Pella Chronicle

January 5, 2013

Special event slated for Pella’s historic Opera House

By Clint Brown
The Chronicle

Pella — By Clint Brown

The Chronicle

With the help of Sam Knutson, Coordinator of the Iowa Opera House Project, a unique opportunity will be available to those in and around Pella on Jan 12.

The Iowa Opera House Project is a concert series bringing some of Iowa's greatest singer/songwriter and blugrass talent in the state to the Opera Houses that can still be found today in the hundreds of old railroad towns here in Iowa.

The Jan. 12 show will mark the season-ending performance for the project and will feature Dave Moore, Thankful Dirt, John Waite and Knutson.

According to Knutson, shows will not resume again until April.

"We have been to 13 Opera Houses to play," Knutson told The Chronicle. "Small town opera houses are some of the best places in the world to see entertainment and a beautiful part of our states history. Most of them were built between 1870 and 1930 and pretty much every town had one before the movies. It was where you went to have entertainment and their being called opera houses had nothing to do with opera."

There is also a documentary film being made of the project, as well as a possible book.

"Myself and several other members of what I suppose is a company or perhaps an operation have travelled to the northeast, southeast, and southwest quadrants of the state to photograph, listen, to explore and learn about these places," Knutson said. "The Opera Houses are everywhere. We could keep doing this for years. The show is a knockout."

Knutson hopes to draw an audience from outside of Pella as well.

"We intend to draw out of town audiences to these out of the way beauties (the opera houses) and none of us are really famous so what we have is a story, a beautiful set of locations and what I think is a great, great live show," Knutson said. "It's a classy show that I would like to be able to grow into a going entertainment concern that ultimately leaves the state of Iowa, but can be utilized to drive tourism to Iowa, my home."

Knutson says he has no shame in trying to make the project the best it can be for those in Iowa.

"I will make no bones about trying to attract attention to the show itself," Knutson said. "The Iowa Opera House Project is, as a matter of course, a method to bring attention to a live entertainment event I would like to see succeed financially."

Admission for the show will be $10 and can be purchased at the Pella Opera Houseand more information on the project can be found at