Local couple Wendy Monroe and Steve Dargel will perform with the Wilmore Opry on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Barron Theater in Pratt at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
When the Wilmore Opry live Christmas Show hits the Barron Theater in Pratt, it will feature two artists from the Greensburg area sharing their talents in singing and story telling. Wendy Monroe will sing some country hits while Steve Dargel shares some wit and humor with his unique brand of story telling.
The Wilmore Opry will perform two shows at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Barron Theater in Pratt. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tickets are free but seating is limited. They are available at the Barron Theater or the Pratt Tribune, both in the 300 block of South Main in Pratt. White tickets are for the afternoon performance and red tickets for the evening show.
For her part in the show, Monroe will perform "Blue Bayou" a song made famous by Linda Ronstadt and "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan. While the songs have very different themes, they are songs that the audience should enjoy, said Monroe who performs some of the more classic hits that she feels will appeal to the audience.
Monroe, who sings by ear, has been singing for much of her life including in high school and college. She grew up in Haviland and sang at events there and in Greensburg.
She got involved with the Wilmore Opry in 2007 when she auditioned with "I Will Always Love You" made famous by Whitney Houston.
Monroe loves to sing and it has helped her get through some tough times. On Dec. 21, 1998, she was in a horrific car wreck that left her paralyzed from the middle chest down. She didn't let this stop her and went to college at Dodge City Community College to become a nail technician giving manicures and pedicures. She had to commute to Dodge every day for five months to get her degree. Eventually, she had to give up that job because of her injuries in the car wreck.
She and her partner Steve Dargel went through the Greensburg tornado in 2007. They took her car and drove out of town before the tornado struck and destroyed their house.
But through all this, she kept singing because she considers it a God given talent and its something she should share. Singing helps people feel good and with all the things she has been through in her life, she wants her music to encourage others. Hopefully, people will see and hear her and be inspired to hang on when things in life get rough.
"We don't know what some people are going through," Monroe said. "We just want to help people with the talent we've been given."
While Monroe uses her music to inspire, story teller Steve Dargel uses his cowboy stories to entertain and bring a smile to people. He plans on telling stories about a grain elevator scale and about a couple of kids that got into trouble in church.
He started telling poetry for 15 years. Some where his, some were by other authors but they were all associated with cowboys. He got started mostly out of boredom while driving a tractor. He received a cassette tape of cowboy poet Baxter Black and was hooked. He tries to tell stories like Black and other cowboy poets to make it interesting to the audience. He also likes being a poet because it's a hobby that doesn't cost him any money.
A recent inspiration came at a convention in Elco, Nev., one of the largest cowboy poets gatherings in the nation. It was at this convention years ago that started the cowboy poet movement and its been popular every since.
At the convention in January, Dargel got to met some of the poets that have inspired him. He was also railroaded into presenting his poetry. When he was finished, he got to meet cowboy poet Baxter Black and had meeting with the man in charge of the event who told him to perform his poetry anywhere and everywhere he could.
Dargel uses his own material and other cowboy poets as well. He contacts the other poets and gets permission to use their material to make a good variety of poems.
Getting associated with the Wilmore Opry was a challenge. While Monroe was already associated, the focus of the Opry was mostly music and they were reluctant to get a poet on board. But when they heard his material, it was clear it would fit in just fine with the Opry style.
Dargel keeps his material family oriented because he never knows who might be in the audience. His goal when performing is to give the audience a good show.
"I hope they have a good time and enjoy it," Dargel said. "It might be humorous, it might be Christian but it will be a good story."