Full Crowd at Benefit Concert

Kathy Whitinger enjoying the Maddie Poppe concert with her grandkids- Miles, Evie, Ada and Lucas

Over 1200 people filled the ball field in Elma Sunday night taking in Maddie Poppe and Danni Bilidt Johnston.  “It was a great night in so many ways,” shared Joe Whitinger.  Last spring Joe dreamed up the idea of bringing Maddie Poppe to Elma as gift for his wife, Kathy’s, 75th birthday.  They had been Maddie fans since she won the American Idol in 2018 and had been to several of her concerts.  He started by writing Maddie a letter to see if she would come and sure enough she would.  So, on Sunday night over a 100 of their friends and family celebrated Kathy’s birthday at the concert.

But that is not the only reason the event was great.  “We weren’t the only family having a good time.  It was great seeing families, young and old, local and from a distance, enjoying the concert on what ended up to be a beautiful night,” commented Joe.  Some were Maddie or Danni followers driving hours to attend like the young family from Vinton who arrived in Elma at 1030 and spent the day enjoying our park.   Other families were local families reuniting for the fun event on Labor Day weekend.  “Either way it made for a great opportunity for us to showcase our community.”

After Joe confirmed Maddie would perform in Elma on September 5th, Kathy and Joe offered the concert as a fundraiser for the Elma Community Complex Committee.  The committee graciously accepted and immediately began planning the event hoping to make it a major fundraiser for their cause.  “We have great people who work hard on improving the community.”  It took over 70 volunteers to work the event from the firemen parking the cars, to people working concessions, ticket sales, and beer gardens.  “It takes a lot of people and they did awesome.  People can give their time and/or their financial support.  It takes both for us to keep doing great things in our community.  I am hoping others will consider sponsoring events like this in the future and/or the causes our community is working on.  I could have been given a gift directly to the cause but I hope they doubled or tripled what my gift would have been, plus it is much more meaningful.  For us it is about giving back to the community that has been good to us and making it better for future generations,” shared Joe.

The Elma Community Complex committee is working their way towards raising 1.2 million dollars needed to build a building for a medical clinic, add onto the day-care, and renovate the former gymnasium into a community room, city clerk’s office and library.  The project benefits all nonprofits and is being done in phases as funding allows.  They have raised $935,000 thus far and are still calculating how much was raised with Sunday night’s event.

For more information on concert or ECC project, please contact Shannon Gebel, Elma City Clerk, at 641-393-2543 or elmacityclerk@gmail.com.  Donations can also be mailed to City of Elma-ECC PO Box 497 Elma IA 50628

Event Details:

On Sunday September 5th the 2018 American Idol Winner, Maddie Poppe, will be taking the stage in the ball diamond of the Elma Park! Our favorite local singer, Danni Bilidt Johnston will be opening for Maddie. Fireworks will wrap up the evening.

  • 3:00 PM – Gates open
  • 5:30 PM – Danni Bilidt Johnston performs
  • 6:30 PM – Maddie Poppe takes the Stage
  • Fireworks to follow the concert!

Maddie, a Clarksville Iowa native, is singer/song writer known for singing a mix of pop, country and folk music. She is a multi-instrumentalist, playing the guitar, piano, and ukulele. She won the 2018 American Idol contest.

Danni Bilidt Johnston was the 2017 Tree Town Karaoke Winner and is also known for singing a variety of music from Carole King to Fleetwood Mac, to Pat Benatar and Pink.   Danni has opened for Big and Rich and Thomas Rhett.

The performances will be on the stage in the ball diamond at the Elma Park, located at 328 190th ST in Elma, Iowa. Bring your own lawn chairs.

Concession stands will be available. Come early and bring the family. Tickets will be needed to enter all areas of the park on Sunday, September 5th in the afternoon/evening.

Tickets are $20 and available online at Maddie Poppe Concert at Park in Elma, IA-Labor Day Tickets, Sun, Sep 5, 2021 at 5:30 PM | Eventbrite


Posted: September 12, 2021 in Community Complex