Tyndall's hall of fame dance hall
TYNDALL -- There's no more music at Groveland Park, but memories of its bands and good times will come alive this weekend.
The old dance hall, which now serves as a machine shed, will be inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today during the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association's annual event in Sioux Falls.
The Barringer family purchased the dance hall near Tyndall in 1947 and started offering polka bands and dances, said Rich Barringer, one of two surviving sons.
"There was no rock 'n' roll then," said Barringer, who was born, raised and still lives in Tyndall.
Both Barringer and Bob Maag, who purchased Groveland Park from the Barringer family, will be on hand to receive the award today.
The dance hall was a draw for local and area organizations' annual banquets, wedding parties, anniversary parties and roller skating. Barringer said it was originally moved from Yankton to Tyndall by the Tyndall Fire Department to be used as a dance hall.
The Barringer family operated the hall until 1975.
"I remember all the fun we had and all the times I had to work when I didn't want to," Barringer said with a laugh. "It was a busy place. It was always a family operation."
Groveland Park transitioned from polka to rock 'n' roll after Barringer's youngest brother started to enjoy the genre and badgered their father to book bands.
"We'd have crowds as little as 100 people and up to 1,000 people," Barringer said. "They'd spill out into the parking lot."
Bands like The Mustangs, The Blue Things and Buddy Knox played the venue.
Big-band names continued to play at Groveland Park after Maag bought it in late 1975. Maag, originally of Tripp, said Tommy James and the Shondells played the venue along with Fats Domino and Revolution, which used to do back up for Prince.
Maag has had a good run in the rock 'n' roll business. He started as a teenager when he joined Marlys Roe and the Talismen, which was inducted into the hall of fame in 2010. While a student at South Dakota State University, members of the group Nickel Bag of Soul approached him to sing lead vocals and play keyboard. Another Tripp native, Bryan Brosz, played the trombone with the group.
"I listened to them one night and thought they were pretty good," Maag said. "So I left the Talismen and joined Nickel Bag of Soul."
Nickel Bag of Soul is being inducted into the hall of fame today as well. The horn band played covers from bands like Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, and Sly and the Family Stone.
Maag stayed with the band for about two years, playing venues throughout the Midwest. Toward the end of his time with Nickel Bag of Soul, Maag said the group played as far away as Atlanta.
"It was a great horn band," he said in a phone interview with The Daily Republic this week. "We've had the opportunity to rehearse a couple of times recently and many of the guys have come back. There were lots of great musicians."
Fourteen men will perform on stage at the induction ceremony today, Maag said -- three trombones, two trumpets, one saxophone, three lead singers, a couple of keyboardists, a bass guitar and two drummers. Normally, the group played with seven people on stage.
"Some members are still playing in the state and some haven't played for 40 years," he said. "It has been challenging to get this back together."
After his time with Nickel Bag of Soul, Maag purchased Island Park at Milltown and Groveland Park, and ran both dance halls successfully into the 1980s. Island Park was inducted into the hall of fame last year and has been cleaned up by the local community after falling into disuse.
"It feels fabulous to have them inducted," Maag said of the two dance halls. "All that hard work you put into something you love to do and now you're kind of being recognized for it, it's great."
He said he can't take all the credit for the halls being inducted.
"It's not something you did yourself. There were lots of people that helped. It takes a lot of dedication from family and friends," Maag said. "You certainly have to be lucky with bands and groups to maintain a place's popularity."
Many of the men went on to different careers and have families, but Maag said the memories of being in the band and running music halls will always remain.
"The best thing about enjoying rock 'n' roll music is meeting all the people," he said. "Especially being on stage and running a business, it was always very rewarding to see all the good things you did for people."
Even as Maag transitioned into a career with Farm Credit Services, he said many people still recognized him at work-related activities.
"People would say, 'Aren't you Bob Maag that played with Nickel Bag of Soul and owned Groveland Park?' It's been a wonderful thing for my past and my memories," Maag said.