Van Dell’s to return; show benefits YMCA Annual Campaign

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

April 8, 2014

The Van Dell’s are returning — and tickets are going fast.

With a show designed to please audiences of all ages, The Van-Dells, “The Nation’s #1 Rock & Roll Review,” are coming to Preble County later this month as part of a benefit concert for the second consecutive year.

The second annual Sweet Carole-line Memorial Concert will be held Saturday, April 26, at the Eaton Community Performing Arts Center. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Preble County YMCA Annual Campaign. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The show is in memory of Carole (Caylor) Smith, who was a life-long Van-Dells fan, said her daughter Edie Steel.

Last year, the event was held at Twin Valley South and event organizers had to turn people away at the door.

Steel and Josh Haynes, Executive Director of the Preble County YMCA, said they are hoping for the same success again this year, even with a move to a larger venue.

Tickets still remain for the upcoming show, but Steel and Haynes are encouraging people to purchase them ahead of time.

General admission tickets are $18 and can be purchased at the YMCA, by calling 203-723-3673, or online at

Steel and Haynes said they appreciated the support they received from the Twin Valley Community Schools for its support of the concert and the YMCA.

“We called Twin Valley South’s superintendent and thanked him personally and explained why we were moving it,” Steel said. “They’ve always been so generous and gracious. We just outgrew them.”

Eaton’s new auditorium holds approximately 150 more seats.

“We turned down so many tickets sales those last two weeks, that all that money would go to charity,” Steel said. “We’ve already sold, this year, 370 tickets. We’re very grateful to the Eaton Community Schools for allowing us to use the Performing Arts Center.”

“It’s just going to be an amazing venue for this,” Haynes said.

Prior to last year’s concert, The Van-Dells last performed in the county in 2006 and have been entertaining audiences of all ages with their unique blend of comedy, costume changes, choreography and tight harmonies for close to four decades. The Van-Dells have been called “The Three Stooges set to music.”

“It’s a good night for everybody,” Steel said.

According to the YMCA’s Executive Director Josh Haynes, the Annual Campaign ensures that no one is denied the opportunity to share in the YMCA experience due to an inability to pay. Each year, thousands of kids learn to swim, play and compete in youth sports leagues, go to summer camp, learn new skills and make new friends at the YMCA.

Haynes said the funds raised from last year’s show were “huge” for the annual campaign.

“It was two-fold. Not just the awareness it brings to the Y being mission-driven, cause-driven charity, we’re pretty well know for that in this community,” Haynes said. “But most people think of the Y as just a gym. Not just for the money it raises for the families that need the help, but it gives us a great platform to just tell the Y’s story.”

Haynes said the show is a win-win for the YMCA and fans of the Van Dell’s.

“It’s great for the people that support the Van Dell’s because they are getting a great concert, but yet their ticket money goes to help other people,” he said.

With the funds raised, Haynes said kids will be able to attend camp, swim lessons and help supplement memberships.

“We use that money year-round,” he said. “Anything that the Y does, any program, membership, activity, it helps us be able to serve those people.”

Haynes said the YMCA is “about strengthening the foundation of the community.”

“We believe it’s not possible to do that unless everybody’s allowed to participate,” Haynes said. “You can’t strengthen the foundation of a community if you only serve people who can afford it. You’re leaving out a huge part of the community. So for us to have an affect on the community everybody has to be able to be a part of it.”

The Annual Campaign is the new name for the Strong Kids Campaign.

“What we are trying to do is take advantage of the national power of the Y and each Y would call their campaign something different,” Haynes said.

The Blue Star Mother’s will operate the concession stand during the event.

“That helps them raise money,” Steel said.

There are three main characters, each bringing their own special dimension to the show. Stacy P. Todd, better known as Duke, Mark Barnett and Glenn Bowles. This fun, fast paced show begins in the 50’s and runs through the 60’s. Backed-up by a five piece band, the shows are broken into segments like a two act play.

The Van-Dells begin their show representing the last graduating class of Van-Dell High School, which closed down in 1958. Dressed in letter sweaters, The Van-Dells combine comedy with songs from the Rock and Roll era of the 50’s. In the second show they take the audience on a nostalgic trip through the “Glitter and Gold” period that made the 60’s famous.

When The Van-Dells hit the stage, it is nonstop action from start to finish. The shows are designed to please audiences of all ages. The group is completely self-contained, carrying their own lights and sound.

“It’s a great family fun night. It’s family friendly,” Steel said of the concert, which is one of the biggest fundraisers the YMCA has during the year.

“For a one-night event, it does very well for our charity,” Haynes said.