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BusINess » Music

Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Tina St. Aubin

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Last year, in recognition of the city’s efforts to revitalize itself without raising taxes, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce named Valparaiso “Community of the Year.” Tina St. Aubin had something to do with that honor, the first for a Northwest Indiana town: As executive director of Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events, Inc. (VCFE) since 2008, St. Aubin has played a central role in ensuring that her city’s downtown remains attractive to families and businesses alike.

“Our goal is to continue to bring events to the community that everyone can support,” says St. Aubin, 37. “That’s what we do. If we can help businesses to succeed, that’s even better.”

As a lifelong resident of Valparaiso and member of a family of small business owners, St. Aubin would seem to offer the perfect blend of community passion and practical knowledge. “We do events that can help business be successful,” says St. Aubin, who has worked as operations manager at Duffy’s Place, the Valparaiso bar and restaurant her husband owns. “I understand their challenges; I understand the risks that they’ve taken.”

Formed in 1999, VCFE is dedicated to improving Valparaiso’s retail environment, initiating cooperative efforts and providing family-oriented recreational events. In practice, that means St. Aubin spends much of her time working closely with city officials and VCFE’s board of directors to plan and oversee a variety of annual events, many of which are familiar to Valparaiso residents. These include the long-running Popcorn Festival (Orville Redenbacher resided in Valparaiso), this year’s inaugural Valpo Brewfest, the Fall Harvest Festival and the VCFE Concert Series, which is a fundraiser for the organization. (VCFE is partly funded by the city, but it is an independent nonprofit.)
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Marc Nelson

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Music makes Marc Nelson’s world go ‘round, and this 28-year old Valparaiso resident works to nurture that love of the creative arts in others in Northwest Indiana.

His journey has taken Nelson far from the Porter County city where he grew up, and brought him back again. “I lived in Chicago and in Los Angeles,” says Nelson, recording engineer and a partner in The Alley Recording Co. in Valparaiso. “I had two mentors during that time who had a tremendous impact on me.”

Dennis Tousana was the chief engineer at the Chicago Recording Company and took on Nelson, a self-proclaimed 19-year old “hot head”, as an audio engineer. With Tousana’s tutelage, Nelson says he matured quickly as a professional and as a person.

“By the time I was 21, I was actually 26,” he says. “Dennis was a big, big influence in my life.” The move to L.A. brought Nelson in contact with Bill Schnee, a legendary producer and audio engineer. “He’s in the top three or four in the world,” Nelson says. “He trained me how to work in a multi-tasking environment and to never lose track of what I was doing.”
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Economic, tourism experts weigh in on impact of MJ Fanvention

Michael Jackson announces March 5, 2009, he is set to play 10 concerts at the London O2 Arena that July. He spoke about his plans at a news conference at the arena.

Michael Jackson announces March 5, 2009, he is set to play 10 concerts at the London O2 Arena that July. He spoke about his plans at a news conference at the arena.

Whether Michael Jackson’s international popularity and his early childhood ties to Gary translate into an economic and tourism engine for Northwest Indiana remains to be seen, two local experts said.

This weekend’s MJ Fanvention at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza Theatre, presented by Fluid Productions Inc., is a case in point, Speros Batistatos and Donald Coffin said. Batistatos is the president/CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, and Coffin is an associate professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest and a member of The Times Board of Economists.

Karen Williams, chief operating officer of the Gary-based company, said her firm’s goal is to attract 15,000 people to the convention.
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Slice of Neverland pitched for Gary

Plans for a Jackson family museum and performing arts center are alive and well, city and project officials said Tuesday.

Gary Mayor Rudy Clay and Odie Anderson, listed agent for the Jackson Museum Performing Arts Center Corp., refuted recent rumors that officials had abandoned plans to build the museum in Gary. The rumor was circulated in an e-mail Tuesday and received by The Times.

“There’s not a truth to it,” Anderson said.
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Curtain still going up after 30 years

Star Plaza Theater celebrates the start of its fourth decade in show business. (Photograph by John Luke/The Times.)

Star Plaza Theater celebrates the start of its fourth decade in show business. (Photograph by John Luke/The Times.)

A number of theaters have disappeared from the Chicagoland entertainment scene, but the Star Plaza Theater continues to pack the house 30 years after the doors opened.

“We’ve become a destination. People come out to experience an event. They can go shopping or to dinner, or even make a weekend of it at The Radisson,” said Charlie Blum, president and CEO of the Star Plaza Theater, located north of the hotel near the intersection of U.S. 30 and Interstate 65.

“The impact of bringing in top-name entertainers has had a ripple effect on other businesses in the community.”
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