Rollie Jensen of The Expressions played Rock the Roof last year and will drum again this Thursday night on the same stage. (Photo provided by Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Music Association)
Thursday, Aug. 30 marks the final Rock the Roof concert for the summer of 2018. A Minnesota-based band and an inductee into the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Music Association Hall of Fame in 2011 will be on hand to entertain the hundreds who faithfully attend each week.
Denny & the DC Drifters are no strangers to the Roof Garden stage. Based in Austin, Minnesota, the band has performed at Rock the Roof in previous years. The Drifters are led by Denny Charnecki who was inducted into the Minnesota Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. The group does many Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens tribute shows at casinos and ballrooms in Iowa and Minnesota and appears often at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake during the annual Winter Dance Party.
The second band of the evening will be The Expressions. Mike Berkland founded the band back in the late 1960s. With a few musicians coming and going, the four now playing as The Expressions have been together for 26 years. Berkland lives in Lakeside and performs on rhythm guitar, keyboard and vocals. Kevin Christie hails from Ida Grove where he owns a real estate agency. He plays lead guitar, saxophone, drums and sings.
Craig Phillips on bass and vocals lives in Pocahontas as does Rollie Jensen on drums, trumpet and vocals. Jensen taught middle school band in area schools for 23 years. He also performed with the Karl King Band in Fort Dodge and the Cherokee Symphony Orchestra.
For The Expressions, playing Rock the Roof is fun.
"We love the audience here and the chance to give something back to the IRRMA Hall of Fame," Jensen said.
"We get to play for a crowd we don’t get to see very often," he said. "We think of it as a concert, dance and see-our-old-friends kind of gig. We look forward to it every year."
The doors of the Roof Garden will open at 5 p.m. with the music starting at 6 p.m. Thursday. Between 30 and 40 antique and classic cars will line Lake Street, weather permitting, as their owners enjoy the show. Spectators browse amongst the painstakingly restored vehicles as they arrive and during breaks in the music action.
Beverages and food are available in the ballroom as well.
Rock the Roof was presented for 11 consecutive Thursday nights this summer by the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Music Association. This week’s finale is sponsored by KUOO Campus Radio with Mary Treanor serving as guest emcee for the show, which lasts until 8:30 p.m.