Allied Concert Services, Inc. was formed in 1948 by Norm Wendt while he was teaching school in Wolf Point, MT. Beginning with a few concert association clients in eastern Montana and western North Dakota, Mr. Wendt gradually expanded eastward into South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. In 1950, he moved to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where Allied has been based ever since.
Windom, MN was one of the communities affiliated with Allied. John Folin was the high school choir director there and the President of the Windom Concert Association. In 1966, Mr. Wendt offered John a position with Allied which he was pleased to accept. John moved his wife and 2 sons to Minneapolis and began his career with Allied. At this time, Allied worked with approximately 50 concert associations throughout the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Montana.
In 1978, Mr. Wendt retired and sold Allied to John Folin. One of Allied’s long-time employees, Ralph Ledin, continued to assist John until his death in 1984. Paul Folin, John’s son, graduated from college in 1983 and began working for Allied. At this time, Allied worked with approximately 75 concert associations which kept John & Paul very busy.
Allied grew into Nebraska and Colorado in 1988 when it teamed up with Omaha-based entrepreneur Dick Walter. With considerably more territory to cover, the time was right for David Folin to join his father and brother. Now with about 90 concert association clients, Allied needed more office help and Jean Folin, John’s wife and Paul and David’s mother, began to lend a valuable hand.
The following years witnessed slow but steady growth for Allied, expanding further into Colorado, Wyoming and Missouri. Jean retired from Allied in 1994 to enjoy more leisure time. Paul’s wife, Cindy, began to work in Jean’s place and more fully developed the office manager position. She brought strong organizational and computer skills that were missing and greatly improved office efficiency. In 2004, Cindy moved on to new professional activities and since then we have been blessed with several talented people helping to manage our office.
Allied’s growth accelerated between 2001 – 2005, and has grown steadily ever since. We now work with nearly 135 organized audience concert associations in 15 states, having also expanded eastward into Illinois and Indiana.
While the Folin’s are kept plenty busy, they are ably supported by several regional representatives including Vi Ranney in South Dakota and Nebraska, Craig Risnes in Minnesota and Iowa, Nancy Olson in North Dakota and Carol Ellenwood in NE and CO. Joy & Gary Novota will begin ably working with concert associations in Montana in the 2019- 2020 season.
Long-time rep Bill Fegan retired in September, 2014 after a lifetime representing/managing artists, and working to help concert associations succeed. Three other valued reps have recently retired and will be missed: Bob Iverson, working in MN, ND and SD, Dede Cromer in Wisconsin, and Sally Kappel working in Colorado and Wyoming.
John Folin continues to work in our office on a daily basis. After 50 years on the road for Allied, he has decided it is time to quit traveling. But he will maintain an office at Allied and keep tabs on daily activities. He will miss the interaction with the smart, kind, generous and dedicated people he has come to know and respect in many, many concert associations. He will miss the teamwork between concert association board members, committee chairpersons, the artists and Allied. John will, however, relax a bit knowing that his efforts helped bring thousands of concerts to hundreds of thousands of audience members across the middle of the country. He will know that without his efforts and dedication, hundreds of artists would not have had the pleasure and wonderful experiences of performing for the great audiences which work with Allied.