be the Day," "It's so Easy," and "Maybe Baby."
The concerts also featured a '50s costume contest.
The concerts and their $5 admission go to the Winter Dance Party Musical Scholarships and Awards program, which provides scholarships for high school graduates studying music at a college or university.
Since the scholarship fund was established in 1999, it’s awarded more than 80 students scholarships around the country in memory of those killed in the crash.
This year, the fund will award $1,000 scholarships in Garner, Clear Lake, Storm Lake and Lubbock, Texas, King said.
SIOUX CITY | Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten outraised eight-term Republican Rep. Steve King and two other candidates running for Iowa's 4th District seat in the most recent quarter.
Scholten, a former professional baseball player from Sioux City, said he raised more than $174,000 for the three-month period ending Dec. 31. King, of Kiron, brought in $87,543, according a report filed with the Federal Election Commission. The reports were due Wednesday.
King's Republican challenger, Cyndi Hanson, of Sioux City, reported campaign receipts of $5,771 for the quarter. Scholten held a hefty advantage over his two Democratic opponents, Leann Jacobsen, of Spencer, who raised $47,430 during the quarter, and John Paschen, of Ames, who had $62,591 in receipts.
Paul Dahl, a bus driver from Webster City, has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, but his FEC candidate page showed no financial activity listed.
Scholten's political director Todd Prieb said the fact that Scholten roughly doubled King's money for the most recent quarter shows the 4th District seat is "absolutely in play for 2018."
"At first, our focus was to get out on the road to engage with as many people as possible. At the time, people liked us simply because I wasn’t Steve King. Now we’re seeing the shift to people responding to our message of inclusiveness," Scholten said in a news release.
The campaign noted Scholten had 2,700 individual donors, including contributions from all 39 counties in the district, plus all 50 states.
King's campaign did not reply to an inquiry about the most campaign reports.
In his previous quarterly report, through Sept. 30, Scholten raised $39,756. For the year, he collected about $213,000.
King, who formerly owned an earth moving construction business, edged Scholten for contributions in 2017, finishing with receipts of $246,592.
Jacobsen, a first-term Spencer City Council member. and brought in a combined $92,504 for the year.
"We're very excited to say that the majority of Leann's contributions are from Iowans who live in Iowa and the majority of our contributions are from women. We are really seeing a lot of local grassroots support for our campaign," Jacobsen's campaign manager William McGee said in a statement to the Journal.
Year-end funds raised by Paschen, an Ames pediatrician, were not immediately available.
“To have this level of support for a new candidate is striking, and it shows people are really responding well to John’s message of making healthcare affordable, creating jobs and bringing civility back to the 4th District," Pashen’s campaign manager Ruth Lapointe said in a statement to the Journal.