Brookings-based band Aaron Baron to be inducted into S.D. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Courtesy illustration: This promotion poster features the Brookings-based Aaron Baron band, which will be inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend.

SIOUX FALLS – The South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association will host the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony and concert Friday and Saturday at the Ramkota Exhibit Hall in Sioux Falls.

Among this year’s inductees into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will be the Brookings-based band Aaron Baron.

Aaron Baron was formed in 1978 by South Dakotans Jeff Marso (guitar/vocals), Joe Ravenscroft (keyboards) and Scott Miller (bass/vocals), all of Miller, and Dave Reck (drums/vocals) of Hazel. Brian Detmers (guitar/vocals) of Canton was added later that year. In early 1979, Dick Bartling (drums) of Brookings replaced Reck, who later became the sound man. 

Aaron Baron’s popularity grew quickly. Based in Brookings, the band played weekends at bars, ballrooms, high schools, and colleges in eastern South Dakota, southwest Minnesota, and northwest Iowa. 

The band’s mix of covers and originals included a dose of songs by the late Sioux City guitar legend Tommy Bolin. Vocalist Dawn Sorlien of Huron performed with the band throughout 1980. All members attended South Dakota State or the University of South Dakota, but playing full-time in pursuit of a record deal became their goal.

After signing with Chris Buren of Full Tilt Management in early 1981 and becoming Sioux Falls-based, Jeff, Joe, Scott, Brian, and Dick toured a 10-state area and played 200-250 nights a year for the next two and a half years. Aaron Baron was the top drawing band at Dakota Territory in Sioux Falls and arguably SDSU’s favorite band at Friday’s in Brookings. They also drew big crowds at The Barbarian in Rapid City and The Zoo in Aberdeen and packed ballrooms and state basketball tournament dances. 

Aaron Baron’s song “Love Has Changed My Mind” was one of four finalists in the 1982 Miller Brewing Co./KKRC Radio “Rock to Riches” songwriting contest. Their 1983 South Dakota Public TV performance was the most watched “No Cover, No Minimum” show of the ‘80s, and viewers voted the band into the SDPTV Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. 

Aaron Baron also influenced younger musicians who went on to regional success. The powerful, tight ensemble sound allowed them to cover a wide range of ‘70s and ‘80s rock artists authentically. 

Band members gratefully acknowledge the significant roles that friends, teachers, and influential musicians, living and passed, have played in their lives and musical journeys. 

Band mmbers express thanks to the road crew over the years: Kendal Haug, Marty Strasburg, Mark Beranek, Rick Ayres, Dwight Jorgenson, Dave Reck, Dean Hartman, Dan Picht, and Maylo Everhart and to substitute vocalist Steve Knorr. 

The event will start with a Friday night jam session (with donations appreciated at the door) featuring several Hall of Fame inductees. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the jam session starts at 8 p.m. 

On Saturday an autograph session will be begin at 3 p.m., followed by the induction cermony starting at 6 p.m.

Tickets for the induction ceremony may be purchased online at southdakotarockandrollmusicassociation.com.

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