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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

'Memorable Musical Moments' pays tribute to late local performers

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Harold Larmon
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The heart-touching and love-inspiring music of the '20s, '30s and '40s will flow from the Fox Theatre stage Sunday afternoon, Jan. 27, when some of McCook's most talented singers, pianists and instrumentalists gather for a musical tribute to Harold Larmon and Floyd Hershberger.

The afternoon of entertainment, which begins at 2 p.m., is open to all for a free will donation of any amount. The nostalgic musical event is being hailed as "Memorable Music Moments." That's an appropriate title because, during their lifetimes, Harold Larmon and Floyd Hershberger were recognized as two of McCook's most prolific and popular music-makers.

Harold, a pianist who played by ear, and Floyd, a singer with a stirring voice, combined talents almost every Tuesday at McCook Rotary Club meetings, with Floyd leading the singing and Harold accompanying on the piano. For that reason, and a multitude of others, the McCook Rotary Club is sponsoring the tribute to Mr. Larmon and Mr.Hershberger.

Floyd Hershberger
In memory of the men's musical contributions, all of the money pitched into the Fox donation barrel will go to acquire sound equipment for the Fox stage, said Sehnert, the master of ceremonies. "Harold and Floyd both loved music. This will be a wonderful way to honor their memories."

Whatever amount the guests give -- whether it be a big amount or a small token -- the donors will be richly rewarded.

Encouraged by the late John Batty, who passed away last week at the age of 98, the youthful Walt Sehnert (he's only 85) has put together a talented cast that ranges in age from Walt's 12-year-old grandson, Gabe Sehnert, to McCook's classic piano lady, 92-year-old Marie Coffey.

Joining Gabe, Marie and Walt on stage for the Sunday afternoon show will be such standouts as MarySue (Hormel) Harris and Anabeth (Hormel) Frazier Cox from Lincoln. They are the daughters of Ben Hormel, a long-time McCook resident who was renowned as Mr. Rotary for his years of service to the organization on the local, district, national and international levels.

MarySue will be playing "The Man I Love" in honor of all the loved ones in her family who were Rotarians, including her late husband, Bill Harris, and her beloved father and father-in-law, Ben Hormel and John T. Harris. She will also be playing her Grandma Hormel's rag, "Tickled to Death" by Charles Hunter. "She played it every night before she went to bed," MarySue said.

The program will also feature Susan (Sehnert) Stuart and Marie (Sehnert) Franzen, Walt and Jean Sehnert's talented daughters, who are coming all the way from Arizona and Colorado to sing "Sisters." Others in the spotlight will be Greg and Janet Hepp, a superlative singing couple from McCook, who will combine for "People Will Say We're in Love," music instructor Charles Coleman who will join Kelsey Siebrandt, one of the talented students from his teaching days, to sing "Fallin' in Love with Love;" and Cloyd Clark and Walt Sehnert, a couple of Rotary characters, who will combine for "Side by Side" and "Bosom Buddies."

The lyrical sounds of the singers will be enhanced by the piano talents of Jean Sehnert, Marie Coffey, MarySue Hormel Harris and Cheryl Christner. Adding even more to the varietal excellence of the program will be the distinctive sounds of Leann Miller, cello; Don McCorkle, alto horn; Paul Wood, euphonium; and Lonnie Weyeneth and Joanne Wendelin, both of whom play the flugelhorn.

During their day, Floyd and Harold probably sang and played all the melodies which will be featured Sunday. Harold Larmon (1921-2008) and Floyd Hershberger (1927-2011) were successful in business. Floyd established Hershberger Music Company, which remains in operation to this day under the direction of Floyd and Joyce Hershberger's son, Brad.

Harold, who had the distinction of serving as Drum Major for the University of Nebraska Marching Band at the 1941 Rose Bowl, returned to McCook after a military career to serve as president of First National Bank and to join his family in the establishment of the Willow Ridge Retirement Center.

Throughout their lives in McCook, music remained a passionate pursuit for both Floyd and Harold. Floyd participated in musicals and had a leading role in the McCook Community Concert Association, while Harold played the piano for countless McCook events, including numerous appearances at Hillcrest Nursing Home. Harold also performed frequently at the Saturday night dances at the Elks Club. Joining Harold in the dance band were Elwood Best, Ken Christian and a variety of drummers, including Mike Ford , who was then a teenager. Mike, who now owns and operates Knowlen and Yates, will be showing his skill with the sticks again Sunday afternoon at the Fox.

"Memorable Music Moments" is sure to tug at your heart strings, with songs such as "When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bobbin' Along;" "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue;" "I Don't Know Why I Love You Like I Do;" "Now Is the Hour;" "The Man I Love;" "June Is Bustin' Out All Over;" "Gary, Indiana;" "Red Roses for a Blue Lady;" "Fallin' in Love with Love;" "Some Enchanted Evening;" and "Good Night, Sweetheart" among the many tenderly touching songs on the play list.

To make the show even more special, the crowd will delight in the quality of the performers, which includes such local and regional favorites as Kathy Latta, Becca Sehnert, Sue Ankersen, Russ Ankersen, Angie Reiners, Doug Ohlson, Merlin Brown, and Duane Franzen, as well as the previously mentioned talent lineup of Siebrandt, Coleman, Clark, Weyeneth, Christner, Miller, McCorkle, and Wood, as well as Harris, the Hepps and the Sehnerts.

When you combine those songs, those singers, those pianists and those instrumentalists, Floyd and Harold would have been proud and honored to have them together on stage, and so would have Dr. Batty.

That's what Harold, Floyd and Doc Batty loved about McCook ... people, together, celebrating the Good Life. Let's honor their memories. Harold's and Floyd's widows, Marion Larmon, from Lincoln, and Joyce Hershberger, from McCook, will be there, as will Doc Batty's son, Steve. Let's join them Sunday, Jan. 27, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a heart-warming afternoon of musical memories.

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