'50s and '60s rock n'roll at Taste of Northfield

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 12, 2012 - 5:11 PM

The year was 1967. Gasoline was 33 cents a gallon. The Monkees' "I'm a Believer" and The Doors' "Light My Fire" were at the top of the Billboard charts.

It was that year, too, that Marc Reigel and his popular band, the Night Crawlers, played their final gig at Carleton College in Northfield.

Reigel, now of Columbus, Ohio, will reprise the band's last fling on Thursday during the Taste of Northfield. The seventh annual event, held from 5 to 11 p.m. at Bridge Square, will feature a wine and beer garden, a silent auction, a street dance, a reenactment of the 1876 Northfield bank raid by the James-Younger gang, and a $1,000 cash raffle drawing at 9 p.m.

Reigel will lead a singalong on keyboard from 8 to 10 p.m. on the outdoor stage of the Contented Cow Pub & Wine Bar on Division Street. Fellow Night Crawlers bandmate Barry Gillespie, a Realtor in Owatonna, will join Reigel in the singalong. The Contented Cow will provide songbooks with the words to 31 songs by the Beatles, Elvis, the Everly Brothers, the Byrds, Jerry Lee Lewis and other rock 'n' rollers of the 1950s and '60s.

The singalongs, which Reigel has led in Northfield in 2010 and 2011, have drawn a crowd ranging from ages 3 to 92. Choral groups from Carleton and St. Olaf often join in, as do the alumni and "townies" who used to sneak in to the Night Crawlers' gigs.

The shows are "incredibly enjoyable as a shared sense of community," Reigel said. "And you won't believe the singers that come to this thing! There's a real quality-control thing going on. These guys are tight. It's a hoot!"

In addition to the Taste, it's also the 45th reunion of Reigel's Carleton College Class of '67. At least 15 to 20 of his classmates are expected at the singalong. Then, Reigel will reconvene some of his former bandmates for a gig especially for the reunion.

The Night Crawlers, who played around the Midwest from 1965 to '67, gained some newfound fame in recent years when a fan in the Netherlands put their recording of "You Say" on YouTube and started a Facebook page for the group. The page now has more than 15,000 hits and "likes" from people in 166 countries. A record label in Switzerland also is working with Reigel to produce a CD of 12 songs from the band's last gig.

Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284

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