The Spectacle

2002 - Band

Members: Al Schrank, Mark Moeller, Loren Paulson, Randy Hoyt, Bart Ross, Steve Smith, Tommy Renfro, Timm Hauff, Joe Blaha, Walt Clark, Jim Weiler, and Fred Juhl

 

In the summer of 1967, while still in high school, nine LeMars/Remsen area musicians came together to form a horn band and found what some say was a magical mix. The focus was on rhythm and blues with a dash of jazz and rock thrown in for seasoning. As time went on they would become one of the largest crowd-drawing show bands in Iowa and the Midwest.

The group, originally called “The Cellophane Spectacle”, would spend nearly every weekend over the next two years playing at a hundred small Midwestern towns. They won first place in the Plymouth County Fair “Battle of the Bands” in August of 1967 and broke all attendance records at the teen dance the following night.

The next spring, these teenagers graduated from high school and hit the road full time. They were now old enough to play in many nightclubs and this opened up a whole new venue for their music. They bought a nearly new school bus and had it customized with beds and a fancy paint job.

They also went to Omaha and recorded two songs from their show: “It’s Not Unusual” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” The record got moderate Midwest airplay and sold really well from the stage.

Winning the 1968 Sioux City Rivercade Battle of the Bands garnered Cellophane Spectacle a contract to return to Omaha and make another record. They repeated their victory in Sioux City the next year and one week after that, another first place finish at the Teensville Battle of the Bands in the Sioux Falls Arena in South Dakota.

By the fall of ’69 fans and club owners alike had started referring to the group simply as “The Spectacle” and the decision was made by the group to officially change their name.

At that time several band members went off to college and the group only accepted weekend gigs within a few hours driving distance. College was college but music was their first love so before long The Spectacle had decided to go on the road full time again.

After several months of touring the Midwest, the band signed a one-year contract as the house band at “George’s in the Park, one of the Minneapolis area’s premier supper clubs, in St. Louis Park, Minn. George’s even hired the head musical director from the Guthrie Theatre to work on show arrangements with the band.

As the contract time neared its end, the band members found themselves weary of playing in the same place. Their new agent wanted them to go to California and play Disneyland. Their girlfriends wanted them to stay in the Twin Cities and their parents wanted them to go back to college. Within one month of completing their gig at George’s, Spectacle (the party band) had begun to dissolve.

A few of the guys went back to college, a couple stayed in Minneapolis, eventually getting married. Three or four followed a lead to Iowa City and tried for several months to reform The Spectacle with new personnel. Although the new players were equal or better musicians, they lacked the magic that was the core of The Spectacles’ success from the onset. After several more weeks on the road, The Spectacle disbanded once and for all.

The band members reunited for two concerts in 2000. Scattered far and wide: New Hampshire, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, Virginia and, yes, Thailand; band members are excited about reuniting to become members of the Iowa RockNRoll Hall of Fame.

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