Oferle: Familial Connections
by Steve Penhollow
As band names go, Oferle is a great one. It evokes the word "offer" but with an enigmatic twist suggesting, perhaps, an offer with unspecified strings attached.
As it turns out, Oferle is the last name (minus an "f") of two of the band's three members: siblings Annette and Luke Offerle.
A third member, Jonah Baker, is a cousin.
"I am half-Offerle," he said.
And it's pronounced "Oh-feerle" not "Off-erle."
Oferle have been accumulating fans and accolades of late. The band took first place in an Indianapolis singer-songwriter competition, and it was named one of Fort Wayne's top acts by WAJI. A late January concert at 816 Pint and Slice drew a capacity crowd.
The band recently worked on a song with Mike Daley, a Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer who has collaborated with Lady Gaga, Chris Brown and Rick Ross.
Oferle are a bit of a rarity on the Fort Wayne music scene these days: An enthusiastic embracer of slick, hook-laden, sweetly harmonized contemporary pop music as practiced by John Mayer, Colbie Calliat, Lady Antebellum and Sugarland, among many others.
A talent contest at Indiana University was what gave the siblings the idea to form a band, and Baker joined later because he "wanted to get in on the fun."
The trio's uncanny chemistry was evident at the start.
"Obviously, we're family," Luke Offerle said. "But there's something about our sense of musicianship as well. It really has a good feel to it.
Being in their early 20s, the band members have written a lot of breakup songs.
"It's triple the heartbreak when you have three," Baker said.
Sometimes, a family band dynamic can mean more conflict, but not with Oferle.
"It's a lot easier to song-write that way," Luke Offerle said, "We're naturally closer."
"We already have that established relationship," Annette Offerle said. "There's no judgment when we're telling each other our heartbreak stories. Since we know each other, it's easier to figure out what everyone else is trying to say."
There's incentive not to fight, Baker said, because they all see each other outside practices and performances.
"I feel like there's less drama," he said, "because, if one of us quit the band, that would make for a really awkward Thanksgiving."
The band is gearing up for a busy spring and summer of performances (including a gig at Indy's Rathskeller) and it's weighing what its next big move should be.
Thirty years ago, a band that wanted to make a national impression would have courted major labels and moved to one of a handful of big cities.
But the truths of those moves are no longer self-evident.
Some folks have suggested that Oferle move to Nashville, Luke Offerle said.
"That's been a suggestion that's been swirling around the band," he said. "We've considered it."
But people in the know have advised against it, saying that Nashville is oversaturated with talent.
Trying to make it here in Fort Wayne makes more sense for the time being, Luke Offerle said.
"Stand out," he said.
"Focus on being a big fish in a small pond," Annette Offerle said.
A number of smart people have been saying recently that Fort Wayne is poised to be the next music mecca, a la Austin or Seattle, Baker said.
"Especially with Sweetwater the way it is," he said. "All the musicians that are moving here to work at Sweetwater and are gigging on the weekends."
Baker said he thinks Fort Wayne has a more vibrant and promising music scene than Indianapolis.
The goal of the band right now, Luke Offerle said, is to write a "crap ton" of songs and focus on being the best musicians that they can be.
"I think it's fair to say we want to be the best musicians in Fort Wayne and the best musicians in Indiana," he said, "because, if we're going to do this music thing, why not be the best at it?"
Saturday, April 29
Click on the headings below for full calendars
Click header for complete Things To Do calendar
Fort Wayne March for Babies — 3.5 mile walk to support March of Dimes, 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 29, Headwaters Park West, Fort Wayne, 918-6343 (register at marchforbabies.org
Michiana Wine Festival — Local and regional wine sampling, live music, 5K, and more, 12-6 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Headwaters Park East, Fort Wayne, $10-$35, eventbrite
Touch-a-Truck — Over 50 vehicles including limos, fire trucks, police cars and tow trucks for children to explore, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Northeast parking lot, Ivy Tech Community College, Fort Wayne, free, 480-4120
Tour for the Blind and Visually Impaired — Guided tour of the Expressions of Existence exhibition, 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, free with museum admission ($6-$8, free to FWMoA members), 422-6467
Click header for complete On the Road calendar
Click header for complete Music & Comedy calendar
4 Clicks North — Variety at Nick's Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 482-6425
Big Dick and the Penetrators — Classic rock at Danny's Sports Bar, Barbee Hotel, Warsaw, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., no cover, 574-834-1111
Brent LaCasce Quartet — Jazz/variety at Club Soda, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 426-3442
Cougar Hunter — 80s glam rock at Rusty Spur, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m.-2 a.m., $10, 260-755-3465
Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Philharmonic — Philarmonic Pops performance of music from Star Wars at Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m., $29-$72, 424-5665
He Said She Said — Variety at Mitchell's Sports Bar & Neighborhood Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $3, (260) 387-5063
Hubie Ashcraft — Acoustic at Michiana Wine Festival, Headwaters Park, Fort Wayne, 3-4 p.m., $10, 710-0199
Hubie Ashcraft Band — Country at The Venue, Angola, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $3, 665-3922
Joe Stabelli — Jazz at Don Hall's Gas House, Fort Wayne, 5:45-9 p.m., no cover, 426-3411
Jon Durnell Band — Variety at Beamer's Sports Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., no cover, 625-1002
Kat Bowser — Variety at Don Hall's Guesthouse, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 489-2524
Mark Garr and Blues Trio — Blues at Eagles Post 3512, Fort Wayne, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 436-3512
Oferle — Variety at Two-EE's Winery, Huntington, 7:30-9:30 p.m., no cover, 672-2000
The Rescue Plan — Rock at O'Sullivan's Italian Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 422-5896
Samuel Harness Music w/Sunny Taylor, Hubie Ashcraft, Moser Woods — Variety at Michiana Wine Festival, Headwaters Park, Fort Wayne, 12-6 p.m., $10-$35, eventbrite
Shane & Eric — Acoustic at Country Heritage Winery, LaOtto, 5-8 p.m., no cover, 637-2980
Todd Harrold & Nick Bobay Duo — R&B/blues/variety at American Legion Post 148, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., no cover, 423-4751
Tone Junkies — Rock at Dupont Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., cover, 483-1311
Click header for complete Karaoke & DJs calendar
Ambitious Blondes Karaoke — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Bucca Karaoke w/Bucca — Variety at Tower Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-6310
Classic City Karaoke w/Bryan Lee — Karaoke at Corner Pocket Tavern, Fremont, 10 p.m., no cover, 495-9255
Classic City Karaoke w/Tobin — Karaoke at Toad's Tavern, Monroeville, 10 p.m., no cover, 623-6226
DJ Shawn — Karaoke/variety at Club Paradise, Angola, 10 p.m., no cover, 833-7082
Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Brian — Variety at AJ's Bar and Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., , 434-1980
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Josh — Variety at Arena Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 557-1563
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Chevvy's, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-4748
House DJ — Variety at Early Bird's Ultra Lounge, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 483-1979
House DJ — Variety at Flashback on the Landing, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 422-5292
Karaoke — Variety at Crooner's Karaoke Bar, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-3 a.m., no cover, 486-1979
Live DJ — Variety at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Rockstar Karaoke & DJ w/Scotty — Variety at Pine Valley Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m., no cover, 490-9464
Shooting Star Prod. w/Barbie — Variety at Uncle Lou's Steel Mill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-5787
Shooting Star Prod. w/Stu — Variety at Pike's Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 478-6200
Click header for complete Stage & Dance calendar
Funny Little Thing Called Love — Romantic comedy by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Home and Jamie Wooten, 7 p.m. dinner, 8 p.m. curtain, Saturday, April 29 and Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 and May 12-13, Arena Dinner Theatre, Fort Wayne, $40 (includes dinner & show), 424-5622
The Little Mermaid — Fort Wayne Civic Theatre musical based on the Disney movie, 8 p.m. Saturday, April 29; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 30; 8 p.m. Friday, May 5; 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. Saturday, May 6; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 7, Arts United Center, Fort Wayne, $17-$29, 424-5220
Little Shop of Horrors — IPFW Department of Theatre performance of Alan Menken-Howard Ashman musical comedy, 8 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Williams Theatre, IPFW, Fort Wayne, $5-$18, 481-6555
Next to Normal — Tony Award- and Pulitzer-winning musical about coping with mental illness, 8 p.m.Saturday, April 29; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 30; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May 4-6; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 7, Three Rivers Music Theatre, Fort Wayne, $10-$20, 498-2270
The Taming of the Shrew — William Shakespeare’s now somewhat controversial comedy about the battle between the sexes, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29 and Friday-Saturday, May 5-6; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 7; 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 12-13, First Presbyterian Theater, Fort Wayne, $12-$20, 426-7421 ext. 121
A Wrinkle in Time — all for One productions’ adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s young adult science fiction novel, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30; 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 5-6; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 7, PPG ArtsLab, Auer Center for Arts & Culture, Fort Wayne, $11-20, 422-4226
Click header for complete Movie times
Click header for complete Art calendar
37th National Print Exhibition — Juried exhibition featuring contemporary printmakers from around the nation, Tuesday-Sunday thru May 5, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, 424-7195
41st SOCA Student Exhibition — Works from students currently enrolled at USF’s School of Creative Arts, daily thru April 30, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Diane Allen Groenert — Exhibition of local artist’s Downtown Series and new works, Monday-Saturday thru June 24, West Central Microcreamery & Cafe, Fort Wayne, 415-9293
Echolilia — Works from Timothy Archibald and his autistic son, Eli, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $6-$8 (members, free), 422-6467
Expressions of Existence — An exhibition of works by artists through history, including Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Francisco Goya and others whose works have been influenced by disabilities, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $6-$8 (members, free), 422-6467
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Fort Wayne Photographers Club — Exhibition featuring local photographers, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 30, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
Jan Krist-Finkbeiner — Exhibition of ceramic reliefs, Tuesday-Sunday thru May 5, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, 424-7195
Juxtapoz Magazine: 25 Years Under the Influence — A chronicle of the iconic magazine’s evolution into one of the most influential magazines of art of the counterculture, Tuesday-Sunday thru July 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $6-$8 (members, free), 422-6467
Kathy Funderburg & Diane Schafer-King — Acrylic paintings (Funderburg) and works in marbled paper and fabric (Schaefer-King), Monday-Saturday thru April 29, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
Norman Bradley and Friends — Exhibition of works by friends and colleagues of the late Fort Wayne artist, Tuesday-Saturday thru May 20 , Crestwoods Frame Shop & Gallery, Roanoke, 672-2080
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Perspectives Live Butterfly Display — Up close and personal perspectives of the Conservatory’s newest collection of live butterflies, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 25, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Rhoda Gerig: The Hope of Eagles — Photographic images of eagles, daily thru June 4, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Robert Williams: SLANG Aesthetics! — An exhibition of new work by the artist considered the godfather of the lowbrow, pop surrealist and colloquial realism art movements, Tuesday-Sunday thru July 23, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $6-$8 (members, free), 422-6467
Sharon — An exhibition of Leon Borensztein photographs chronicling the struggles he faced raising his severely disabled daughter, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $6-$8 (members, free), 422-6467
SOCA Graduate Program: Student Highlights — Juried exhibition of works by students enrolled in USF’s School of Creative Arts graduate program, Monday-Friday thru April 30, Lupke Gallery, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Exhibition of works by IPFW graduation seniors, daily thru May 3, Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, Main Library, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Senior thesis projects from Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates Brenda Drayer (sculpture), Derek Hibbs (printmaking), Ellen Mensch (painting), Nathaniel Morris (sculpture) and Kyle Snodgrass (sculpture), daily thru May 7, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring Palette — New original works by more than 50 nationally recognized artists, Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment thru May 20 (Cinco de Mayo Fiesta featuring mariachi music by Mark Meussling 6-10 p.m. Friday, May 5), Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568