Chardon Polka Band Performs Friday Night

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“We’re excited to come back and party with the fine folks of Marshall County, Kans.,” said Jake Kouwe, founder of the Chardon Polka Band.

The four person band, who performed in Marysville at Big Blue River Days in 2018, is returning to the area for a three-day residency. They will perform in every elementary school in Marshall County, and they will give a concert Friday, February 7, at 7 p.m. at the Oketo Community Center, 106 Center Street, Oketo, Kan. A freewill donation will be accepted.

Their visit is sponsored by the Marshall County Arts Cooperative.

“We had a great time when we last passed through town, and we are expecting to have a blast playing for the schools and at the big show Friday,” Kouwe said.

Those attending Friday’s concert are allowed to bring their own snacks and drinks to the concert. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted.

This is the first time the arts cooperative has presented a professional artist in Oketo.

“I love to reach out to the small corners of our county and find gems to have performances in,” said Liberty Price-Obley, a board member for the arts cooperative. “I think Friday night will have this cozy hometown feel of hanging out with the closest group of your friends and listening to some solid, fun music.”

Before their evening performance, the band will perform for every elementary student in Marshall County. On Wednesday they will perform for students from St. Gregory’s Catholic School, Good Shepherd Lutheran School, and Axtell Public Schools; Thursday for students from Waterville Elementary School and Blue Rapids Elementary School; Friday for students from Frankfort Public Schools and Marysville Elementary School.

“The Chardon Polka Band truly enjoys bringing their brand of music to children through youth activities and school programs,” Kouwe said. “Children of all ages respond to the band’s honesty, personas, and fun music.”

Part of the arts cooperative’s mission is to assure that every student in Marshall County has exposure to at least one professional artist each school year. The band’s residency helps fulfill that mission.

“When you are a young kid, especially in rural Kansas, you have some expectations, but seeing professional artists is usually not one of them,” said Price-Obley. “The idea that MCAC brings professional acts to small town USA allows for kids of all ages to reach for the stars, to live it, to breathe it, to enjoy it.”

Other band members are Mike Franklin, banjo, guitar, and yodeling; Joey Dahlhausen, drums; and Mitch Lawrence, saxophone and clarinet.

For more information people may visit the arts cooperative’s website

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.