Clark closes Rubber Soul shows for 2017

Attendance lags, but local concerts continue next year

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Singer/songwriter Brandy Clark performed at the Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School auditorium on Dec. 2. Rubber Soul Productions and Ho-Chunk Gaming sponsored the show.

The Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School auditorium was about half full Dec. 2 when singer/songwriter Brandy Clark performed, courtesy of Rubber Soul Productions and Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg.

Although ticket sales fell short of expectations, Rob Wyman, founder of Rubber Soul Productions, was realistic about the event. There were several area Christmas events, and the University of Wisconsin football team played in the Big Ten championship game the same night, he noted.

“It will take some time to establish the high school auditorium as an entertainment destination,” Wyman said. “It has a 40-plus-year history of not being an entertainment destination, so you aren’t going to change the perception overnight.”

For the past couple of years, Wyman has been working to bring entertainment to the area. Previous performances by bigger names, such as Marty Stuart and Pam Tillis, brought in more people.

Wyman said it is a challenge to book a small room while keeping tickets reasonably priced.

Wyman, who wants to hold three shows per year in Wittenberg, has already booked two acts for 2018: Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys on March 18 and Bobby Bare on April 29.

“It’s fun, I enjoy it and it feels good to bring these opportunities to my high school,” Wyman said.

Longtime Wittenberg resident Vian Kersten went to all three concerts this past year and plans to do the same next year.

“We can’t get to Branson or other places,” she said. “It’s great to have these shows come to us.”

Garrett Rogowski, superintendent of the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District, supports using school property for community programs.

“I appreciate the work Rob is doing to bring this kind of event to our area,” he said.