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Russ Mitchell

The Mitchell Report

Russ Mitchell is editor of The Dickinson County News. He has been in Spirit Lake since January 2010 and began in journalism in 1997. The Mitchell Report can be about anything and everything. Comments are invited.

You can't have summer without Maye

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Marilyn Maye reminds us that a home isn't just four walls and a roof. And, she found a new one for her performances in Okoboji.

"I'm thrilled to be playing the lovely Lakes Art Theatre for two nights," she recently told us, adding that she is glad the Pearson Lakes Art Center is part of the area landscape offering audiences wonderful music and entertainment.

By the way, a picture of Marilyn Maye should be part of the "Okoboji User's Manual." She performed at The Inn for 61 summer seasons, but that's no longer possible. The 121-year-old Inn at Okoboji resort and convention center was torn down earlier this year.

Marilyn turned 90-years-old this year and, for the record, she's as sturdy as ever.

"The heartbreak of Okoboji for me is the leveling of The Inn — 61 years of my songs in the walls," she said. "So many precious memories and so much of my life spent there — but I'm glad there will be beautiful houses there and people in them who love the lake almost as much as I do."

She received a warm reception at the Pearson Lakes Art Center. She was booked for two mid-August engagements, and there was a waiting list for a third night in Okoboji.

Marilyn couldn't accommodate the third performance — that's easy to understand, right? We'd nod if we hear phrases like "golden years" and "stopping to smell the roses."

But, those euphemisms wouldn't make sense since we're talking about Marilyn. To the contrary, the Okoboji icon had to fly out immediately after her local dates because she had students waiting in New York the very next day. Two days later, she had a pair of sold-out performances from the Barrington Stage in downtown Pittsfield, New York.

As you read this, she'll have wrapped out four nights of performances at The Art House in Provincetown, Massachusetts. On Sept. 15, she will be inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame — she's joined in this year's three-member class by Rosemary Clooney and Jimmy Van Heusen, who had 14 Academy Award nominations for Best Song during his career, including four wins. (Marilyn is the only one of the three inductees who is still with us.)

You get the idea. Marilyn Maye didn't outlast entire buildings by slowing down.

She may have changed venues, but her real home is Okoboji itself. It's warmed by the friends she catches up with every year.

No property transaction could ever change that.