Concerts and Performances

Watching other “football” in Nebraska at Lincoln’s Pinnacle Bank Arena

Perhaps my post should really read “futbol,” but no matter how you say the word, it sounds the same, although the two footballs obviously have drastically different meanings.  A new kind of football will be featured in the Capital City tomorrow!  Perhaps you are going futbol crazy watching men down in Brazil kicking a ball around.  Maybe you want to kick your game watching up a notch. Maybe you are wanting to kick off the patriotic 4th of July season a bit early.  Or maybe you just are ready to get out of the house, yet still be inside for the afternoon.  Possibly you have been wanting to make it down to the new Pinnacle Arena in Lincoln but have just not had a good enough reason yet.  Boy, do I have an outing for you!

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Image copied from Wikimedia Commons following licensing

Tomorrow late afternoon (following church and meal out, of course, if you are like my family) you can watch the United States versus Portugal at Lincoln’s largest venue for FREE.  Here is the information copied directly from Pinnacle Bank Arena’s website.

If you can’t get to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, don’t despair. Soccer fans of all ages can beat the hot temperatures and watch the U.S.A. national soccer team take on Portugal on Sunday, June 22 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The match is set for 5:00 p.m. with doors opening at 4:00 p.m.

The public is invited to watch the game on the arena video boards. Admission is free with specials available at select concession stands featuring free popcorn, $2 hot dogs, and $3 beers (12 oz).

“Cheer for Team U.S.A. and watch the game in a fun atmosphere with hundreds of your friends,” said Tom Lorenz, Pinnacle Bank Arena general manager.

Fans can enter the arena from the main and north entrances. Free parking will be available in the Pinnacle Bank Arena Premium Garage, Gate 4 and Festival Parking Lot.

Go, USA!

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Celebrate Lincoln: June 6th & 7th

Celebrate Lincoln 1

Today began the 2 day “Celebrate Lincoln” festival.  The kids I headed down there a little after lunch.  They had fun playing a few games and  were excited about winning a few prizes.

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They also enjoyed playing in the bouncy houses.

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I enjoyed the fact that from 11-2 on both days, there is free admission.  So being outside for a festival worked out well.

They do have a wide variety of great Lincoln food vendors, including HF Crave Burgers, Brix & Stone and La Paloma.  We ended up not eating down there this time.  But if you had picky eaters or like variety, this would be a great opportunity to sample.  You pay for the food with tickets that you buy at a booth.  They do accept credit cards.

A few key things to keep in mind …

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These are the bathroom options – go in advance.

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While they do have a balloon lady, the line was REALLY long. So maybe don’t make that promise.  There was not a big crowd this afternoon, so my kids could go on any of the bouncy houses (probably 5-6 of them) without any wait time.

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One more note: the family zone will close at 8.  And children must be with adults after 9 – probably a good call!

CONCERTS: starting at 5:30 tonight, many groups are hitting the stage.  Tonight at 9:30.  American Idol star, David Cook is on stage.  Tomorrow night at 9:30, David Nail is the artist.  Come rain or come shine.  There is admission after 2, but only $7 per adult and a few dollars for children.  Not a bad price at all to hear such great concerts!






Go Lincoln Go

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Music & Mozzarella @ the Museum Starts This WEEK

FREE CONCERTS start THIS Thursday night at the Lincoln Children’s Museum in downtown Lincoln.

Featuring a variety of children’s musical groups, you will not want to miss one these fun evenings.  Starting at 5:00 with the mozzarella (pizza) and music at 6:00, your whole evening can be filled with fun family moments.  This year they are serving Papa John’s pizza and Pepsi products.  (Note: while the band is free for the listen, there is a cost for the food)!

Here is the 2014 line-up:

June 5 The String Beanas

June 12 Mighty Magic Pants

June 19 The Drum Safari

June 26 The Doo-Dads

(No concert July 3)

July 10 Mr. Kneel

July 17 The String Beans AND Mighty Magic Pants

With this being the TENTH anniversary of these musical family events, all sorts of fun activities are planned.  The concerts do take place outside in their parking lot, so you will want to dress accordingly.  Be prepared to have an unforgettable evening – when food and music are involved, a great time is ready to be had!


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Thursday Theater: Ramona Quimby is opening at the Rose Theater tomorrow!

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of Beverly Cleary.  Once you have read about Ramona and Beezus, they become your “friends” for life.  The quirkiness and delightfulness of Cleary’s characters will be coming to life from April 25th to May 11th at the Rose Theater in Omaha.  Here a few pictures (provided to me from the Rose) that give you just a taste of what the play will be like!

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With appreciation to the Rose Theater for providing me with these pictures!

As you can tell, much of the play seems to be in a school setting. When I was younger, I would have related to the students and their struggles to be heard.  BUt now, as a former teacher, I can definitely relate to having students with varying levels of engagement.  I am pretty sure I would sympathize with this teacher’s attempt to keep her class on track!

If you are looking for a fun play that would appeal to the whole family, look no further than Ramona Quimby at the Rose Theater.  The play premieres tomorrow night.  The Saturday 2:00 performance on May 3rd will also be interpreted for the hearing impaired.   With having young actors performing, this play will be especially funny and charming!

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Tuesday Theater: Very Hungry Caterpillar @ Lincoln’s Lied Center

Today our homeschool co-op played hookey.  Well, sort of.  Instead of meeting at our normal venue, we went down and joined a few hundred other school children at the Lied Center in Lincoln to watch the performance of the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

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I really was not sure what to expect.  How could a book of such incredible visual quality turn into an entertaining play?  Just as the caterpillar transforms into the beautiful butterfly, the “actors”managed to transform a simple set into a masterpiece for children.

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Our seats were in the balcony, so at first I was convinced that the set was a projection.  In fact, I thought that for the whole first section.  Another pleasant surprise?  The fact that there were actually three stories performed, starting with The Little Cloud.

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This play was primarily “flat,” but the little cloud images were so cute.  All of the kids around me were shouting out the new shapes of the cloud.  That was one thing I appreciate from the beginning – they made clear that this is not a “shushing” show.  Audience participation was welcomed and encouraged.

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Next they performed The Mixed-Up Chameleon.  At this point, the little animal became dimensional and was so cute.  I was wishing I knew just how they changed the colors.  More than on chameleon?  All of the zoo animal boards were so vibrantly colorful, matching Carle’s original artwork.

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They save d the most well-known story until last.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar just happens to be celebrating its 45th birthday.  And the Mermaid Theatre Company who put on the production just happens to be ready to perform the play for its 2,000,000th audience member this spring as well!  I was impressed that the whole show was put on by two puppeteers as well as one assisting stage manager.  I wish I could have taken a video of the all of the children laughing in the audience as they thoroughly enjoyed the show – a beautiful sound!

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At the end, the two performers came out and told some of their tricks on how the performance was accomplished.  Including showing the three caterpillars that were used as the little guy became “bigger” because of his snacking.  Glow as vibrantly as Carle’s books, the set seemed to shine through the use of fluorescent paint and black lights.

If you have children, I would highly recommend taking them to this evening’s performance at the Lied Center in Lincoln.  Although the show starts at 7, FamFest is starting at 5:30.

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FamFest includes dinner and family activities correlating with the show.  Having attended one of these events a few years ago, I can testify that they do a wonderful job of connecting the play with children.  I hope many of you make it out to the show tonight – you will not be disappointed!

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Thursday Theater: “Jackie & Me” starting tomorrow at the Rose

Recently for a family movie night, we enjoyed watching 42.  Seeing Jackie Robinson’s life be played out on screen helped all of us to begin to grasp the real struggles that this man had throughout his storied baseball career.

My son also happens to be a big fan of the children’s author, Dan Gutman. (In fact just today he was asking when his latest book was going to be ready to check out.) The play, Jackie & Me, based on Gutman’s book opens at the Rose Theater tomorrow night in Omaha.  When you combine Jackie Robinson and Gutman’s writing, a hit out of the ballpark is bound to happen.

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Here is the official description of the play from the Rose …

The Rose is very excited about our upcoming production of “Jackie & Me,” which runs Feb. 28 through Mar. 16. The show is based on the popular book by Dan Gutman, and while it is a story written for children, it deals with very grown-up topics. The play tells the story of Joey Stoshack, a baseball-obsessed boy who receives a school assignment to write a research paper for Black History Month. Joey possesses a special talent — he can travel back in time just by holding a vintage baseball card. Joey decides to go back to 1947 and meet the great Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player in the major leagues. In the process, he learns first-hand the struggles the ballplayer encountered as he broke baseball’s color barrier and leaves with his view of history and definition of courage forever changed

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This is evidently a dialogue driven show.  Due to this and the fact that the play tackles some challenging issues, the show is recommended for kids age 6 and up.    Interested in attending?  Here are a few more things you need to know.

Show Specifics: Historical Drama • Best for families  with children ages   6 to 13.  The play lasts  75 minutes with no intermission.  Shows will be taking place the next three week-ends!

Tickets: $18 general admission, but discount ticket vouchers are  available at all area Hy-Vee stores  for $14 each.  Reservations are required.

Call  (402) 345-4849 or purchase online at

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All pictures  and facts about the show were provided to me by the Rose Theater.  Unfortunately due to timing, younger children and one child recovering from bronchitis (who would have been a bit disruptive with his cough), we did not get to attend the preview performance today.  But I was told by someone who did that the acting is superb, and the message is a meaningful one for elementary students.  Play ball!

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The Olympics in Nebraska

I must confess that I could be an Olympic junkie if I had enough time.  I would be perfectly content to watch just about every event.  Perhaps the fact that we only have NBC and none of the extra channels is a good thing for my family (and probably for me).

During both of the last Olympic Games, Nebraskan made their mark on the games.  Jordan-Larson Burbach helped the USA volleyball team win silver in the 2012 summer Olympics.   In 2010, Curt Tomasevicz‎ helped his four-man bobsled team win gold.  He is back this year hoping for a repeat!

Curtis Tomasevicz Bobsled Sochi 2014 Olympics Pictures, Images, Photos

While I have never met him personally, there is something about cheering for someone that is from your home state!  If you feel the same way,  here is how you can become a groupie.  Or at the very least, learn a bit more! 🙂

Follow Tomasevicz‎ on his specially created NET website.  For those really into social media, there are additional sideline links for his Facebook, Twitter, personal webpage and other Olympic links.  To know when to watch, you can go to the Bobsled schedule at the bottom of the NBC link.  As far as I can tell, he is not competing until later on during the Games.  Go former Husker and Go Team USA!  No matter the results, we are all proud of your hard work and determination!

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Family Fun Friday: Concerts in Nebraska for Families

You can possibly tell a lot about our family from our basement.

Basement Guitars

We would definitely be considered musical.  Paying for 3 piano lessons per week can feel a bit steep, but my husband and I definitely feel that the investment is worth it.  Thankfully he can teach the kids about guitar.  No one has mad skills yet, but there certainly is a lot of fiddling going on.  We also happen to have a trap set – my poor ears.  (Thankfully the drums are electronic ones.)  Going a little deaf is usually worth it – a lot of joyful sounds come from downstairs!

We also want to expose our kids to great music.  But that can be a bit challenging due to ticket prices.  Justifying spending well over $100 on an event that you may not even get to sit through (due to multiple bathroom trips 🙂 ) is a bit of stretch.  Thankfully there are some upcoming events in the area that were planned with kids in mind.

Tonight in Beatrice …

The Lincoln Symphony Orchestra in Concert
presented by BAAC, The Hevelone Foundation, Pinnacle Bank & The Nebraska Arts Council

  • January 31st at 7:00 p.m.
  • The Hevelone Center
    Beatrice, NE
  • General Admission – $10, Students – FREE

(Notice: Kids are free – cannot get any more family friendly than that! This is the same concert they will be performing on Saturday night in Lincoln at a less expensive price!)

The Omaha Symphony has concerts in both March and April that are reasonably priced.  I know that my kids would enjoy both the “Carnival of the Animals” theme and “All Aboard!”

Picture taken directly from the The Omaha Symphony website.

The Lincoln Symphony has a series of concerts for family.  And you can even discounted tickets if you purchase them for more than one event at a time.  The tickets start at $5 for children!

Hastings Symphony Orchestra is having their “Hastings College Young Artist Competition Winners” concert on February 23rd.

Our personal family pick for the evening is not quite as cultured, but it is musical.  We will be attending the Paul Baloche Concert at Lincoln Berean Church.

Paul Baloche // Night of Worship

Friday, January 31, 7:00PM

Join us for a Night of Worship with Dove Award winning singer/songwriter, Paul Baloche.

Tickets: $10, children 12 and under are free.

Notice that kids are free! 🙂  That went along way for us to make this a priority!  Looking forward to a night out!




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Balloonacy: The Adventures of a Red Balloon in Omaha


We arrived in Omaha yesterday morning for a play that would celebrate friendship with a red balloon.  Being big fans of the movie “Up,” we were intrigued to see a balloon featured in a play.  Really the concept was a brilliant one – especially for little people!


Today begins the official 2 week run of the play “Balloonacy” at the Rose Theater in Downtown Omaha.  Who knew the shag rugs would turn into magic carpets as kids have the opportunity to sit on them for the show rather than having to sit still in theater seats?  Who also knew that the simple stage would soon be full of imagination?


A gentleman seems to be having an ordinary day when suddenly a balloon appears through the window.  He tries to send the balloon away but “somehow” the balloon keeps coming back.  Transforming the man from withdrawn to happy, the balloon does turn into the other main character of the show.


My “action” shots were a bit blurry, but you kind of get the idea.  This is unlike any play that I have seen.  Audience participation was encouraged rather than halted.  The cute little preschoolers added to the experience (although at times they might have been a bit distracting).   The main character had hardly any dialogue, but a storyteller came out frequently to discuss what was happening.


My oldest son makes his photographic appearance on this blog with these shots above.  He was so proud when he captured the balloon hiding behind the stage. 🙂 

Promoting friendship, they illustrated the fact that by learning to take a risk to play with the balloon, the lonely man would want to make the effort to make real friends as well.  Explaining how to handle feelings and apologies were also a part of the demonstrated lessons.  While the play is definitely for younger folk, even I walked away with the beneficial reminder that friendship matters!

A big thank you to the Rose Theater for providing the tickets and also for being so flexible on the timing with us!  While all of my kids liked the show, my youngest two really enjoyed the play and would gladly intend again.  As my middle son is almost 9, I think he recognized that the play was intended for littler kids.  The Rose Theater has done a great job with setting the ages correctly.  At $10 a ticket, this show has a lower price for an introductory experience of theater.  Plus at only 45 minutes, your kids should even make it through the whole performance without needing a break!



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Watching Christmas in Another Land Part Two: Narnia Found in Nebraska

My heading for this one might be a bit of a misnomer.  After all, if you are familiar with Narnia you know that it is the land where it always snows but there is no Christmas.  At least until the end … oops, hope I didn’t give anything away. 🙂  Last night was opening night for Narnia at the Rose Theater in Omaha.  Since I already posted that I was in Beatrice last night, you might be thinking that I am some sort of magician myself – managing to be two places at once.  But no, the Rose has granted me permission to share portions of their press releases and photographs to give you a sneak peak to the show.

First, my pretend press release …

Who: Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy and a whole host of imaginative creatures including Mr. Beaver, Tumnis and of course the White Witch

What: A musical representation of the land beyond

Where: The wardrobe of course which keeps them connected to Narnia

When: No one is quite sure of the passage of time.  They can enter Narnia and be gone for what seems like quite a length then come back to only a few minutes seeming to have passed.

Why: Mainly Lucy and then Edmund are the ones who return

How does Narnia change the 4 Pevensies?  How do they change Narnia?  (Yes, that is the last name of the 4 children – definitely news to me!)

What is the basis of Narnia?

“On one level, Narnia is a simple fairy tale,“ says guest   director Jesse Jou. “But like so many ‘simple’ fairy tales, it   has some serious things to say about how we live in the world.    The  story tackles some pretty big questions about   ethics, faith,  the  nature of violence, and ultimately, grace.”

What type of growth do you see in the children throughout the play?

“There is a heart of seriousness to the story that I want to  honor,”  says  Jou.  “It is a  show for children,  but it is a show   that tells children how to grow up.  For children so small, they have to grow up quite a lot in the play. The journey teaches   these children the strength, courage,  and resiliency to   become good, noble adults, especially when things are very hard.”

What is different about this show and why should you go to see a performance (or two)?

Audiences  can  expect a performance that is both   entertaining and visually engaging.  Heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau movement and celebrated painter Charles  Rennie Macintosh, scenic designer Edward Matthew Walter has given Narnia a strong visual signature that  evokes the land’s beauty and majesty with a unique Art Deco design. Coupled with lighting designer Kyle Toth’s juxtaposition of light and shadow as a nod to the story’s overall theme of good versus evil, the set provides  the perfect framework for this classic  tale.
“It is beautiful, but if you look closer, things might not be what they actually seem,” said Toth. “This world has been under a spell by a witch who has  locked us into a forever winter. I wanted to give the idea that everything in Narnia used to be something sparkly and  pristine, but it has given way to decay under the White Witch’s rule.”
“All  the  elements of the show come together to create a densely textured experience that  allows  us  to tell the story of  adventure, loyalty,  childhood and faith,”  said Jou.  “In the end, we hope to create something that reverberates humanity back to us.  It will be dark, a little scary, but in the end, really, really beautiful.”

Opening night was last night, but you have until December 29th to catch a performance of Narnia.  I would not wait too long to at least get tickets, as two of the shows are already sold out.  Due to the intensity of certain parts of the storyline, the recommended ages for this show are six to thirteen.  Tickets: $20-$25 reserved seats. Call (402) 345-4849 or purchase online at  Discount ticket vouchers and a Roberts Dairy special purchase offer are available at Hy-Vee. See Hy-Vee customer service for details. Reservations are required.


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