MASON CITY — Mason City will be well represented in this year’s class of inductees at the Iowa Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Mason City DJ Joel Helgren, along with former Mason Cityans Joe LeValley and Roger Peterson of the Mourning Glory Rock Band, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in ceremonies Sept. 2-4 at Arnold’s Park.
Helgren, 28, has been a disc jockey at KRIB Radio since he was 15 years old. He does two back-to-back shows every Saturday morning from 8 to 10.
The Big Band Hour highlights songs from the big band era. Five years ago, he added “Rock N Rewind,” which features music from the 1950s, ‘60s and early ’70s.
Helgren started doing sock hops at his elementary school when he was 8, and oldies rock ‘n’ roll shows for Relay for Life a year later.
Helgren, who is visually impaired, also started doing radio commercials for his family’s business when he was 9.
He has deejayed class reunions and private functions, and does an oldies sock hop at the Winter Dance Party in Clear Lake.
According to his biography, his dad introduced him to the music of the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean when he was 2.
At the age of 3, he met Mike Love of the Beach Boys. and when he was 8 he went with his family to see Jan & Dean, where he was invited on stage. He sang with the band and formed a lasting friendship with Dean Torrence. When Torrence was at the Surf last September, he asked Helgren to introduce the band.
Helgren also met Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys when he played the Surf. He told Johnston he was working on a radio program on KRIB and starting at the bottom.
“Never start at the bottom,” he said Johnston told him. “Have confidence and start in the middle.”
Helgren will receive the Spirit Award.
“I have been truly blessed to work on radio and share my passion with my listeners,” Helgren said in his biography. “Music is a gift that has no boundaries and takes us on those three-minute vacations with every song.”
The Mourning Glory Rock Band, based in Dayton in the 1970s, included Don Myers, Joe LeValley, Roger Peterson, and Mark Plahn.
Myers lived in Mason City in the late 1970s and early ‘80s while a member of another Iowa Rock ‘n’ Hall of Fame-inducted group, Deputy Dawg.
LeValley lived in Mason City for 22 years. Most of that time he worked in administration at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa. He also worked for six years as a reporter for the Globe Gazette and was a drummer with the bands Posse and Dr. Bop.
Mourning Glory, along with the other inductees, will perform Sept. 4 in the Roof Garden Ballroom in Arnold’s Park following the ceremony that afternoon at the Sami Bedell Center for the Performing Arts in Spirit Lake.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to perform together again,” LeValley said. “While some of us of continued to perform in various configurations and in other groups, this will be the first time in years the original band will have a chance to play a set of music together.”
Mourning Glory performed steadily in ballrooms, nightclubs, colleges and high schools throughout Iowa and in Minnesota and South Dakota in the early 1970s. They played music from popular bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to lesser-known groups such as The Nazz. They also performed original songs by guitarist Myers.
The group was the first to record at Westminist’r Sound in Otho (now Junior’s Motel Recording Studio).
“I don’t miss the 4 a.m. road trips home in time to play piano at church, but I do miss making music with these guys,” said Peterson, the keyboardist. “I count it a blessing from the Lord to do yet another ‘final’ performance.”
Peterson lives in Orlando, Florida, while Myers lives in Madison, Wisconsin, Plahn in Des Moines and LeValley in Waukee.
More information about the Mourning Glory Rock Band can be found at www.rockiowa.net.