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Flying Buffaloes: Strong Manning family connection for drummer Danny Pratt

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flying buffaloes 20-06-24s

Members of the Flying Buffaloes band, which will perform at the Hausbarn in Manning's Heritage Park on July 3 and Stone Pier Concert Series at Lake View on July 4 are (front) Tommy Leland, lead guitar; (back, from left) Johan Stone, lead singer, guitar, harmonica and keys; Brandon Cantwell, bass; Danny Pratt, drums and vocals; and Barry Stone, lead singer and guitar.

Flying Buffaloes, a Nashville-based alternative rock/country band, will be performing from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 3, at Manning Hausbarn-Heritage Park.

Danny Pratt, drummer for the five-piece ensemble, has ties to Manning and western Iowa dating back to the late 19th century. Danny is a son of John K. Pratt, who was born in Manning and was the youngest of Raymond and Helen Pratt’s four children. John graduated from Manning High School in 1979 before leaving to attend the University of Iowa. He was active in high school band, chorus and theater, and was selected as a participant for the 1979 Iowa High School All-State Chorus. John and his wife, Christine, currently live in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Danny grew up.

Danny’s grandfather Raymond Pratt came to Manning in 1940 after graduating from the University of Iowa. He owned and operated the Coast to Coast hardware store, which he ran with his father, Orin, from 1940-1965. Ray was a talented vocalist performing solos for numerous weddings, funerals, church choir, etc. He sang for years with the local Elks chorus and the barbershop chorus Des Moineaires. Ray was best known in Manning, though, for his community service, involvement, and dedication to the betterment of the town. During his years in Manning he served on city council and was a member of the American Legion, VFW, Rotary and Chamber of Commerce. Ray was one of the first and most-vocal advocates for building the indoor swimming pool in Manning in the early 1980s.

Danny’s grandmother Helen (McGrath) Pratt was born and lived her entire life in Manning, with the exception of a short period during World War II when Ray was stationed in Galveston, Texas. Helen worked at Dultmeiers (later MJM) in Manning as a young woman. Later she was a prolific news reporter, reporting on local events and obituaries for the Manning Monitor and other papers in Carroll, Omaha and Des Moines. As she neared retirement, she was a receptionist at Manning General Hospital. Helen’s grandfather Doc Moser was a physician in Vienna, Austria, who immigrated to the U.S. and eventually settled in Manning with his family in 1891 thus establishing Danny’s connection with the town.

Danny has many relatives currently living in Iowa, with an aunt and uncle in Audubon and Boone, respectively, and numerous cousins in Grimes, Boone, Elk Horn, Audubon and Woodbine.

Danny visits relatives regularly and is proud knowing that his grandfather was a pillar in the community.

He said of playing in Manning, “It’s cool to go back to the town where my family roots were grown, which is extremely important to me. Not only do I want to make my dad proud, but my grandfather was very well known as a positive guy in the community, and being able to bring this positivity to the community as the third of his generation brings things full circle, and I just love this.”

The Flying Buffaloes also will perform Saturday, July 4, in this year’s first Stone Pier Concert at Lake View. The first concert was slated June 6 but called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The concert will begin at 4 p.m. on the west side of Black Hawk Lake. Admission is free, and the concert will also feature Blue Water Highway, Todd Partridge and Chad Elliott.

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