Young Funks, Fabulous Armadillos to rock PAC

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Caleb Farber and Isaac Vraspir of The Young Funks perform during Rails to Trails in Watertown last year. (Submitted photo)

The local band The Young Funks will have the chance to perform not only on their hometown stage, but as the opening act for the nationally recognized group, The Fabulous Armadillos, on Saturday, March 15.
The concert marks a first in Watertown-Mayer Performing Arts Center history, bringing Watertown alumni, Paul Diethelm, a 1982 graduate, back to share the stage with recent graduates and current student, Isaac Vraspir.
Vraspir, along with his brother, Aaron, and other bandmates Jeremy Nikunen, Jacob Wandersee, Ian Klas, Caleb Farber, Adam Louma, Luke Vanderlinde and Zack Sandquist, were the headline band for last summer’s Rails to Trails Festival. Seventh grade student Leah Vraspir will also join the band on March 15.
“When I heard The Young Funks play last summer, I was so proud of them,” said PAC Director Joyce Peterson. “I have know these young men through the theater program here at Watertown and to see them continue to perform, although in a different genre was exciting. I wanted to put together a show that would give them the experience of performing in a professional setting.”
Since the first conception of this event, The Young Funks, who are all attending different colleges around the state have made it a point to return home on the weekends every chance they get to rehearse. They have added a few new members to round out the group.
“They are really working hard and are excited for this opportunity to perform for a big audience,” Peterson said. “Even more impressive is when I approached The Fabulous Armadillos about the Young Funks warming up for them. They were immediately on board and thought it was a great idea.”
Paul “Stretch Rocker” Diethelm grew up in Watertown. Hailing from a musical family, he started playing music at an early age. Starting out on drums and graduating to guitar after seeing Eddie Van Halen play. Diethelm joined the legendary Greystone Rockers, a seven piece horn band, in 1983 where he met Mike Zeleny and Jay O’Donnel. He formed Slip Twister in 1989 with Zeleny and O’Donnel.
Diethelm’s history took a turn in 1996 when he joined blues/rock phenom Johnny Lang’s band.
Lang offered him a full time position on guitar and vocals and the next eight years sent him touring the world and sharing the stage with rock and blues legends including Aerosmith, B.B. King, Sting, and the Rolling Stones. He has also appeared on television shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Diethelm’s song writing skills were also recognized for his hit single on Johnny Lang’s platinum selling and Grammy nominated release “Wander This World.”
This show brings together Diethelm, along with band mates Zeleny, O’Donnel, Greg “Gary D” Armstrong and Billy Scherer with Collective Unconsious members Jeff Engholm, Nathan “Nature” Nesje, Muggsy Lauer and Richard Witteman to perform their Takin’ It To The Limit Show, an Eagles Tribute.
“I have had such a high demand for tickets, I expect this show to sell out,” Peterson said. “So many people are familiar with Paul and his band. The Young Funks also have already established such a broad fanbase from Watertown all the way to their operspective colleges. Many of the staff are really excited, as well.”
Tickets are available on the school district website at www.wm.k12.mn.us or by calling the PAC office at (952) 955-1617. Tickets are general admission and are $17.50 for students with college ID and $27.50 for adults. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

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