CLEVELAND (January 12, 2009) – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, along with the Surf Ballroom & Museum, will honor the 50th anniversary of the Winter Dance Party with a weeklong series of events beginning on Wednesday, January 28 that will culminate in a tribute concert at the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens played their final concert.

The tribute concert on Monday, February 2 will feature an all-star lineup including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Graham Nash, Tommy Allsup, the Crickets, Bobby Vee, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Joe Ely, Wanda Jackson and Delbert McClinton. SIRIUS XM Radio host Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow will be the emcee and Sandra Boynton, Pat DiNizio, Chris Montez, J.P. Richardson, Jr., Peter & Gordon and Sir Tim Rice will participate in the tribute portion of the concert. An all-star band will perform including Hutch Hutchinson on bass, Kenny Aronoff on drums, Chuck Leavell on keyboard and Bobby Keys on the saxophone.

General admission tickets for the tribute concert are $85 and on sale now at http://www.50winterslater.com or by calling the Surf Ballroom’s box office at (641) 357-6151. A limited number of $1,000 VIP packages are available. Please call (216) 515-1207 for details.

The week will launch on Wednesday, January 28 at 2 p.m. with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame designating the Surf Ballroom as a historical rock and roll site. This dedication is part of the Museum’s ongoing Landmark Series which identifies locations around the country that have historical significance in the development of rock and roll.  This is the ninth landmark that the Rock Hall will dedicate. Sites that have been designated as historic rock and roll landmarks include the Whisky-a-Go-Go in Los Angeles where the Doors were resident performers; The Crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the cradle of the blues and Brooklyn High School in Brooklyn, Ohio, the location Elvis played his first concert north of the Mason-Dixon line.

50 Winters Later is an unprecedented commemoration of the ongoing impact that three legendary artists have had on rock and roll music. From educational symposiums to dance lessons and concerts, the week will go down in history as one of rock and roll’s great celebrations.

A complete schedule of events for the once-in-lifetime 50 Winters Later celebration is below.

Winter Dance Party - 50 Winters Later Weeklong Series of Events Schedule


WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28

Rockin’ the Schools (Grades 6, 7): 9 a.m. – Noon at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s award-winning Education department will teach a class on the lives and musical legacies of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and the significance of their influence on rock and roll history. Rock Hall educators will teach this interactive, multimedia class to grades six and seven at the Clear Lake Community Schools. The program will continue to be offered throughout the year as part of the Rock Hall’s distance education program, On the Road.

Afternoon welcome reception: 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Clear Lake Arts Center
The Clear Lake Arts Center will invite local and international fans for a welcome and refreshments. For more information please call the Arts Center at (641) 357-1998.

Winter School Dance Party: 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools
Live performance by “Buddy’s Buddies” presented by the Winter Dance Party Scholarship & Awards Program. Tickets are $5 and available at the door. For additional information, visit http://www.thelasttour.net.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Landmark Series Dedication: 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will dedicate the Surf Ballroom as a historic rock and roll landmark as part of the Rock Hall’s Landmark Series, which identifies locations in America significant to the origins and development of rock and roll.

Concert: 7 p.m. – midnight at the Surf Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
Featuring a live performance by Jason D. Williams and the original founding members of The Whitesidewalls.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 29

Rockin’ the Schools (Grades 8, 9): 9 a.m. – Noon at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools
Rock Hall educators will teach this interactive, multimedia class to grades eight and nine at E.B. Stillman Auditorium at the Clear Lake Community Schools. The program will continue to be offered throughout the year as part of the Rock Hall’s distance education program, On the Road.

Concert: Noon - 3 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom Lounge with Ritchie Lee. FREE live performance for Winter Dance Party ticketholders. General admission is $5 and can be purchased at the door.

Memorial Site Tours: Motorcoach departs at 1 p.m. departing from the Surf Ballroom lobby
Escorted/narrated tour via motor coach to the farm field north of Clear Lake, IA where the airplane came to rest. Tour length is 75-90 minutes and tickets are $7 for each person and can be purchased at the Surf Ballroom box office.

Symposium – Interview with Maria Elena Holly:  2 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools. Maria Elena Holly, Buddy Holly’s widow, will speak about her relationship with Buddy - how they met, married and spent their life together. Admission is free and reservations are not necessary.

Symposium – Interview with the Valens Family: 3:45 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools. Members of the Valens family will speak about their family life, including Ritchie, his childhood, music, rise to fame and Ritchie as a pioneer of Chicano music. Admission is free and reservations are not necessary.

Concert: 7 p.m. – midnight at the Surf Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
Live concert hosted by David Somerville.  Featuring live performances by Tommy Allsup & Johnny Rogers, the Comets, Kevin Montgomery, Dodie Stevens, Johnny Tillotson, the Tymes and other special guests.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 30

Rockin’ the Schools (Grades 10, 11, 12): 9 a.m. – Noon at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools
Rock Hall educators will teach this interactive, multimedia class to grades 10, 11 and 12 at E.B. Stillman Auditorium at the Clear Lake Community Schools. The program will continue to be offered throughout the year as part of the Rock Hall’s distance education program, On the Road.

Multimedia Stage Show – BLUE MOO: Jukebox Hits from Way Back Never: 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at the Surf Ballroom
Best-selling children’s’ author and illustrator Sandra Boynton and songwriting partner Michael Ford will present a live multimedia stage show of their new album, BLUE MOO, a collection of all new yet curiously retro rock and roll. The show will include Bobby Vee and the Vees, who performed the track “With You” on the latest album. Admission is FREE for students and for Winter Dance Party ticketholders. General admission is $5 and can be purchased at the door.

British Buddy Holly Luncheon: 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Best Western Holiday Lodge
Advanced reservations required. Email margaretm@omnitelcom.com or amymcnace@yahoo.com for details.

Concert: Noon – 3 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom Lounge with Alan Clark & The Classics featuring a Tribute to Eddie Cochran. Admission is FREE for Winter Dance Party ticketholders. General admission is $5 and can be purchased at the door.

Surf Ballroom U.S. Postal Service Station:  Noon – 3 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom
A special commemorative cancellation stamp has been created by the Surf Ballroom and USPS to postmark outgoing mail from this station on site at the Surf Ballroom. Purchase event postcards and mailing supplies, too.

Memorial Site Tour: Motorcoach departs at 1 p.m. departing from the Surf Ballroom lobby
Escorted/narrated tour via motor coach to the farm field north of Clear Lake, IA where the airplane came to rest. Tour length is 75-90 minutes and tickets are $7 per person and available at the Surf Ballroom.

Symposium – Interview with J.P. Richardson, “The Big Bopper, Jr.”: 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools
J.P. Richardsom Jr. will speak about his father’s music, life and legacy. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Wedding and Vow Renewal Ceremony: 3:30 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom
Fans may get married or renew their vows at the Surf Ballroom. Local Justice of the Peace and Chief of Police, Greg Petersen, will officiate. Cake and champagne served following the ceremony. For additional info please contact Denni Sue Erickson at ericksn1@netins.net.

Symposium – Special Artists Series with Wanda Jackson: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Symposium – Special Artist Series with Bobby Vee and The Crickets: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Traditional Sock Hop Concert: 7 p.m. – midnight at the Surf Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
Featuring live performances by John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party with the Big Bopper, Jr. and Sting Ray Anthony, and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party featuring the Killer Vee with special guest appearances by Jimmy Clanton, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Shirley Alston Reeves, original lead singer of the Shirelles and surprise special guests.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 31

Record and Memorabilia Show: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Clear Lake Middle School Gymnasium
Admission is FREE for Winter Dance Party ticketholders. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Memorial Site Tours: Begin at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., departing from the Surf Ballroom lobby
Escorted/narrated tour via motor coach to the farm field north of Clear Lake where the airplane came to rest. Tour length is 75-90 minutes and tickets are $7 per person and available at the Surf Ballroom box office.

Symposium – Interview with 1959 concert attendees: Noon – 1 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom Lounge
Moderated by the 1959 concert emcee, Bob Hale, audience will hear the stories from those in attendance at the final concert performance of the Winter Dance Party tour. Admission is FREE for Winter Dance Party ticketholders. General admission is $5 and can be purchased at the door.

Concert: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom Lounge with Buddy Holly’s niece: Sherry Holley
FREE live performance for Winter Dance Party ticketholders. General admission is $5 and can be purchased at the door.

Surf Ballroom U.S. Postal Service Station:  Noon – 3 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom
A special commemorative cancellation stamp has been created by the Surf Ballroom and USPS to postmark outgoing mail from this station on site at the Surf Ballroom. Purchase event postcards and mailing supplies, too.

FanFare:  1- 3 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom
Autograph session and special meet and greet. Admission is FREE for Winter Dance Party ticketholders. General admission is $5 and can be purchased at the door.

Symposium – Clovis Days: 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools. From 1956-58, Holly & the Crickets recorded some of their best music in Norman Petty’s studio. Along with the Fireballs, Roy Orbison, Buddy Knox and others, they created the “Clovis Sound.” Panelists will include members of the Fireballs Jimmy Gilmer, Stan Lark and George Tomsco, David Bigham of the Roses, and Kenneth Broad of Norman Petty Studios. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Symposium – The Last Tour:  4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools. Participants in the 1959 Winter Dance Party tour will share their memories of the tour, especially the last show. Panelists will include Tommy Allsup, Frankie Avianca (Sardo), Carl Bunch, Bob Hale, Carlo Mastrangelo and Freddie Milano. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Concert: 6:30 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
Featuring live performances by the Crickets, Chris Montez, Johnny Preston and Bobby Vee. Special guests include Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens, Wanda Jackson, Brian Hyland, Peter & Gordon and the Fireballs.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1

Keynote Speech - 9 a.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools
Speech Topic/Speaker: “50 Winters Later: The Legacy"/ Speaker - John Goldrosen, author of Remembering Buddy - The Definitive Biography. Discussion moderated by Dr. Lauren Onkey, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Symposium – Chicano Rock: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools. Examining Chicano rock, its history and the important influence of Ritchie Valens and the development of the sounds and influence of artists who came after him. Panelists: Ruben Molina, Chris Montez and others. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Record and Memorabilia Show: 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Clear Lake Middle School Gymnasium
Admission is FREE for Winter Dance Party ticketholders. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Symposium – Songwriters’ Panel:  1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools. Artist guitar-pull, exploring their songwriting and the influence of Valens, Holly and the Big Bopper on their work. Panelists include Kevin Montgomery and Sonny Curtis of the Crickets. Admission is FREE for Winter Dance Party ticketholders. General admission is $5 and can be purchased at the door.

Play – BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY: 1 p.m. at the NIACC Auditorium (Mason City)
Live theatrical performance from the Spencer Community Theatre. Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story follows the tragically short life of Holly from his first recording contract, his marriage to Maria Elena, his move to New York and concluding with the fatal tour in the Midwest. Tickets are $22 in advance and available now at the Surf Ballroom box office or online at http://www.50winterslater.com.

Symposium – British Influence:  2:45 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Community Schools
This panel will be focused on the influence that these artists and his tragic event had in the UK, and the overall Impact on popular music. Panelists include Peter Asher, Graham Nash, Sir Tim Rice and Gordon Waller. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2

EXHIBIT/DISPLAY: “SPECIAL TRIBUTE COLLECTION” 6 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom Lounge Stage
Tom Fontaine’s Rock and Roll Investments will present a special tribute collection exhibit featuring personal items, contracts, lyrics, autographs, etc. belonging to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper Richardson.” Bonus items from The Beatles (celebrating the 45th Anniversary of first arrival in the US), Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison etc. will also be on display during this time. Event open to ticketed 50 Winters Later concert-goers only.

50 Winters Later Landmark Concert: 6 p.m. at the Surf Ballroom
Featuring performances by Graham Nash, Tommy Allsup, the Crickets, Bobby Vee, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Joe Ely, Delbert McClinton and Wanda Jackson. SIRIUS XM Radio host Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow will be the emcee and Sandra Boynton, Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens, Chris Montez, J.P. Richardson, Jr., Peter & Gordon and Sir Tim Rice will participate in the tribute portion of the concert. The Tribute Concert All-Star House band includes Tommy Allsup, Kenny Aronoff, Hutch Hutchinson, Bobby Keys, and Chuck Leavell.

General admission tickets for the Saturday, February 2 show are $85 and on sale now at http://www.50winterslater.com or by calling the Surf Ballroom’s box office at (641) 357-6151. A limited number of $1,000 VIP packages are available. Please call (216) 515-1207 for details.

ONGOING COMMUNITY EVENTS

Rave On II Art Exhibit at the Clear Lake Arts Center
Time:  Gallery hours – Tuesday through Sunday 10:00am - 5:00pm (Friday open until 8:00pm)
Rave On II will include various art works by regional artists. Featured in the exhibit are large photos by Des Moines Register photographer Bob Mohderson of the personal effects found at the crash site including Buddy Holly’s glasses and a brief history of these photos. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fridays open until 9 p.m. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Craig Kienast Photo Display at the Clear Lake Arts Center
On display in the north east gallery will be panoramic photos of the interior and exterior of the Surf Ballroom. Admission is FREE. Admission is FREE, no RSVP necessary.

Clear Lake Arts Center Film Festival: January 28 – January 31 at the Clear Lake Arts Center
From Wednesday through Saturday, the Arts Center will be showing films including: The Real Buddy Holly Story, produced by Paul McCartney; The Buddy Holly Story, with Gary Busey; La Bamba, with Lou Diamond Phillips; American Graffiti, with Ron Howard; The Music Man and South Pacific. Visit http://www.clartscenter.com for a complete schedule.

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It was at the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” played their final concert on February 2, 1959.  Later that night after boarding a plane bound for North Dakota, three of rock and roll’s brightest stars fell to the earth, a day immortalized in Don McLean’s 1971 hit song “American Pie” as “the day the music died.” For more information, please visit http://www.50winterslater.com.

About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays, the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors (65+), $13 for youth (9-12), $18 for adult residents of Greater Cleveland. Children under 8 and Museum members are free. The Museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. When you become a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the world of rock and roll becomes yours to explore. Call 216.515.1939 for information on becoming a member. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK or visit http://www.rockhall.com.

About the Surf Ballroom & Museum

The Surf Ballroom & Museum is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, maintain and manage the historic Surf Ballroom property as a center utilized to enhance the quality of life in the North Iowa area by providing cultural, educational and entertainment opportunities.  Additionally, the organization is committed to both the promotion and enhancement of the museum’s quality to ensure that the Surf Ballroom’s display of musical history is available to future generations.

The Surf is open Monday through Friday year-round from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and additionally from June through September Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  Admission to the Surf Ballroom & Museum is a suggested donation of $5.  With a capacity of 2,100, the Surf also operates as a concert venue with events scheduled regularly. For additional information about the Surf Ballroom, please call 641.357.6151 or visit http://www.surfballroom.com.

Brief Bios of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper

Born Charles Hardin Holley in 1936, Buddy Holly was a rock pioneer who has influenced such icons as Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Elvis Costello. Holly formed The Crickets in Lubbock, Texas and later opened for a young Elvis Presley before The Crickets hit big with their #1 single “That’ll Be The Day” in 1957. Buddy Holly was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 2004 Rolling Stone magazine listed him as #13 of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and in 2008 Rolling Stone magazine listed him as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

In the short 17 years of his life, Ritchie Valens became a rock and roll icon with his renowned songs “La Bamba” and “Donna.” As one of the first Latino rockers, Valens has notably influenced such artists as Los Lobos, the Beach Boys and Los Lonely Boys. Valens was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

While working as a deejay for KTRM in Beaumont, Texas, Jiles Perry Richardson Jr. coined the name “The Big Bopper,” an alias he would be known by for the rest of his life and long after. In 1957, The Big Bopper broadcast for six days straight establishing a world record for continuous radio broadcasting.  Richardson was also a gifted songwriter who penned lyrics for George Jones and Johnny Preston. “White Lightning” became Jones’ first #1 country hit and Preston’s “Running Bear” also climbed to #1.

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