Butch Automatic reunion concert to benefit DMS auditorium upgrades

by TED MAY AND BOB HUTTER

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

This 1974 photo is of Butch Automatic and the Four Speeds as it was just getting started — all teenagers. Band members are (left to right) Bob Hutter, Dave Socher, Dale Graunke, Mike Mathisen, Bob Seliski, Dave Pawelk and Brad Bruhn. All seven now live in Delano. Mathisen originally was from Watertown and Pawelk from New Germany. The rest graduated from Delano High School.

This 1974 photo is of Butch Automatic and the Four Speeds as it was just getting started — all teenagers. Band members are (left to right) Bob Hutter, Dave Socher, Dale Graunke, Mike Mathisen, Bob Seliski, Dave Pawelk and Brad Bruhn. All seven now live in Delano. Mathisen originally was from Watertown and Pawelk from New Germany. The rest graduated from Delano High School.

A citizens group called “On with the Show” is forming to spearhead fund raising efforts for upgrading the 38-year-old Delano Middle School Auditorium. The group is simultaneously looking for members and bringing nostalgia to Delano in the form of a Sept. 7 reunion concert by a popular local band, Butch Automatic and the Four Speeds.

This 2000 photo of Butch Automatic and the Four Speeds has one change from the 1974 photo. In front are Joe Seliski (who joined the band a few years after the start) and Bob Hutter. Standing are (left to right) Dave Socher, Bob Seliski, Brad Bruhn, Mike Mathisen and Dave Pawelk. All eight are now performing with the band, along with the “chick in the band,” Doreen Shrode, who has been a vocalist with the group for many years. Shrode also lives in Delano.

This 2000 photo of Butch Automatic and the Four Speeds has one change from the 1974 photo. In front are Joe Seliski (who joined the band a few years after the start) and Bob Hutter. Standing are (left to right) Dave Socher, Bob Seliski, Brad Bruhn, Mike Mathisen and Dave Pawelk. All eight are now performing with the band, along with the “chick in the band,” Doreen Shrode, who has been a vocalist with the group for many years. Shrode also lives in Delano.

The band formed in 1974 just one year before DMS opened. Friends from Delano and Watertown High Schools teamed up to play rock concerts together for a period spanning over 30 years. The Sept. 7 reunion of Butch Automatic and the Four Speeds returns to Delano the high-energy beat and lively rhythms of the classic rock and roll era. The group is reuniting with all original members for an outdoor concert and street dance on River Street in downtown Delano.

Butch Automatic and the Four Speeds will return to their roots with hard hitting and heart-warming renditions of the best of fifties and sixties rock music from Bill Haley and the Comets to the Beatles, plus the return of Butch Automatic stage theatrics. The concert promises to be a blast from the musical past and a trip down memory lane for all who remember those early “Butch” dances as well as for those who never had the opportunity to experience Butch live.

Advance-sale tickets are available at the State Bank of Delano, Crow River Bank, Dave’s Town Club, Three Crows Coffee House, B’s on the River, Linnie’s Ice Cream, Delano American Legion, and Delano city hall. Tickets are $10 in advance and $14 at the door. Gates open at 7 p.m. with music from 7:30 p.m. to midnight.

When the Delano Middle School opened in 1975, it was a state-of-the-art educational facility and the pride of the community. Since that time the school has served generations of district students as well being the site of community events and activities.

An important part of the middle school is the auditorium. It has been used by thousands of student performers in music and drama and for student events and community functions. It has been the scene of creative expression, memorable experiences, and lifelong learning.

In addition to the artistic productions, the auditorium is used for large-group teaching, guest artists, queen coronations, business meetings, Girl Scout activities, dance competitions, regional contests, and church services. The auditorium has been a genuine educational and community asset. Its extensive use over the years has resulted in wear and tear on these once outstanding facilities. It is now time to renovate and update this venerable performance space.

In 2004 Butch Automatic and the Four Speeds brings a packed house to its feet for dancing at the Medina Ballroom.

In 2004 Butch Automatic and the Four Speeds brings a packed house to its feet for dancing at the Medina Ballroom.

The areas in greatest need of refurbishing are the lighting and sound systems which are obsolete and do not provide the technical support required of contemporary drama and music productions. The 437 auditorium seats and the carpeting need replacement. The estimated cost of the project is $169,000. All renovation costs will be borne by fund raising events, and individual and corporate donations. The first event is the Sept. 7 reunion concert of Butch Automatic and the Four Speeds.

A committee of citizens, school personnel, alumni and friends has formed to spearhead this community effort at refurbishing and updating the auditorium. This effort will benefit Delano students and district residents well into the future. To accomplish this goal, the “On with the Show” committee is asking for community involvement. The committee believes this refurbished performance center is achievable because the residents of the school district have consistently supported education for their children and opportunities for citizens.

People can become involved in this project in many ways. Several promotional and fund raising events are planned. There are opportunities for a variety of talents, including event planning and logistics, publicity, fund raising, ticket sales and person-to-person contacts. The “On with the Show” committee will meet regularly to plan the auditorium renovation. Citizens and friends of the arts are invited to attend these meetings and become part of the continuing legacy of quality education and creative culture in the Delano school district.

For information, contact Mike Lindquist or Steve Heil at 763-972-3365.

.

up arrow