2022 Nebraska Performing Arts Induction Ceremony
We are so excited to finally move forward on this night of history, love and amazing Nebraska artists.
Live music performances by inductees: The Wheezetones, and The Fabtones
Literary inductions going to:
Mary Pipher: Pipher is the author of 10 books including her number one New York Times bestseller Reviving Ophelia; and her most recent, Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing As We Age.
Ted Kooser: 13th Poet Laureate of the United States, former editor of ‘American Life in Poetry’, Presidential Professor Emeritus at The University of Nebraska, a renown published writer with hundreds of works published and circulated.
The family of William ‘Bill’ Kloefkorn: William (Bill) Kloefkorn was born in Attica Kansas in 1932. Married his high school sweetheart, the lovely Eloise Baker in January, 1953. He served a stint in the US Marine Corps, then earned his BA and MA at The Emporia State Teacher’s Collage. In 1962, he move to Lincoln, the same year he would remind you that Bob Devaney was named the head football coach for Nebraska. “Coincidence.” he’d say. “Maybe, or Maybe not.”
Bill took a position at Nebraska Wesleyan University where he taught creative writing and Literature for 30 years until his retirement in 2002.
In 1982 Bill was named the Nebraska State Poet by proclamation of the Nebraska State Unicameral. He fulfilled his commitment as State Poet with countless readings, seminars and workshops. From the Sandhills to the suburbs, Kloefkorn taught, inspired and entertained the people who make up the great State that is Nebraska.
In the early 70’s he initiated the Poet-in-the-schools Program. Impacting thousand of young students. “There is nothing more satisfying than seeing wide-eyed students eager to learn.”, he said.
Bill was a member of the Nebraska Wesleyan Writers group. An eclectic, talented and diverse congregation that is still intact today.
Mr. Kloefkorn published over 30 books of poetry, a selection of short fiction, four memoirs and a collection of children’s Christmas stories.
With all this said, if Bill was here today, he might argue that his foremost accomplishment was winning first place in the hog calling contest in Kearney Nebraska in 1978.
Community Music Inductees:
Doug Fenton: Former owner of Dietze Music for 5 decades. The retail veteran is the son of one of the original partners, Robert Fenton, who incorporated the company in the ’50s after the Founder, August Dietze, established the full-line music store in 1927 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Dave Steen: Two-time inductee into the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter with the band HAWKS who released two albums on Columbia Records. Wrote and sang lead on “RIGHT AWAY”, #63 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. “I’ve Changed My Mind” as recorded by The Bama Band reached #70 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart. Over 130 releases as a songwriter by artists including Eric Burdon, Solomon Burke, Maria Muldaur, B.J. Thomas, Junior Wells, James Cotton, Son Seals, Coco Montoya, Larry McCray, Michael Burks, Terry Evans, Big Daddy Kinsey, Sherman Robertson, Tonic Sol-Fa, Jo-El Sonnier, Shaun Murphy, and others. “Town Full Of Secrets” a solo CD of all original songs, received a 3 ½ star rating from DOWNBEAT magazine and reached #31 on the IBBA International Blues Broadcasters chart. Songs have appeared on two Grammy© – nominated albums, in two feature films, and have been performed on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and “The Late Show with David Letterman”. Nineteen appearances over five decades on various Billboard album and singles charts.
Lifetime Achievement Award going to: George Bryan
George Bryan, born in Gering, Nebraska is one of the Midwest’s premier guitar slingers. He played his first paying gig at age 13 with The Majestics in western Nebraska.
Other than a break in the 1980s to manage a family business; he has played in high level rock & blues bands for over 50-years.
Moving to the Lincoln’s University of NE 1965, he joined Hall of Fame inductee J. Harrison B. & The Bumbles. From The Liberation Blues Band in 1968 to the first band to play in The Zoo Bar’, Cotton, which he himself was an original member and included NE Hall Fame Inductees Dave Trupp and Jim Cidlik in 1973; he then toured nationally with Barbara Porter & Little Rock and Doug Duffey & The Delta Demons from Louisiana to Las Vegas.
Significant later bands include The Mob, Heartbreak Fatty & The Liverspots, Soundtrack and currently Omaha’s George & The Juniors & The Crabby Blues Band.
George is the recipient of the first annual George Bryan Lifetime Achievement Award. Please welcome George Bryan to The Nebraska Performing Arts Hall of Fame.
The Mike Sweeney Community Arts Award/Scholarship: Mike was the kind of guy that always gave back to the community in every way he possibly could. He was a business man and musician. His band ‘Sweeney Stearley’ often played local festivals and events, running alongside some of the areas greatest bands. Mike had an incredible ability to simply make you smile and feel good about life. Mike and his family would want nothing more than to see the legacy of Nebraska music and his legacy live on. We are so excited to team up with his family and give out this Annual Scholarship in Mike’s name, and cement his legacy of joy and music forever in the years to come.