WHEN DOVES FLY (CRY) in honor of Prince

First Princefest in New Ulm draws enthusiasts from SoCal, South Carolina, Michigan

Staff photo by Fritz Busch At left, Sue Behling of Los Angeles and Brian Behling, second from left, release doves on the Turner Hall deck at Princefest Saturday. Tribute artist Johnny Rogers performs “When Doves Cry” as the doves fly away.

NEW ULM — Prince enthusiasts from near and far attended the Princefest at the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame (MMHF) Museum and Turner Hall Saturday.

Fans included people from New Ulm and area communities to guests from Southern California, Charleston, S.C. and Michigan, to mention a few.

Among the first people to come was Woodbine, Iowa artist Jefferson Davis who created the guitar sculpture that was mounted in front of the MMHF Museum last May.

Davis shined up the guitar sculpture but said he didn’t see any damage to it.

“I really enjoy meeting Prince enthusiasts. Prince did a lot of things outside of music including charitable contributions. I enjoyed doing this sculpture in honor of him.”

Prince Legacy Project President Joel King, who helped organize the event and worked closely with Prince as a photographer coordinated Princefest in Henderson for the first five years after Prince died in 2016.

This year, King, an award-winning Hollywood movie and television cameraman, moved the event to New Ulm after learning about how Turner Hall could be used as a venue besides the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame Museum which holds dozens of Prince artifacts including a motorcycle and statue.

King said honoring Prince is particularly important to him because Prince helped him stay clean while King helped him produce “Graffiti Bridge,” a 1990 American rock musical drama film written, directed by and starring Prince. It was a standalone sequel to Prince’s 1984 film “Purple Rain.”

Prince fans included La Wanda and Joseph Fleischer of Moor Park, Ca.

“Prince unconditionally promoted love and peace. He had a gentle soul,” La Wanda said.

“I told my husband before we were married, if had to like Prince to marry me. He didn’t disappoint me,” she added.

The couple has been going to Prince tribute events for decades. They plan to dance to Prince music on a boat for four hours in San Francisco Bay in a few weeks.

“It’s just the best party to celebrate Prince Rogers Nelson and keep his legacy alive,” Fleischer said.

Princefest vendors included Dominican Republic-born artist Moises Suriel of Connecticut. Suriel has created many Prince portraits he has taken to many events around the world.

Suriel specializes in oils, acrylics, water color, pencil and charcoal mediums. His latest collection explores cultures including American history and African cultural influences. He earlier worked as a fashion designer in New York and at Disney World in Orlando.

After doves were released on the Turner Hall deck for the audience by Brian and Sue Behling of Los Angeles and a new huge Suriel mural of Prince and 500 other people was unveiled, Tribute artist Johnny Rogers performed Prince music and a history of rock and roll in honor of MMHOF Museum.

Rogers was voted best show two consecutive years in Branson, Mo., has been inducted into the Iowa Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame and voted the most versatile artist in Nashville.

Opening for singer, comedian and vocal impressionist Danny Gans at The Mirage in Las Vegas in 1993 Rogers as told by somebody backstage that Prince was there and he wanted to meet Rogers.

“I said yeah, right. I thought they were pulling a joke on me because I’ve loved Prince since I was 16,” Rogers said.

“I went back there and sure enough, he was there. It was one of the coolest things that happened to me in my life. Prince gave me a white Cloud guitar of his. I think there were only a few made for him,” he added.

“Buddy Holly was my hero. I played at the Mankato Ballroom 50 years to the exact date after Buddy Holly played there,” said Rogers.

“Prince was a huge influence on my life and music. He was creative. I learned from him. I saw some Elvis, James Brown, Santana in him. I think all our influences make us who we are,” he added.

Rogers said Princefest creator Joel King is a good friend of his.

“Hats off to him for putting this together. I’m not here for the money. I’m here to pay honor to Prince with the band. Prince draws people of all ages and races. He bridges the gap between things,” he added.


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