Channeling Welk | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader

Channeling Welk 

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Steve Cooper was seven years old the first time he saw The Lawrence Welk Show on television. He'd already had a few piano lessons and proved to be a whiz at reading and transcribing music, and Welk's bubbliciously happy music made a strong impression. Years later, the grown-up Cooper, a teacher and professional musician who lives in LaGrange Park, hand-copied hundreds of arrangements from the Welk sheet-music library so he could recreate Welk's champagne sound with his own orchestra. The 24-piece Steve Cooper Orchestra will play a concert of Welk's music at 3 PM Sunday, September 24, at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts; a ballroom dance in the center's lobby will be held Monday, September 25, from 7:30 to 10:30 PM. Guest artists for both events are a half-dozen longtime Welk musicians: Tanya Welk-Roberts, Lawrence Welk's daughter-in-law and a vocalist on the show; saxophonist and vocalist Dick Dale; pianist Big Tiny Little Jr.; trumpeter and vocalist Rocky Rockwell; trombonist Barney Liddell; and saxophonist and violinist Bob Olah. Concert tickets are $24; dance tickets are $10 with a concert ticket or $20 alone. The center is located at 9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie. Call 847-673-6300.

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