Show marks local musician’s retirement

Who: Dick Kimmel & Co., a New Ulm bluegrass band

What: A special goodbye – hello performance for Jerilyn Kjellberg, Tony Rook

When: Saturday, Dec. 14, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Grand Kabaret in New Ulm

NEW ULM – Dick Kimmel & Co., a New Ulm-based bluegrass band, is giving a special “goodbye – hello” performance at the Grand Kabaret in New Ulm Saturday, Dec. 14, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The “goodbye” element is in recognition of the retirement of Jerilyn Kjellberg after 12 years of performing and recording with the band, explained Kimmel. Past band members will be sitting-in with the band during the 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. sets, to recognize Kjellberg’s musical achievements, adds Kimmel. The “hello” part – the last set at 9:30 p.m. – will welcome the band’s new singer and guitarist, North Carolinian Tony Rook.

The Dec. 14 show is Kjellberg’s last with the band and marks her retirement from music. Kjellberg has performed with Dick Kimmel & Co. through many personnel changes for more than 12 years, said Kimmel. She started singing with Dick Kimmel & Co. at Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Ulm in the 1990s, shortly thereafter becoming a regular performer with the band. She has performed at bluegrass festivals and concerts throughout the United States and Canada.

“Jerilyn Kjellberg has earned an excellent reputation world-wide for her singing,” said Kimmel. “She appeared on three CDs with me over that past eight years, and the CD reviews always raved about her fine singing. Her singing literally dazzles audiences, and her performance was always polished and solid. I will particularly miss singing old country duets with her and hope to lure her out of retirement from time to time to present duet programs.”

Kjellberg’s replacement, Rook, originally from North Carolina, now lives in New Prague. He is a “powerful guitarist, excellent bluegrass singer and excellent songwriter,” says Kimmel. Rook was featured with Dick Kimmel & Co. in New Ulm last July 3 at the Gettysburg/Civil War program, where his original song, “Lauralee,” was called the “highlight of the afternoon,” adds Kimmel. The lyrics to this song were printed in the program.

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