Dave Rowley. Ryan Sather. If you’re from or have visited the Okoboji area, that’s enough said.
Popular Iowa Great Lakes musicians Dave Rowley and Ryan Sather will kick off the new Art & Nature concert series in the Dickinson County Nature Center’s outdoor amphitheater 7 p.m. Saturday, June 13.
Kenue Park’s beautiful wetland and native prairie will serve as the backdrop for classics from the Beatles and Eagles to blues, jazz, folk and rock ‘n’ roll hits. Grab a blanket or lawn chair as well as a picnic and some friends and head out to the nature center in Okoboji for a relaxing good time.
Rowley and Sather have been playing together for more than a decade, although both their musical experiences started long before that. Sather grew up playing the piano and started making money at it in college. He eventually started Midwest Piano in Spencer and began giving lessons. Rowley’s daughter was taking violin lessons when he met Sather.
“We decided to get together for one gig, and that was 12 years ago,” Sather said, adding that he has played with Rowley for more than 200 shows since.
Rowley and Sather share vocals for their concerts, and Sather pounds the keys while Rowley switches between guitar, harmonica and ukulele. Sather calls their music adult contemporary and said it draws people in because they play songs everyone can relate to.
Rowley and Sather have a successful following, and Sather thinks it’s not because they are the best musicians in the world but because they are good entertainers. Plus, they have learned how to play well as a duo.
“I think we’re both good listeners,” Sather said. “We listen to what the other musician is doing and trying to accomplish, and we adapt.”
The outdoor amphitheater at the nature center will provide the perfect setting for Rowley and Sather’s music, and although they have done outdoor concerts before it’s not a common occurrence for them, so this will be a unique experience for audiences.
“It’s fun being outside sometimes,” Sather said. “It’s beautiful.”
The concert will be the first of three outdoor shows this season at the nature center, and it will be held after the We Pedal Clean Water conservation bike ride around West Lake Okoboji scheduled for 8 a.m.-noon June 13.
Concert tickets cost $7 at the nature center entrance, with children 5 and younger free. The gate will open at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. show. Audience members may bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on as well as picnic dinners, beer, wine or pop to enjoy during the show.
Sather hopes that the audience will enjoy the music, the passion of the songwriters represented and will leave having been thoroughly entertained.
“I think people will leave feeling good,” he said. “Music is a diversion from life.”
Concerts will also be held at the nature center 7 p.m. July 11 and Sept. 4, during the Bee & Butterfly Festival. For more information, visit the nature center's website or call 712-336-6352.