Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Orleans ‘Still the One’ for devoted fans

Soft rockers bring easy listening to Trine University


Brandon Jordan

Web Developer & Distribution Director

Published March 2, 2022

Soft rockers Orleans have collected some unique badges during their decades-long run, including a song being used by the ABC network and their frontman getting elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

With a new album every couple years, and their hits played by disc jockeys across the country each day, Orleans is bringing its laundry list of unique honors to Trine University in Angola on Saturday, March 12, at 8 p.m.

Jennifer LaRose, director of campus experiences, said concertgoers will relish in the band’s classic tracks.

“(Audiences) can expect an electric time with some great classic rock hits,” adding fans will likely “enjoy the nostalgia that their songs are going to bring” to them.

A statement on the university’s website says Orleans’ “oldest fans are bewildered and amazed at the fact that they still sound as good as (or even better than) ever … especially their vocals! Younger fans are simply impressed.”

Universal Appeal

Orleans released the Christmas-themed New Star Shining in 2021, with co-founder John Hall saying, “The material comes from various sources, most written internally but not all. Some had been previously recorded live elsewhere and made the cut unaltered. Some had previous starts but underwent major revisions and upgrades. Some were cut from scratch. Some are purely secular, while others center around the Christmas story.”

While fans in Angola will probably not hear holiday tunes, they can surely expect to hear Orleans’ classics.

The band received their first charting success with the single “Let There Be Music,” which reached No. 55 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975. Fans and casual listeners, however, will more readily recognize hits like “Dance with Me” and “Still the One,” the latter being used by ABC to promote its 1977-78 and 1979-80 television seasons.

In fact, “Still the One” has been, and continues to be, “used for countless media commercials and movie soundtracks,” according to the band’s official website.

“It’s so mainstream and has such mass appeal that, during the 2004 presidential campaign, it was used by both the Republican and Democratic parties!”

Orleans prides themselves on mass appeal and catchy tunes.

“Among music fans in America, there is a broad consensus that, for some time now, music on radio, TV, and elsewhere has generally lacked intelligent lyrics and memorable melodies,” their official site says.

“Many also express concern that the music their kids regularly hear is not suitable for young ears. This group’s music has always been family friendly, intelligent, and melodic, well before those things were issues.”

Ups and Downs

The band’s journey from their heyday has, unfortunately, included the departure and deaths of several founding members.

Hall left the band in 1977, drummer Wells Kelly died in 1984, and lead vocalist Larry Hoppen committed suicide in 2012.

According to the band’s site, “We mourned the loss. We survived the shock. We honored (Hoppen’s)memory by keeping on keeping on.”

Despite departures and deaths, Orleans has been “keeping on.”

After serving two terms as a U.S. Representative out of New York, Hall rejoined the band in 2012 within a year after Kelly’s death, and has taken only a handful of brief hiatuses since.

Following 16 albums and four DVDs, the band’s current lineup consists of Hall and fellow co-founder Lance Hoppen, along with Lane Hoppen, Brady Spencer, and Tom Lane.

While perhaps only known for a handful of songs in the 1970s, Orleans continues to “wow” concertgoers with their striking longevity and classic sound that sends a rush of nostalgia down the spines of fans new and old.

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