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Singing duo's concert here to benefit people in need

Entertainers hired for what the Ellsworth Lions Club hopes will be its first annual holiday concert are "two men on a mission," according to pre-show publicity.

"The Memories" are sometimes introduced as being on a mission "to make you laugh, listen, relax and enjoy yourselves," the publicity from their booking agency states. But besides that pledge to audiences, the Menomonie area natives will back the local Lions in an effort to help the needy when performing this Thursday evening at the Ellsworth High School Cafetorium.

Proceeds from the 7 p.m. concert have been designated for the local food shelf and the Gift Box Program. Concert goers who donate a non-perishable food item for the shelf or a toy for the program will get a discount on their admission tickets.

The idea to hold such an event originated with Lion Jay Nesseth and his family, supporters of the program in the past, Nesseth said. They'd assisted former Gift Box Coordinator Karen Meyer for several years.

"My wife Stacey noticed giving was down last year," he said, adding about items going to people in need during the 2005 holidays, "there wasn't as much of a selection."

The couple has a daughter, Tiffany, age 16, and a son, Zachary, 13.

Nesseth suggested the Lions get involved and his fellow members were receptive, he said. He talked with Lion Mike Lifto, who recommended the singers as a popular pair the Amery Lions Club had already successfully hosted.

Warren Petryk and Tim Stevens have entertained coast-to-coast for over 30 years, the publicity states. With unique harmonies and great songs, the men are described as "true pros."

"You hear it in their voices and see it with the way they connect with each and every audience they perform for," the information states. "If you enjoy music and showmanship done right, then you are going to enjoy 'The Memories'."

Petryk and Stevens have been friends since grade school, the information states. During their career, they have shared stages with Barbara Mandrell, "The Oak Ridge Boys," "Alabama," Ricky Nelson and others. They've performed at seven state fairs, over 400 county fairs and city festivals, Disneyland, major corporate events, holiday concerts, annual meetings and banquets.

Their local performance is being billed as a Christmas-type program, expected to last approximately an hour-and-a-half and include an intermission, Nesseth said. To keep the price of tickets reasonable, organizers have lined up sponsors.

Donated items will be taken at the door. Tickets will be available at the door, too, though pre-sales are now underway at M&I Bank, Bank Mutual, First National Bank, Village Pharmacy, Hinck's Economart, and Freier's Electric and Heating in Ellsworth and Hudson.

"There's a need out there," Nesseth said. "This is a way to give back to the community."