The life and music of one of the true legends of popular music, Bobby Vee, will be onstage at the Tornstrom Auditorium on January 25 when ‘Remembering Bobby Vee’ hits the stage at 7:30 p.m. As part of the Central Lakes College Community Performing Arts Center’s season, the show is as authentic as they come.
“The band performing this show, the Killer Vees, is made up of Bobby Vee’s sons, nephews, and grandchildren,” says presenter Patrick Spradlin. “If anyone knows Bobby’s music, his magic and his life story, it’s this band.”
The Killer Vees features Jeff, Tommy, Matt, and Bennett Vee. They put this show together as a way to say goodbye to their father, uncle, grandfather, mentor and bandleader Bobby Vee. Complete with Bobby’s touring string section, the show also features cast members from the smash hit musical ‘Teen Idol: The Bobby Vee Story’ helping out on background vocals.
“This is not a show we ever wanted to do,” said Tommy Vee. “We only planned on doing this in a handful of venues, but the show has become really popular. My Dad loved his Midwest roots. This is where it all started for him and the fans meant the world to him so this feels important to us. I know it would make Dad smile.”
The show will feature video and stories from Bobby’s career along with all the hits. Bobby’s nephew Matt Vee (son of founding Shadows member Bill Velline) will cover the lead vocals. “For me to be singing my dear uncle Bobby’s songs is the greatest privilege and honor I can imagine. Bobby is my favorite singer of all time and I was so lucky to be part of his shows over the years as lead guitarist and backing vocalist. It will be a night to celebrate and cherish!” Matt said.
Vee’s career began in the midst of tragedy. On February 3, 1959, three of the four headline acts in the lineup of the traveling Winter Dance Party—Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper—were killed in a plane crash, en route to the next show on the tour itinerary in Moorhead.
Velline, then 15 years old, and a hastily assembled band of Fargo schoolboys (including his older brother Bill) calling themselves the Shadows volunteered for and were given the unenviable job of filling in for Holly and his band at the Moorhead engagement.
“My Dad always remembered that night as kind of surreal,” said Tommy. “He said it was kind of like a rock and roll wake… Everybody was in shock.” Their performance there was a success, and began an international career that spanned 52 years and saw Bobby tour the world and land 38 songs in the Hot 100. Billboard Magazine described Vee as “one of the top 10 most consistent chart-makers of all time.”
Bobby Vee is known for smash hits including ‘Take Good Care of My Baby,’ ‘Devil or Angel,’ ‘Rubber Ball,’ ‘Run to Him,’ and ‘The Night Has a Thousand Eyes.’
Bobby Vee passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on October 24, 2016.
The Killer Vees are made up of Jeff Vee on drums, Tommy Vee on bass and vocals, Matt Vee on vocals and guitar, Bennett Vee on guitar, George Maurer on keyboards, and Julie Velline on vocals. Emily Scinto and Lynnea Doublette, cast members from ‘Teen Idol-The Bobby Vee Story,’ appear as special guests. And Bobby Vee’s touring string section will be part of the show: John Johnson, Rhonda Johnson, Derek Johnson and Stephanie Swearingen.
Tickets for ‘Remembering Bobby Vee’ are available from the CLC Theatre Box Office at (218) 855-8199 or online at www.clcperformingarts.com
The show is sponsored by A Woman’s Choice. The season is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board operating grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.