2009 - Support Staff
The 2009 Support Staff Hall of Fame inductee is Wayne Christgau of Clear Lake . Wayne is a prime example of how important a role the people “behind the scenes” play in the success of any musical event or venue.
Christgau’s love for the Surf Ballroom began in 1949 when he was a toddler. Raised on a farm just across the Iowa border and south of Austin, MN, Wayne ’s first trip to the Surf was so his parents could dance to Count Basie and his Orchestra. He was wrapped in a blanket, place in the booth and slept through the entire evening. However it was quite a different story when his parents brought him back to the famous ballroom for the Duke Ellington Orchestra in ‘53. A disagreement with another young boy over sharing crayons will forever remain etched in Wayne ’s memory. If you visit his office in The Surf today, you will find that blanket his mother wrapped around him plus a box of 96 crayons, just in case another little boy won’t share!
Enlisting in the Air Force after college graduation, Wayne was first trained as a medical corpsman and field medic. From , he was sent to where the military trained him in all aspects of facilities management, leading down the path to his present position.
After 22 years in the military he settled in Arizona, only to relocate in 1991 to Clear Lake to provide needed medical and home health care to his parents while taking more college classes, part-time.
While getting a haircut in 1994, he learned the Dean Snyder family had purchased The Surf and were looking for volunteers to help restore the ballroom. Wayne immediately volunteered. By January of 1995, he had become a paid employee of the Snyder family and The Surf. One of his first tasks as an employee involved the return of Waylon Jennings after 36 years on stage. Wayne had his picture taken with Jennings and put it up on the wall in the Lounge area.
The lounge area is now known affectionately as Wayne ’s World. The walls are covered with photos of Christgau with many, many famous performers he has assisted backstage and introduced on the stage to thousands of music lovers. He says his motto is “Get their trust, get their friendship, GET THEIR PICTURE!” Be sure to visit Wayne's World when you are at The Surf Ballroom.
Wayne conducts historic tours of the building, makes onstage introductions, handles the supplying of the bars, setting up for shows and all types of duties that insure the ticket buyers have a thoroughly enjoyable experience at a Surf Ballroom show. According to Dean Snyder, “Having Wayne is just what The Surf needed!”
For his knowledge, skills, dedication and accomplishments, Wayne Christgau has earned the IRRMA Hall of Fame Support Staff honor this year. Welcome, Wayne , to the Class of 2009!