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Local singer invites the public to a special ‘love’ concert

Keith Huhn, left, appears here with the two people who inspired him most in his singing career - his mother Arlene, who died two years ago, and world renowned opera singer, Simon Estes. (Submitted photo)
Keith Huhn, left, appears here with the two people who inspired him most in his singing career - his mother Arlene, who died two years ago, and world renowned opera singer, Simon Estes. (Submitted photo)

Nevada singer Keith Huhn, 58, known professionally as “The Tenor,” will perform a special Valentine’s-inspired concert on Saturday, Feb. 15, at The Talent Factory in Nevada, starting at 7 p.m.

Though busy sharing his vocal talents far and wide, Huhn, a full-time real estate appraiser, said he still likes to perform in the local area, as he has done in the past.

On Feb. 15, he will be joined by several others to put on a “fun” concert, featuring lots of love songs. Among those performing will be the Brethren Quartet, which along with Huhn includes Randy Navratil, Steve Olson and Al Sampson, all of Story City; Huhn’s daughter, Carly Huhn, who teaches music at Linn Marr; Sarah Bradley, who Huhn describes as “one of the best soprano students ever at Iowa State University” and Miles Morgan, who Huhn said has sung with him in the past.

Carly, Bradley and Morgan will bring a younger element to the show, he said, so there will be music that appeals to a broad age range.

Huhn will sing favorites like “Pretty Woman,” “My Girl” and “Unchained Melody.” The Quartet will do “Duke of Earl.” And there will be other “oldies, but goodies, too,” he promises.

Tickets for the concert will be sold for $8 a seat at the door of The Talent Factory (former Camelot Theater) on the evening of the show.

“It’s a good place to perform … it’s unique,” Huhn said of the historic Nevada theater, where he has performed a number of times. He believes it’s important to continue to utilize this Nevada treasure that owner Larry Sloan is putting so much work into.

Along with the performance at The Talent Factory, area residents can also catch Huhn in performances in Ames on Feb. 9 and Feb. 14, both starting at 7 p.m. at The Plex, located across the street from the Ames Golf and Country Club. Huhn said his performances there will have some gospel-type songs, love songs and songs that reflect the challenges in marriage through the years. Both performances will accept a free-will offering as admission. The first, on Feb. 9, is targeted at people of retirement age, Huhn said. The second, on Feb. 14, will be fun for all ages.

A singer since his youth

For those not familiar with Huhn, he’s a native of Nevada, living here all but nine years, from 1989-1998, when he lived in Story City. He and his wife, Marce, have four kids. In addition to Carly, they have Ashley Hauck of Nevada; Haley, who works for U.S. Cellular in Des Moines and Riley, who is a senior at Nevada High School.

Huhn grew up with a mother, Arlene (she passed away two years ago), who had a passion for music. “My mom gave me a love of music,” Huhn said. Arlene was a great athlete in high school at Roland-Story, but music was her true passion, and she touched many lives as a longtime piano teacher in the local area.

His first official performance as a singer, Huhn said, was in about fourth or fifth grade, when Mrs. Busch asked him to sing “Wells Fargo Wagon” from “The Music Man” in a performance of the Milford School Early Birds singing club. “That was my first biggie,” he laughs.

Singing came naturally to Huhn, who boasts that it’s the one thing he was always better at than his sister, Holly. “But in everything else, my sister was the best musician – probably the best musician in Nevada when she was growing up. She was such a good piano player,” he said.

With his mother passing a love for music to him, Huhn later in life would have another mentor to look up to and be inspired by. That was Simon Estes, an Iowa-born opera singer who became well known throughout the world.

Meeting Estes at Iowa State, where he was studying with Huhn’s daughter Carly, Huhn developed a friendship with the singer and eventually sang with him in some performances. “He’s such a dear guy, and he’s the real deal, not a phony at all,” Huhn said.

From Estes, Huhn received confidence. “And Simon gave me the realization that maybe I should share this gift (of my voice) with others.”

Huhn said he’s different than a lot of singers, because aside from Rap, he likes all types of music. “I don’t have a favorite,” he said. But he does know that his powerful tenor voice is better suited to sing certain types of music than others. “I’m probably better at the prayer type songs, powerful songs. You’ve got to sing to your strengths,” he said.

And that’s exactly what Huhn has been doing. After his local performances here, he’ll head to Arizona, where he’ll appear in the Spring Showcase, which is attended by resort professionals from all over. Huhn has already signed contracts with resorts after being part of last year’s Spring Showcase.

For a long time, Huhn has had a regular singing partner, Jill Brown, with whom he did a concert in Arizona last year, and the two received a rare standing ovation. This year, however, Huhn will venture out on his own, as Brown is busy with fawmily commitments. “She’s a dear gal; a great singer,” he said, “but she needs to spend this time with her family.”

So for now, Huhn will strike out as a soloist, “The Tenor,” and enjoy the occasional performances with his quartet and his daughter, like the one coming up in Nevada. “I hope people will attend the (Feb. 15) show for a nice evening of local entertainment. I think it will be an enjoyable evening,” he said.

As for continuing to share his vocal talents, Huhn said he shares them humbly with a great deal of thankfulness to people like his mother and Simon Estes. “We are nothing but what God and other people have done in our lives.”