Gary W. Brueggen of Westby is better known as “Wisconsin’s Concertina Kid” and the lead musician in Gary’s Ridgeland Dutchmen Band.

Celebrating 35 years in music the music industry Brueggen is hoping to give back to the area with a fundraiser for the Westby Area Fine Arts Foundation (FAFWA) supporting its efforts raising money for the new performing arts center under construction in Westby.

The FAFWA fundraiser will be part of a special full day of music, with multiple bands scheduled on Sunday, Oct. 8, at the Amerahn Ballroom in Kewaskum, Wisconsin.

Gary’s Ridgeland Dutchmen have a strong fan base across the state, but especially in the Kewaskum area. Brueggen’s musical roots run deep dating back to when he was just knee-high to a grasshopper age growing up in the Coulee Region. His father, Willard Brueggen has been making music twice as long as Gary with this year marking Willard’s 70th year in the music industry.

The band plays a variety of Polka music including Dutchmen, German, Czech, Polish and Slovenian style songs along with a variety of country, big band, swing, and 50s and 60s music. The group’s latest CD, “Brueggen Down the House” has won numerous awards.

Gary and his wife, Brianne reside in Westby. Their children will be attending Westby schools and the couple is looking forward to attending events in the new performing arts center when their children are old enough to take the stage.

Fundraiser prizes include autographed items from the Statler Brothers, Jimmy Fortune, the La Crosse Loggers, and many other bands. More locally made items would also be appreciated before the fundraiser.

FAFWA president Linda Dowling said several people have already signed up to attend the concert and she is hoping more do the same. The organization is grateful to Gary and the band for supporting the performing arts center project.

A bus trip to the celebration is planned with pick up locations scheduled in La Crosse, Sparta, Tomah and more areas dependent on interest. The cost is $50 per person and includes the bus, admission and some refreshments.

To reserve your seat contact Gary’s Ridgeland Dutchmen at 608-269-2065 or 608-343-1317 for more information.

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Dorothy Robson is editor of the Westby Times. Contact her at 608-637-5625.

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