Bissens headline benefit concert

Published 2:41 pm Saturday, December 26, 2009

It’s a concert for a cause.

Three brothers — Ray, Tony and Tim Bissen — will perform a benefit concert Monday night at the Paramount Theatre.

Proceeds of the Bissen Brothers and Friends concert benefit the family of Ellen Radloff Fisch, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September.

Fisch’s battle is all too familiar to the Bissen brothers. Their father, Dan Bissen, a lifelong Austin resident, died of a brain tumor in 2006.

The Bissen family has thrown “The Bissen Bash” each spring at the Paramount in memory of Dan. This year, they add a winter concert, honoring another family.

“We share a bond through the experience of the brain tumor world, and we’ll do whatever we can to help,” said Margo Bissen, wife of the late Dan.

In addition to the Bissen Brother’s rock n’ roll-style band, singer-songwriter Mary Ann Munro performs Monday. She is the sister of Fisch.

Munro and the Bissens were planning a holiday concert back in fall, to benefit a scholarship fund that is being developed in Dan’s name. When Fisch was diagnosed — it became a holiday concert for another cause.

The two-hour show begins with a performance by Munro, an Austin native, who now lives in Minneapolis. Then the Bissen brothers will play classic rock covers among other songs.

The show closes with The Sylvan Johnson Band — composed of Munro, Brenda Radloff, Bruce Paine and Adam Wollenburg.

“At the end, I think we are all going to try to do a medley together,” Ray said.

Ellen Radloff Fisch

The talented musicians perform for a brave woman Monday.

“She has been a source of inspiration to all who know her,” Margo said.

Fisch grew up in Austin and graduated from Riverland Community College in 2004. For the past eight years she has worked for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She is also manager of the Blooming Prairie/Austin agency of the Tribune.

She is married to Richard Fisch, and they have two children, Russell, 4, and Brooke, 1.

Margo said Fisch is doing all she can to keep her family and life as normal as possible during her treatment.

Her church, Westminster Presbyterian, and the love and support of her extended family, are helping her to do that, Margo said.

Proceeds from the concert will help The Fisch family with expenses incurred as a result of the cancer.

Fisch and Munro are the daughters of Mille Masse, a retired area teacher.

Dan Bissen, and The Bissen Bash

“The Bissen Brothers concerts are always so well attended,” said Paramount Theatre operations manager Scott Anderson.

“It is just an event that the community can get behind and support.”

The first concert the brothers performed was a benefit for their father, and the next several were memorials.

Dan’s daughters, Mary, Molly and Meigan, have also performed in the concerts in various ways, Ray said.

Each year, the funds went to various causes, such as cancer research and the Austin Area Foundation. The past several years, the proceeds have been accumulating to develop a scholarship fund in Dan’s name.

“Dan was an outstanding citizen, and a good friend of mine,” Anderson said.

The final Dan Bissen Memorial Bash will be held March 7, 2010 at the Paramount Theatre.

Brother Tim will not be able to make it to the Bash, which was part of the original reason for adding a concert.

Ray said that because the brothers are all grown up and living in different areas — Ray in Owatonna, Tony in Alaska, and Tim in Eau Claire — they do not plan another concert in the foreseeable future.

But, they know their fathers memory, and his fight, will live on with or without the concerts.

“People come to these concerts for the spirit of the thing,” Anderson said. “In addition, the music will be rocking.”

“But, most importantly, this community wants to stand up for and stand with these families that are facing this.”

There is no advance sale of tickets for the Bissen Brothers and Friends Benefit Concert. Tickets are available at the door Monday, Dec. 28 for $5. Proceeds benefit the Fisch family and the Paramount Theatre.