AMES — Randy and Debbie Nieland were perfectly content as wonderfully entertained audience members at C.Y Stephens in Ames in late November.
Lorie Line, the internationally known pianist, a Reno, Nev., native living in Minneapolis, Minn., was on the stage, her skillful fingers producing a Christmas concert the Nielands of rural Auburn and several friends from around Carroll enjoyed with others in the Sunday crowd.
Soon, though, the Nielands, thanks to the good- natured prodding of friends, found themselves a big part of the show — as guest dancers on the C.Y. stage as Line and her musical team played “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree.” Stephens staff said the official attendance at the Line concert was 1,019 people.
“Oh, my gosh, it seemed like it was an eternity,” joked Randy Nieland, a Carroll barber who operates Natural Look Style Salon, 400 Adams St. “We were the only ones on stage.”
But it went well because the Nielands are hardly novices at dancing. In fact, their shared interest in cutting a rug helped draw them together as husband and wife.
The audience loved it, too, said Rod Roberts of Carroll, who along with his wife, Trish, were with the Nielands.
“In fact, we were getting some applause when dancing,” Randy Nieland said, hardly believing the memory and smiling sheepishly about it all.
Roberts, Carroll’s outgoing state representative confirms this, telling us the Nielands danced beautifully and were warmly embraced by the Stephens crowd. The Robertses were joined by other Nieland friends: Jacki Montgomery, Dr. Lou Ann Kiessling and Tami Biggerstaff.
“They were probably the best performing, non-rehearsed dance duet I have seen on stage,” said Montgomery, the owner of Sound & Service in Carroll who is active in the area music and arts scene.
She added, “Randy and Deb just looked so great up there.”
No word on who was pointing the most aggressively when the Line production asked for volunteers to head to the stage and dance.
“I was kind of having a sinking feeling that somebody was going to point us out,” Debbie Nieland said.
Randy Nieland, who grew up in the Auburn area and graduated from St. Bernard Catholic High School in Breda in 1968 and then Sioux City Barber College, has operated Natural Look for 23 years. Debbie is a Waterloo native who now works for United Bank of Iowa.
The couple have six children and 10 grandchildren.
Prior to becoming a couple the two separately took an interest in dancing, even getting some lessons.
After meeting, they discovered the shared interest — and talent.
“We just happened to dance together one time and fit together well,” Debbie Nieland said.
Eight years ago, at an Iowa Cubs game in Des Moines, the Nielands were a big hit during a mid-inning contest in which they won a dance-off as part of a promotion.
Now, most their public dancing is done at weddings and events such as the annual Kuemper Catholic High School fund-raising ball.
“Any time we can dance, we do it,” Randy Nieland said.
The couple prefers rock ‘n’ roll dancing but they are skilled with ballroom and other forms as well.
Debbie had one simple instruction for her husband at the Line concert: “I said, ‘Please don’t swing me off the stage.’”
After the event the Nielands were able to meet with Line and her husband, Tim.
“They were very down-to-earth people,” Debbie Nieland said.