The group AudioBody is a testament to the power of viral videos. The two brothers had been touring as a physical comedy duo for years, but after creating the music backing the YouTube hit "The Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiments," their song stayed at number one for a month on CD Baby, and people all over the world contacted them asking where to buy a CD. And they didn't even have a band.
"It kind of got us thinking," said Jason Tandy. They looped electronic sounds into their juggling act, started coordinating music with glowing light rope tricks, and invented and rigged up various futuristic instruments, such as a 17-foot-wide drum set and electronic jumpsuits hooked up to music and kung fu sound effects.
"We actually play the lead guitar from a song," he said, "but we play it by clapping our hands together or hitting our chests or stamping our feet."
The quirky duo will perform Saturday at the Lakeville Area Arts Center's 10th anniversary celebration following an outdoor gala with champagne and hors d'oeuvres under a big top tent to celebrate the center's history and honor donors. Coordinator Tom Barnard said individuals and businesses have contributed more than $800,000 in the past decade.
"We're really excited about this event," said Bob Erickson, the chairman of the anniversary planning committee who is also a local school board member and former city administrator. "[It's] not only a chance to celebrate 10 years of successes, but a chance to recognize the significant contributions from residents, patrons and business owners."
Duane Zaun was Lakeville's mayor when the former All Saints Church went up for sale, and he and others wanted to keep the historic building intact and maintain the vitality of the downtown area. Inspired by a church-turned-art-center in Lake Wales, Fla., he suggested the same in Lakeville.
"It was kind of go from day one," said Zaun, now president of Friends for the Lakeville Arts Center. "It worked out very well."
The city transformed the historic church, built with brick from Italy in the 1930s, adding an elevator, a theater with balcony seating, a green room and a sound system.
"It has excellent acoustics," Erickson said. "It's unusual that a building that old would have such good acoustics."
Barnard said a feasibility study done 10 years ago determined the need for a pottery studio and a home base for area theatrical groups. The inhouse community theater group Expressions started in July of 2007, and the center now hosts four other theater companies. A pottery area was added in the basement and started classes in pottery, painting, photography, drawing, jewelry making and drama. The center also serves as a space for community celebrations and wedding and anniversary receptions.
"That's the thing, the community uses this facility for all kinds of different events," Erickson said. "It really is truly a landmark that anchors the historic downtown area."
Lakeville Finance Director Dennis Feller said in 1993, the city issued a tax-increment financing bond for $2 million to pay for land acquisition and remodeling. The land was subdivided, and part was sold to the Lakeville school district for $400,000. The third major source of funding for the initial costs came from donations and fundraising, which totaled $540,000. It cost $2.9 million to build and equip the facility.
One thing to be announced at the reception is that in 2013, the building will be paid for, "which is another thing to celebrate," Barnard said.
The facility costs about $450,000 a year to operate; about half comes from admissions, facility rental, classes and donations, and the rest comes from the city's general fund.
"We just want to keep it going as we have in the past," Erickson said. "We have a nice facility, and we want to use it to its capacity. I think it will be this small and useful arts facility for our community. We just want to keep it going, keep it utilized."
Liz Rolfsmeier is a Minneapolis freelance writer.