Palm Coast, FL – Live fast, die young. It doesn’t matter what happens tomorrow as long as we’re living for the moment.
It was a time in American history rocked by one tragedy after another. The nation was on the cusp of one of it’s most tumultuous decades of the century, but a common bond among people was the emerging rock and roll scene.
Stepping onto the tarmac after an unscheduled performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa while on their 24-show tour and a history-making coin toss on a frigid snowy night, little did rock stars Buddy Holly, just 22 years old, Ritchie Valens (17) and The Big Bopper (28) know that they would never reach their next destination as they prepared to depart the Mason City Municipal Airport in the early hours of February 3, 1959.
Desperate for quick trip, a warm bed and some down time before their next show, the spent musicians boarded the plane on what would become known as ‘the day the music died’.
While the music of Buddy Holly lives on, and music lovers over the age of 40 can readily hum a few bars of Valens’ “La Bamba”, it’s the bombastic sound of The Big Bopper belting out “Chantilly Lace” that puts a smile on the face and brings a blush to the cheek.
John Mueller’s ‘Winter Dance Party’ takes audiences back to that fateful tour in 1959 when three talented musicians whose voices and stories have continued to influence generations of musicians and fans, took the stage for their final performance.
Sanctioned by the estates of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson aka The Big Bopper, this high energy flash black show is trip back in time unlike any other.
Led by John Mueller, his love for the Texas crooner spans decades and he’s toured the U.S. as Buddy Holly in the critically acclaimed Broadway hit ‘Buddy … The Buddy Holly Story’ before launching ‘Winter Dance Party’.
“I love Buddy Holly because he was like the first ever working class rock and roller who wrote his own songs and had his own band, a model that the Beatles were influenced by and The Rolling Stones too,” said Mueller, who created the show in 1999.
Mueller performs alongside Linwood Sasser as The Big Bopper and Ray Anthony, star of the “Legends of Rock and Roll” show at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas, as Ritchie Valens. The trio are supported by a vivacious four piece band that includes the Grammy Award winning Mike Acosta on saxophone.
Headed to the Flagler Auditorium stage this Friday night, audiences have a chance to share in the magic of the moment while singing along to an array of hits, including “Donna” (Valens), “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue” (Holly), and “Chantilly Lace” (Richardson).
“At one time, Big Bopper’s son was in the show,” shared Flagler Auditorium director Amelia Fulmer. “It’s a national tour, it’s vetted and sanctioned by the families.”
Excited, Fulmer says it’s the authentic look and feel of the show that captures the essence of the performers they’re portraying. One look at their social media page and audience reactions, it’s easy to see it’s true.
“I’m a Buddy Holly fan. I’ve been to Clovis, New Mexico to see where he recorded and even had dinner at the Foxy Diner where he ate. I’ve even seen his glasses in a museum that they found in the plane crash,” said Fulmer.
“It’s going to be a great show because John Mueller has played Buddy Holly for a long time. It’s a reenactment of the whole final show. They even have the same kind of amplifiers so as it comes out, it’s incredible.”
If You Go:
Winter Dance Party: A Tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & The Big Bopper
Friday, January 7, 2022 at 7 PM
5500 Highway 100 Palm Coast, FL 32164