Learning & Libations

January 24, 2022, 5:30 pm

Join us at the Goss each month to learn a new skill or about a cause in a fun and social environment! Happy Hour Learning at its finest!

At the Goss Opera House we are all about art, cultural and educational experiences! We are excited to start our new program LEARNING & LIBATIONS, where each month you can come and learn a new skill or about a cause in a fun and social environment. It is happy hour learning at its finest! January is National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month. We have teamed up with Freedom Flannels, Beacon Center, and Fallout Shelter for a fun & casual evening of raising awareness of human trafficking while shopping and learning some self-defense moves!

$10/person at the door. Bring an item for the Beacon Center and get a FREE drink ticket!

Beacon Center List:

- Gift Cards to Hy-Vee, Walgreens, Walmart, etc.

- Size 5, 6, 7 diapers

- New in package underwear & socks, all sizes

- Cash Donation of $5 or more

Find out more information at https://fb.me/e/4q2qaYxxN

Learning & Libations is sponsored in part by the Watertown Area Community Foundation.

A “Grand” Gift

A 1,200-pound community Christmas present arrived Thursday at the Goss Opera House in the form of a concert grand piano. A crew from Dial-a-Move relocated the 1927 Knabe piano from Steve Misener’s shop in Stockholm to the stage in the Reliabank Theater. The piano has a long history in Watertown and the Friends of the Goss Opera House commissioned Misener to do a complete restoration about 10 months ago. The piano was owned by Leon and Vernola Jelinek, a concert pianist who lived in Watertown during his later years. The Watertown School District bought the piano from the Jelinek estate in 1965 and sold it in 2005 when it was located at Lake Area Technical College. The restoration cost about $16,000 and was funded by a generous grant from the Watertown Area Community Foundation and a small number of private donors. The piano will permanently reside on the stage at the Goss. An existing baby grand piano that was on the stage was moved to the third floor Prairie Lakes landing.

South Dakota architecture firms captured one American Institute of Architecture (AIA) South Dakota Honor Award, two Merit Awards and one People’s Choice Award during AIA South Dakota’s recent annual conference………(other awards were listed here)….…..AIA South Dakota President Tom Hurlbert, AIA, of CO-OP Architecture, issued one President’s Award to Friends of the Goss Opera House, a nonprofit organization that helped restore and helps maintain the historic Goss Opera House, a circa-1889 venue in Watertown, South Dakota.

Restored Splendor

Historic 1880s Opera House Transformed in Watertown, South Dakota

by Kathy Ziprik, owner, Ziprik Consulting

When the curtain rose again at the historic Goss Opera House in 2020, the structure had been transformed.  Thanks to a five-million-dollar renovation, every inch of the 37,000-sq.ft. building space was refurbished, including eye-catching interior stair systems.

Situated in downtown Watertown, South Dakota, the Goss Opera House was brought back to life after a nearly 70-year hiatus.  The non-profit group, Friends of the Goss Opera House, purchased the building in December 2018.  They then turned their attention to transforming the structure back to its original 1889 grandeur.


“Everything from the roof down to the flooring was updated,” said Jamie Mack, executive director with Friends of the Goss Opera House, Inc.  “We had tremendous local support.  The hard work of many people transformed the Goss back into a vibrant entertainment center.”

A highlight of the opera hall itself is the new Linear Collection stainless steel cable and tube rail system surrounding the stage and balcony areas.  Interior designer Lori Storley chose products from L.J. Smith® Stair Systems to add a modern touch to the restoration.

“We focused on creating a historically sensitive renovation,” said Storley, principal designer with HomeTown Building Center, Watertown.  “This wasn’t a formal restoration.  Instead, we selected products that are respectful of the past and invoke historic elements, while still being modern.  The cable rail perfectly meets that task.  It’s the ideal product to allow great vision to the stage.  It also adds the element of safety we need and has the modern edge we desired.”

According to Mack, the cable railings were the last element to be added to the opera hall.  “I believe the designers picked the perfect system from L.J. Smith to finish off the balcony and stairs on the side of the stage,” said Mack.  “The cable system is just the right combination of elegance and functionality.”


Before entering the opera hall itself, guests stroll through a gracefully restored lobby area.  A newly installed wood and iron stairway system draws immediate attention.  It’s now called the Grand Staircase.

“The classic style of the L.J. Smith wood box newel and handrail complement the warm wood tones throughout the building,” said Storley.  “At the same time, the iron balusters add a nice, modern element to the design.  This creates a terrific balance.  The stair system looks substantial but not too heavy within the space.”  The decorative newel and graceful volute of the main lobby Grand Staircase invite guests upstairs to explore the building.  A second and third floor stair system adds detail and interest to the space, including box newels and metal balusters with knuckles.

“I’ve used L.J. Smith products many times over the years in other projects,” said Storley.  “The quality of the products and the wide variety of styles make it a great resource for designing stair systems.”

Helping make the magical transformation take place during the early stages for the Goss Opera House renovation was the team at Building Products Inc. (BPI), Watertown.

“We owe so much to the BPI team and their generosity,” said Mack.  “Tim Qualm from BPI did all the measuring, showed us samples of L.J. Smith products, and then did the ordering.  The cable system in the opera house was paid for out of our budget.  Other than that, all the stair system parts were donated by the owners of BPI, who have their corporate office here in Watertown.


“This was such an outstanding community project.  Gray Construction, Watertown, who installed the stairway systems and did so much work on this restoration, donated a portion of their fees to help us get this massive job completed in less than two years.  The quality of their work, under a very tight deadline, is commendable,” Mack continued.

Now open to the public for musicals, concerts, and plays, the Goss Opera House has helped reinvigorate Watertown’s business area.  “We’re seeing more and more interest in bookings and rentals of our facility following the renovation,” said Mack.  “There’s stronger traffic through the downtown area.  As a result, our attendance numbers continue to rise.

“We constantly hear from members of our community about how impressed they are with the renovation.  I’m receiving very specific comments about the stair systems.  People believe the cable system in the opera house is very classy, and they appreciate how it doesn’t distract from the entertainment on stage.  In the lobby, the grand staircase is now the place to be seen and photographed.  That stairway is the finishing touch on a stunning renovation.”

John Fullbright

January 4, 2022, 7:00 pm

John Fullbright, an American singer-songwriter from Okemah, Oklahoma, brings his full band concert to The Goss Opera House.

“What’s so bad about happy?” John Fullbright sings on the opening track of his new album, ‘Songs.’ It’s a play on the writer’s curse, the notion that new material can only come through heartbreak or depression, that great art is only born from suffering.

“A normal person, if they find themselves in a position of turmoil or grief, they’ll say, ‘I need to get out of this as fast as I can,’” says Fullbright. “A writer will say, ‘How long can I stay in this until I get something good?’ And that’s a bullshit way to look at life,” he laughs.

That plainspoken approach is part of what’s fueled the young Oklahoman’s remarkable rise. It was just two years ago that Fullbright released his debut studio album, ‘From The Ground Up’ to a swarm of critical acclaim. The LA Times called the record “preternaturally self-assured,” while NPR hailed him as one of the 10 Artists You Should Have Known in 2012, saying “it’s not every day a new artist…earns comparisons to great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Randy Newman, but Fullbright’s music makes sense in such lofty company.” The Wall Street Journal crowned him as giving one of the year’s 10 best live performances, and the album also earned him the ASCAP Foundation’s Harold Adamson Lyric Award. If there was any doubt that his debut announced the arrival of a songwriting force to be reckoned with, it was put to rest when ‘From The Ground Up’ was nominated for Best Americana Album at the GRAMMY Awards, which placed Fullbright alongside some of the genre’s most iconic figures, including Bonnie Raitt.

“I never came into this with a whole lot of expectations,” says Fullbright. “I just wanted to write really good songs, and with that outlook, everything else is a perk. The fact that we went to LA and played “Gawd Above” in front of a star-studded audience [at the GRAMMY pre-tel concert], never in my life would I have imagined that.”

But for Fullbright, it hasn’t been all the acclaim that means the most to him, but rather his entrance into a community of songwriters whose work he admires.

“When I started out, I was all by myself in a little town in Oklahoma where whatever you wanted, you just made it yourself,” he explains. “I didn’t grow up around musicians or like-minded songwriters, but I grew up around records. One of the most fulfilling things about the last two years is that now I’m surrounded by like-minded people in a community of peers. You don’t feel so alone anymore.”

If there’s a recurring motif that jumps out upon first listen to ‘Songs,’ it’s the act of writing, which is one Fullbright treats with the utmost respect. “When I discovered Townes Van Zandt, that’s when I went, ‘You know, this is something to be taken pretty damn seriously,’” says Fullbright. “‘This is nothing to do with business, it has to do with art and identity.’ You can write something that’s going to outlast you, and immortality through song is a big draw.”

But just as important to Fullbright as writing is careful editing. “I can write a first verse and a chorus fairly easily, and it’s important just to document it at the time and come back to it later,” he explains. “That’s the labor, when you really get your tools out and figure out how to craft something that’s worthwhile.”

Fullbright inhabits his songs’ narrators completely, his old-soul voice fleshing out complex characters and subtle narratives with a gifted sense of understatement.

“My songwriting is a lot more economical now,” he explains. “I like to say as much as I can in 2 minutes 50 seconds, and that’s kind of a point of pride for me.”

The arrangements on ‘Songs’ are stripped down to their cores and free of ornamentation. Fullbright’s guitar and piano anchor the record, while a minimalist rhythm section weaves in and out throughout the album. That’s not to say these are simple songs; Fullbright possesses a keen ear for memorable melody and a unique approach to harmony, moving through chord progressions far outside the expected confines of traditional folk or Americana. The performances are stark and direct, though, a deliberate approach meant to deliver the songs in their purest and most honest form.

“I’m a better performer and writer and musician now, and I wanted a record that would reflect that,” he says. “We tracked a lot of it live, just me and a bass player in a room with a few microphones. The basis is a live performance and everything else supports that. I think you just get as much energy and skill as you can into a take, and then start building from there. And what we found is that you don’t have to add too much to that.”

The songs also reflect how drastically Fullbright’s life has changed since the release of ‘From The Ground Up,’ which launched him into a rigorous schedule of international touring. “Going Home” finds him appreciating the simple pleasure of heading back to Oklahoma, which he likens to The Odyssey. “When you’re gone for so long, once you know you’re headed in the right direction to your own bed and your own home, that’s one of the greatest feelings you can have,” he says.

“I Didn’t Know” is a song he premiered live at concert hosted by Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, a story he tells still somewhat incredulously, while “When You’re Here” is a somber piano love song, and “The One That Lives Too Far’ is a raw account of the strain that distance can put on a romantic relationship. “All That You Know,” which features just voice and Wurlitzer, implores listeners to appreciate what’s right in front of them, and the finger-picked “Keeping Hope Alive” is a song of resilience through hard times.

To be sure, ‘Songs’ has its moments of darkness, tracks born from pain and heartbreak, but for a craftsman like Fullbright, there are few greater joys than carving emotion into music, taking a stab at that lofty goal of immortality through song. It makes him—and his fans—happy, and there’s nothing bad about that.

TBA Presented By Redlinger Bros

September 16, 2022, 7:00 pm

TBA with Red Light Go and Full Force Face First

Grammy© nominated alternative rock artist with multiple quadruple platinum and gold records takes the Watertown Area Community Foundation stage at the Goss Opera House. Sorry, we can’t use this group’s official name until the announcement of their North American tour in the fall. However, we will give you a hint…their name is a beautiful beverage! Show to be announced soon.

Auditions For Missing Mountain Mystery

May 31, 2022, 3:30 pm

Auditions for Dakota Players’ original musical production of The Missing Mountain Mystery will be held The Goss Opera House.

Dakota Players wants to guide the young talent of Watertown through a fun-filled, motivating week of theatre magic! The Missing Mountain Mystery production is designed with suitable parts for every age, skill and experience level involved. Five days of intensive rehearsals will be held in which the lines, staging, songs and even dances will be learned, culminating in an out-of-this-world performance! In addition to the on-stage roles, there are also older children needed to assist the directors and learn how to operate sound and lighting equipment to add to the fun-filled, motivating, magical theatre experience!


Grumpier Old Men - Dinner & A Movie

April 14, 2022, 7:00 pm

John and Max resolve to save their beloved bait shop from turning into an Italian restaurant.

Grumpier Old Men is a 1995 American romantic comedy film, and a sequel to the film Grumpy Old Men. It stars Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret, Sophia Loren, Burgess Meredith (in his final film role), Daryl Hannah, Kevin Pollak, Katie Sagona and Ann Morgan Guilbert. Grumpier Old Men was directed by Howard Deutch, with the screenplay written by Mark Steven Johnson and the original music score composed by Alan Silvestri. Meredith developed Alzheimer's disease and had to be coached through his role in the film. He died in 1997.

Singing In The Rain - Dinner & A Movie

March 10, 2022, 7:00 pm

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American musical romantic comedy film directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds and featuring Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell and Cyd Charisse. It offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood in the late 1920s, with the three stars portraying performers caught up in the transition from silent films to "talkies".

The film was only a modest hit when it was first released. O'Connor won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green won the Writers Guild of America Award for their screenplay, while Jean Hagen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. However, it has since been accorded legendary status by contemporary critics, and is often regarded as the greatest musical film ever made, as well as the greatest film made in the "Freed Unit" at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It topped the AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals list and is ranked as the fifth-greatest American motion picture of all time in its updated list of the greatest American films in 2007.

In 1989, Singin' in the Rain was one of the first 25 films selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In 2005 the British Film Institute included it in its list of the 50 films to be seen by the age of 14. In 2008, Empire magazine ranked it as the eighth-best film of all time. In Sight & Sound magazine's 2012 list of the 50 greatest films of all time, Singin' in the Rain placed 20th.

Indiana Jones - Raiders Of The Lost Ark - Dinner & A Movie

February 10, 2022, 7:00 pm

In 1936, adventurer Indiana Jones is hired to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler's Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It stars Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, and Denholm Elliott. Ford portrays Indiana Jones, a globe-trotting archaeologist vying with Nazi German forces in 1936 to recover the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, a relic said to make an army invincible. Teaming up with his tough former lover Marion Ravenwood (Allen), Jones races to stop rival archaeologist Dr. René Belloq (Freeman) from guiding the Nazis to the Ark and its power.