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Spencer Spotlight: Michael Perry packs the house

3:29 PM, Apr. 17, 2013  |  Comments
Michael Perry takes time after his performance to meet audience members and sign books.
Michael Perry takes time after his performance to meet audience members and sign books.
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Throughout this performing season at the LuCille Tack Center for the Arts, audiences have witnessed some outstanding music.

The last performance of the season was sensational as Michael Perry and The Long Beds entertained a sold-out crowd. Back by popular demand, Perry and the band kept things going for about two hours. Mixing music, humor and storytelling, Perry made two hours seem to just fly by. There never seemed to be any down time in the performance.

Perry's resume includes humorist, best-selling author and singer-songwriter. All were put on display Saturday.

Perry hails from New Auburn, a little hamlet nestled on the border of Chippewa and Barron counties.

I instantly was intrigued by this storyteller when his name first surfaced. In his first book, "Population: 485, Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time," Perry mentions some of his trips into Chetek. Being from Chetek, I became hooked on books authored by him.

During the performance, Perry mentioned his latest book, "Visiting Tom: A Man, A Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace." He introduced his readers to Tom Hartwig and his wife, Arlene.

The way Perry tells the story makes you fall in love with this elderly couple. It is if you are living right with them. Perry's visits are our visits.

Perry told the audience about how Arlene was ill. Tom's and her goal were to reach their 60th anniversary. During the performance, Perry told the audience that yes indeed, Tom and Arlene reached that pinnacle in their life. He also told us that Arlene's illness took her from Tom and us. It was like losing a close friend.

As the group finished their last song, they were greeted with a standing ovation from the audience. That brought them out for one final song. Perry, being very grateful for the reception he and his band received, then moved to the lobby to chat with people and sign books.

Yes, indeed, this was the perfect performance to end the LuCille Tack Center for the Arts programs. Now, it starts planning for the next year. Anytime they want to bring Michael Perry and The Long Beds back will be OK with me. I am sure others would agree.

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