Final Bissen Bash set for Sunday

Published 7:30 am Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Bissen family and friends take the Paramount Theatre stage this weekend for their fourth and final concert fundraiser.

The Dan Bissen Memorial Bash is Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Paramount, 125 Fourth Ave. NE. In their final showcase, a variety of performance groups plan to celebrate the memory of the late Dan Bissen as well as bring in enough ticket sales to cap off a scholarship fund in his name.

Dan Bissen, a lifelong Austin resident, died of a brain tumor in 2006. The bash began as a benefit that year and has been held in memory of Dan every spring since— first raising money for cancer research and later to create an endowed musical scholarship for Austin High School graduates. This year, the Bissens also added an earlier winter concert, benefiting another family.

The 2010 bash features the Bissen family as well as other groups who have performed with Dan. Dan, along with his wife Margo, had been a part of the music ministry at Queen of Angels Catholic Church and also sang at community events, concerts and celebrations. Dan was also involved in theater.

The Dan Bissen Memorial Bash features area musicians from the Austin Public Schools music department, staff members from Sumner school, In Synque, Pam and Brian Koser and family, Holly Dalager, and Beautiful Mess, an a cappella ensemble from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Mary Bissen, a daughter of Dan and Margo is a member of Beautiful Mess.

Four of the other Bissen children will also perform and two Bissen grandchildren, Gillian, 8, and Natalie, 6, will be making their “Bash” debut this year.

Also reclaiming the Paramount Theatre will be the good sisters from Nunsense!, a Summerset Theatre production that was popular in Austin last summer.

“Some of the Nunsense! performers were involved in theater with Dan,” Margo said. “They are such a hoot and we are so happy to have them.”

“There will be something for everyone in the final Dan Bissen Memorial Bash,” she continued.

Featuring instrumental and vocal solos, duets, quartets, ensembles and comedic musical performances, the Bissen Bash finale includes a bit of everything.

“It’s going to be very entertaining and very touching,” Margo said. “It will be a wonderful antidote to winter… What better time than March to spend a wonderful afternoon with music.”

The first Bissen memorial concert raised more than $7,000 for the Austin Area Foundation and the Hormel Institute. Proceeds of the 2008 and 2009 concerts benefited the Paramount Theatre and a scholarship fund with Music Boosters of Austin. After this year’s concert, $10,000 will give way to an endowed music scholarship at Austin High School. The first award will be dispersed in the spring of 2011.

There is reserved seating for this event. Tickets are available for $10 for adults and $5 for students and children at the Paramount Theatre box office, the Hardy Geranium and Hy-Vee. All proceeds benefit the Paramount Theatre and enhance a music scholarship fund. Donations to the scholarship fund can also be sent to Music Boosters of Austin, P.O. Box 32 Austin, MN 55912.

Fourth and Final Dan Bissen Memorial Bash

Who: Bissen Family and Friends

When: Sunday, March 7, 2 p.m.

Where: The Paramount Theatre

Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for students and children

Tickets are available at the Paramount box office, The Hardy Geranium and Austin’s Hy-Vee store.