6th Annual Bonaparte Music Bonanza

Make plans to attend the Sixth Annual Bonaparte Music Bonanza on Saturday April 6th. held in the gymnasium of the historic Bonaparte school building. Showtime is at 7 pm with doors opening at 5:30 Tickets at the door are $15.00 with no reserved seating. A Soup Supper will be in the cafeteria (for a free will donation).  All proceeds from this event go toward the upkeep of the historic school building. The building is owned and operated by the non profit group Bonaparte Community Improvement Association (BCIA). The building has become a hub for many community events and activities.

Director Bonnie Cass states, “Every year the show just gets bigger and better. We are so fortunate to have such amazing local talent in Southeast Iowa. All of the people volunteer their time to put on a show that is geared for the entire family. If you’ve been to a show in the past, you’ll want to come back and see the new individuals and bands that have joined the cast for this year’s show.”  The 2024 Music Bonanza will be performing music from a variety of genres and of course there will be a little comedy mixed in as well.

This year there are three new bands that will be performing.  One of the bands is actually called The Band With No Name- this group of individuals have been performing at class reunions and even had  some backyard performances. Full Course is a band of Van Buren high school students that have been performing in the area as well at Van Buren Community School District (VBCSD) high school basketball games. Some additional VBCSD students have formed the Van Buren Youth Praise Band. This group of young people play a variety of instruments and sing Christian praise music. They have been performing at many local churches and events.

Singing in this show for the first time are sisters Emily McIntyre and Melanie Norton.  These two talented ladies have been singing and acting for many years as part of the Van Buren Community Players. In the recent presentation of Grease.  Emily played the part of Rizzo and Melanie played the part of Marty.

Two other members of the cast also performed in Grease this month.  Tom Allen played the part of Vince Fontaine and Isaiah Meek played the part of Sonny.  Tom will be playing guitar and singing again. Isaiah is a multi talented young man that was recently selected into the University of Iowa Honor Band where he played French horn. Isaiah will be playing piano and singing a solo, as well as performing with the Full Course band.

Singer and songwriter Shannon Shepard joined the cast last year. He was such a delight to listen to and he even participated in some comedy acts with other members of the cast. He has quite a following on Spotify and YouTube. In 2019 he wrote, recorded and released a fun tailgating song called Cold Busch Latte. The song has been streamed almost 120,000 times on Spotify alone. Shannon formerly performed with Aces and Eights, a country band out of Washington, Iowa.

Kathy Dye from Donnellson brought her dynamic vocals to the show for the first time last year. She has been singing for the past 16 years at the Annual Montrose Watermelon Festival.  She has been singing since the age of 5 at her church. She has appeared in the Keokuk Kardiac Kapers, Donnellson DEC Hands and at the Back Alley Band Fest in Keokuk. Kathy says, “being on stage is my home away from home.”

Heathers & Co. a band from Lee County composed of Heather Fuger singing lead vocals, Heather Madsen on keyboards, Lily Hayes on drums, guitar, and vocals, and Keating Hissem playing bass. They provide musical entertainment at several venues throughout the year with music from all genres and with some original songs written by Lily Hayes. All members of the group are in other bands, as well, including Hissem Family Campfire and Double Vision. Keating was a member of the former Ozone Ramblers.

There are many talented guitar players in the show. Brenda Hendrickson will be singing some additional gospel pieces accompanied by Joe Short on guitar. Brandon Cochenour will be accompanied by Michael Browning.

Melvin Green sings a solo every year and has fun with some of the cast members in comedy skits that make for a lot of laughs.  Emcee for the show will be former KILJ radio personality, John Kuhens. He brings a little humor of his own to the show with his interviews with the performers.