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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Street Dance downtown Sat. June 27

Monday, June 15, 2009

The annual Takin' It To The Streets is set for this Saturday, June 27, in downtown Cherokee. A joint effort of the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce and Iowa RockNRoll, the street dance is a sure musical hit. Two of the new 2009 Hall of Fame bands are on stage - The Charades and Natural Color, along with local favorite Who's Driving. The gates will open at 7 and the show starts at 8 p.m. Coolers are allowed, and a local service club will man the food stand. No advance ticket sales. Admission is $10.

The Charades, circa 1963. Photo courtesy of Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Adapted from the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website:

In 1961 Marcus boys Mike Hoover (lead guitar), Chuck Nielsen (drums), Jim Brownmiller (rhythm guitar) and Mark Baumgardner (bass) decided to start a band after hearing the latest rock tunes on KOMA, an Oklahoma City 1000-watt clear channel radio station. Within months, Dick Nielsen replaced Jim. Dick had a car, was old enough to drive, and had all the latest rock records. After all, they were first exposed to rock and roll while riding around in Dick's car!

"The Avengers" were born. Posters were printed, and they played their first dance in Granville. Right away, though, it was brought to the band's attention that the name Avengers was very close to a Sutherland band called "The Scavengers" (Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 2006). The band name was then changed to The Charades, and it stayed that way for the six years they performed together.

Power on! On Thursday June 11, the Cherokee Parks Department, along with Champion Electric, installed a base for a new power box on the northwest corner of First Street and East Main Street that will be a permanent source of power for any major functions that happen on that side of downtown Cherokee. The upcoming street dance is a prime example of the use of the new box. Pictured installing the back plate are: left to right, Steve Thill, Randy Reeves, Kyle Lundy, Duane Mummert and Scott Kruse. Photo by Mike Leckband
The Charades played in the old shelter house during the Marcus Fair in 1962. At $1 per head, they took in $300, and there were hundreds more watching from outside at Marcus's first "rock concert."

In 1964, Mark went to college, and Denny Delaney was recruited to play bass. With the help of C&M Enterprises (Iowa R & R Hall inductee, 2000), The Charades toured Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota for the next two years. During that time, they opened for the Everly Brothers at the Roof Garden in Arnolds Park, played on tour with Miss Iowa, and had the good fortune to party with the Dave Clark Five after their concert in Des Moines .

The party for the Charades ended in 1966, though, when the military called three of the guys, and Mike was injured in a motorcycle accident. Mike was unable to regroup a new Charades.

The Charades performed a reunion concert at the Marcus Fair in 1989, then did an encore concert at the fair the following year.

In 2000, Dick passed away. Mike has continued as a professional musician, working around the country and also around the Cherokee/Marcus area. He hosts a jam session at Cherokee's Gathering Place every other Thursday. Chuck returned to Marcus in 2005, and the men played briefly as The Charades. On Aug. 8, 2008, they performed their first official concert since 1990.

The Charades were a "pioneer" rock and roll band that influenced many young musicians to follow the same path. These musicians' influence as well as wide-spread scope of performance make The Charades a worthy inductee into the IRRMA Hall of Fame in 2009.

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