When his 2014 debut show at the Hult Center sold out a month in advance, Bob Welch made a mental note last October:
Two shows for 2015.
But that won’t be the case this fall. Instead, he and his expanded cast and crew will actually offer three shows, two in Eugene (Thursday and Friday, Nov. 5 and 6, at 7:30 p.m.) and one at the Florence Events Center (Sunday, Oct. 18, 2 p.m.)
Umpqua Bank is presenting all three events, with the cooperation of the Seacoast Entertainment Association for the Florence event.
“I’m already pumped about this fall’s shows,” says the author, speaker and former full-time Register-Guard columnist. “We blend stories, songs, images and — yep — s’mores to create a one-of-a-kind evening that honors the best of the human spirit. We tickle some funny bones, tug on some heart strings and generally have some fun.”
Last year’s focus was on community and families. This year, the focus will be “My Oregon,” so-named for Welch’s book series of Register-Guard columns titled as such, the third of which will be released in September.
“This is not The Welches’ Oregon Vacation Slide Show,” says Welch. “This is an exploration of the soul of this place we call home. An experiencing of Oregon through all the senses. An examination of the relationship between us and the land.”
In the four-part show — The High Desert, The Mountains, The Valley, The Coast — Welch & Co. will find the humor in Oregon, the heart-stirring stuff of Oregon, “the things that make us like no other place on earth,” he says.
Beyond Welch’s storytelling, the “My Oregon” show will feature:
• The Eugene Symphony’s Dale Bradley and trio, whose music bridges his stories.
• Comedic poet David Perham, whose poetry will have the audience laughing wildly.
• The photography of six of Oregon’s best: Stan Newman and Jason Friesen, Eugene; Laren and JerriLynn Woolley (Oregon Coast Photography), Newport ; Jorma Meriaho, Dexter; and Eric Valentine, La Grande.
• A special video piece by AO Films’ Ryan Welch, Bob’s older son.
The show will again be directed by Judy Wenger, Rose Children’s Theatre director and coordinator of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Educator Preview Weekend.
“What’s cool about ‘Welch & Friends’ is that we gather people with all these diverse talents and just let them do their things,” says Welch. “The results, last year attested, are pretty amazing. And this year, with the photography and video, we’re just adding to that ‘amazing.’”
Novelist Jane Kirkpatrick, winner of the Distinguished Northwest Writer Award, will introduce Welch Thursday night. The late Dave Frohnmayer was going to introduce him Friday. Instead, that show will be dedicated to Frohnmayer, a native Oregonian who loved, and preserved, the state with passion.
Businesses helping make the Eugene show possible are The Register-Guard, Musgrove Mortuaries & Cemeteries, Oregon iLasik & Refractive, Dr. Joe Jenson, D.M.D. and Guaranty Chevrolet and RV Super Centers.
Florence sponsors are the River House Inn, Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters, City Lights Cinemas, the Chicken Coop Gift Shop and Mari’s Books in Yachats.
When: 7:30 p.m., Nov. 5 and 6.
Where: Soreng Theater at Hult Center for the Performing Arts, 7th and Willamette, Eugene.
Capacity: 498 seats.
Ticket prices: $35 and $27. Group discount (10 or more tickets), $29.75 and $23. College age and below, $15.
By phone at 541-682-5000. At the Hult Center box office.
When: 2 p.m. Oct. 18.
Where: Florence Events Center, 715 Quince St.
Capacity: 455 seats.
Ticket prices: $27 adults and $10 youth.
By phone at 541-997-1994. And at the Florence Events Center box office.