2016 - Band
Band Members: Joe LeValley, Don Myers,
Roger Peterson, Mark Plahn
The group Mourning Glory began in 1971 when four friends from Dayton High School in Dayton came together to share their love of rock music. The four had known each other for years and two of them - Don Myers on guitar and Joe LeValley on Drums, had played together in at least three previous groups, with other musicians from their hometown and from Fort Dodge and elsewhere. In 1971, Don and Joe were joined by Roger Peterson on Keyboards and Mark Plahn on bass.
A major factor in the group’s success was the studio they created in a small farmhouse, loaned to them by Leo Blanchet, a farmer near Dayton and the father of another high school friend. Nicknamed “The Mansion,” this little building just five minutes from town provided the group the home it needed.
Other Dayton residents also helped the group get started, with the free printing of posters, free use of an enclosed truck for traveling to performances and, perhaps most importantly, opportunities to perform.
The group’s repertoire included covers of songs from many of the biggest names in rock ‘n roll at that time, including The Beatles, The Who, Chicago, Grand Funk Railroad, The Rolling Stones, etc. However, the group also played less commonly known and often more interesting music from groups such as The Nazz, King Crimson, Humble Pie and others.
The group also played original songs written by lead guitarist and vocalist Don Myers. When Westminst’r Sound (now Junior’s Motel) recording studio opened near Otho, Mourning Glory was the first band to record there. Unfortunately the tapes, featuring Don’s song “One Way Woman,” have been lost to time.
Mourning Glory was fortunate to have great relationships with booking agents from Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Mason City and Omaha. Brothers Loren and Dalton Reineking owned Continental Entertainment and frequently were the agents booking MGRB.
Tom Tatman from Cedar Falls, now owner of Catamount Studios, also was a frequent agent for the band.
Mourning Glory played 200 separate bookings during those three years - many for multiple nights. They were the first group to play the Owl’s Nest in Fort Dodge - a popular rock ‘n roll club that catered to college students. They became regulars there and at Pappy’s in Cedar Falls, and The Rendevous in Denison. They also performed at many of Iowa’s large and well-known ballrooms, such as The Roof Garden in Arnolds Park (as the opening act for Dobie Gray), the Playmour in Fort Dodge, and many others.
The band was honored with an Entertainment Operators of America citation and won the 1973 Carroll Battle of the Bands.
While performing in Mourning Glory, three of the members attended Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge. Joe and Roger moved on to Drake University in Des Moines after graduation.
After several months of making the 140-mile round trip back to Dayton for rehearsals several times each week, the group finally called it quits. It’s legendary “Last Chance Dance” was held in Dayton in May 1974.
In 1994, the group found its way back together - again at the request of friends from Dayton. Mourning Glory was invited to perform at the annual all-school reunion. The venue was an old opera house, then operated as a restaurant and bar called “Our Place.” The evening was a big success and the group decided to continue to get together when good opportunities arose.