Vivian Dance Hall Honored at Rock and Roll Music Association’s Hall of Fame Saturday

Vivian Dance Hall-1960


VIVIAN, S.D. – (DRG News) Vivian’s Dance Hall was one of the inductees into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association’s Hall of Fame in Sioux Falls over the weekend. For years, the hall was a popular attraction for area residents who would gather for Saturday night dances. Lonis Wendt, long-time Vivian resident, accepted the award for the town at Saturday’s ceremony. He says dancers from all around the area first frequented a building in Vivian built in the late 1920’s. Later-the new gym/community hall became the center of dancing fun when the original building was deemed too small. The Vivian Dance Hall/Gym was dedicated in February 1952 and is located near the original hall.

Wendt says bands from all over came to Vivian; since the town was centrally located on their concert trails.

Wendt says music underwent changes during the 1950’s and early 1960’s-as big bands were joined by the rock and roll sound. During those years, bands like Hal Stewart, Little John Beecher and Eddie Kodet were mixed with sounds from other local bands like D.J. and the Kats and the Rock-Its–and later to Myron Lee and the Caddies, The Imperials, The Cosmopolitans, and The Mystics–who brought the new emerging rock sound to dancers in Vivian. Wendt says Vivian’s Hall was a popular spot for several years.

Wendt says by the 1980’s community dances began experiencing smaller crowds and the dances and popular dance halls became a thing of the past. Wendt expects that the plaque provided for the Dance Hall by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will end up displayed in a prominent location in the 60-year-old building sometime soon. Besides Vivian’s Dance Hall being honored in the Ballroom category; others inductees included several bands, a Sioux Falls radio station, one D.J. and a Spirit of the Music Award was also handed out.

A Dance Bill from Vivian (Believed to be from 1960) (Photo and Dance Bill Courtesy of Lonis Wendt)

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