Tunes at Twilight producing loyal fan base

Saturday, May 28, 2005

For Nancy and Scott Kuse, both recent transplants from St. Louis, the second concert in the 2005 Tunes at Twilight concert lived up to the hype.

The Kuses have been trying to immerse themselves in the culture of Cape Girardeau since moving here in August, and the couple's friends had told them about the Tunes at Twilight concerts that bring hundreds of listeners to the Common Pleas Courthouse lawn on summer Friday evenings.

"It's a really great atmosphere, and it gives us something to do with the kids," Nancy Kuse said as the couple finished off a picnic dinner with tacos and fresh fruit.

The Kuses brought their children, 4-year-old Christopher, 3-year-old Sean and 4-month-old Nicholas, with them. Christopher and Sean were busy playing near the fountain while Nicholas sat quietly in his baby seat.

They were part of the estimated 300 people who attended Friday's Tunes concert to see Celtic-influenced folk performer Celia. Celia, who calls herself a cross between Gilda Radner and Tori Amos, kept the crowd in the show with her stage banter and comic antics.

By telling the personal stories behind many of her songs, the Wisconsin native contributed to the intimate and relaxed atmosphere of the small gatherings that have garnered somewhat of a cult following.

Two of those who have become loyal fans of the Tunes concerts are David and Beth Scherer. Like the Kuses, the Scherers have made Tunes at Twilight a family gathering. David's brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, great-niece and great-nephew were also at the concert.

"I come to get a whole different variety of singer/songwriters," David Scherer said. "I've been coming to these concerts about as long as they've been going. And I've bought a lot of CDs from here -- probably more than I have from anywhere else."

David and Beth's great-nephew, 2-year-old Zak, is a superfan in training. He could be seen throughout the show, bouncing up and down in his sunglasses while Celia belted out pop-tinged folk. David bobbed his head along to Zak's dancing.

'It just touched me'

Zak's enthusiasm was matched by at least one older fan, Adam Banks, who sat in front of the crowd and periodically urged them to cheer.

"It just touched me," said Banks, a first-timer at Tunes.

Mike Shea and his wife, Susan, brought their family members -- their three dogs. The couple was only one of many who take their canines to the shows.

For the devoted fans of the Tunes series, the current set of concerts isn't enough. To Lana Andrews, the series has become a gathering point for her group of friends, mostly teachers, through the summer months.

"On Friday nights we'll be right here," Andrews said. Her only gripe with Tunes is that it takes a break through July to avoid the heat.

"I feel a lot of disappointment through that break," she said.

The next Tunes concert, at 7 p.m. June 3, will feature Danny Santos, a folk singer/songwriter with a Southwestern flavor.

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