Floren Plans Tribute for Welk at Corn Palace

Nelson, Todd. "Floren Plans Tribute for Welk at Corn Palace." Argus Leader, n.d.

A Corn Palace centennial performance planned this Septmber in Mitchell will become a tribute to the late conductor Lawrence Welk, longtime band member and Roslyn native Myron Floren said Monday.

"We'll make that more or less a tribute to Lawrence and the music he played," Floren said. "We'll havesome champagne music and maybe a few bubbles, too. I think Lawrence would love something like that, and he'd like to be remembered that way. We'll be around to shake hands, too."

Welk played at the Corn Palace five times: in 1948, 1954, 1962, 1963 ans 1969. His last Sioux Falls show was June 11, 1980.

Welk, from Strasburg, N.D., had met Floren a few times in South Dakota when he recognized him in a St. Louis audience on March 7, 1950. He invited Floren on stageand then asked him to join the band as an accordion player.

What was to be a yearlong experiment turned into a professional relationship of 32 years and a lifetime frienship.

"I think fundamentally, both being from the farm, our values were pertty much the same, the way we teated our work and everything," Floren said. "It is like the old thing in the Bible where it says 'Go that extra mile.' That's what we tried to do. We tried to do something extra, give the audience something, leave them feeling a little better."

Floren, who still plays 150 shows a year, said Welk was driven by a dream of having a band and the joy of seeming people enjoy his music.

"I think he summed up his philosophy more or less in what he thought of being in this country and of being in this business when we are playing Madison Square Garden several years ago, in front of 21,000 people," Floren said. "I remember he said, 'Isn't this wonderful in America that two farmers from the Dakotas can come to New York and play for this many people.'

"He knew his audience and, I think more than anybody else, he did more to bring good clean entertainment to a whole generation than anyone else."

Reprinted with permission from the Argus Leader

Myron Floren
Lawrence Welk entertained millions with his danceable Champagne Music.

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