By Levi Wright
The Old Creamery Theater will celebrate the music of Buddy Holly, a 1950s rock ‘n’ roll legend, with That’ll Be the Day.
On Friday, Todd Meredith and the Rave-ons, a Buddy Holly tribute band, will take center stage at the Old Creamery Theater, 39 38th Ave., Amana, for That’ll Be the Day: A Tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets.
The Old Creamery Theater, originally based in Garrison, was established in 1971 in a co-op dairy. The troupe has since moved to Amana, keeping its Old Creamery name and focusing on producing quality shows.
“In the last few years, we worked hard on having bigger, flashier musicals than we’ve ever had before,” said Lily Allen-Duenas, the marketing manager for Old Creamery. “These are very big jobs for us given that the Old Creamery Theater was not built to be a theater, so we don’t have a lot of wing space and fly space.”
Old Creamery has never performed in place that was intended to be a theater. Some of the former facilities it has inhabited include a train depot, middle school, and band room. That hasn’t stopped it from getting national acts to perform, including the Rave-ons.
The Rave-ons started in 2012 with the mission of bringing life back to the music of Buddy Holly. For the members to bring that life to the music, they made sure to have a band that has a “youthful quality.” When they perform, they jump around on the stage and encourage the audience to spring to life.
“I think we just love seeing the audience’s reactions, just because of how much we love the music,” said Bill Morey, the Rave-ons’ bass player. “To get a chance and play for people who share that enthusiasm, it’s an energy that is shared between the band and the audience.
“The more the audience gives, the more we end up giving. We’ve just been lucky and blessed that we’ve had all of these opportunities to play for all these audiences from all over the country. It’s very clear that Buddy Holly is still alive in a lot of people, and there are a lot of people from that generation and even later generations that appreciate what he has done for the music industry.”
The Rave-ons try to live up to one of Buddy Holly’s famous quotes: “I’ve got to play in front of people. If I’m not moved, how can they be moved?”
Holly influenced a lot of great musical artists, including the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and many more. At one point, he even opened for a young Elvis Presley.
“He was an innovator, first of all, his vocal technique. No one sounded like him at the time, and no one looked like him at the time,” said Meredith, the lead singer and guitarist for the Rave-ons. “He was a nerdy white Texas boy; he didn’t have the epitome of cool that someone like Elvis did. He went out there with his big dorky glasses and was like, ‘Here I am.’ ”