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Entertainment briefs - July 17

Brainerd dancers placed recently in a dance camp held at Forestview Middle School. Dancers were Hannah Doer (left), Marissa Knopf, Alivia Rardin, Cierra Meyer-Berg, Stephanie Anderson, Maddie Gohman and Mackenzie Davidge.1 / 10
Brainerd dancers pose following the home routine show held at Forestview Middle School in Baxter.2 / 10
Stephanie Anderson (left), Mackenzie Davidge, Amy Shepherd and Cierra Meyer-Berg all earned awards at a recent dance camp held at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. 3 / 10
Ken Hager4 / 10
Candice Simar5 / 10
Terri Peterson Smith6 / 10
Krista Rolfzen Soukup7 / 10
Soft rock musician Michael Hoover will perform at 7 p.m. today in the bandstand in Gregory Park in Brainerd/OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 8 / 10
Stripes on Stripes, an Americana band led by Staples native Peter Lund and his fiancé Jessica Scherer, will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Music in the Park Series in the Northern Pacific Park in Staples.9 / 10
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Soft Rock in the bandstand

Soft rock musician Michael Hoover will perform at 7 p.m. today in the bandstand in Gregory Park in Brainerd.

Hoover was a favorite from last summer in the bandstand. He has been a professional musician since the 60s. He has played throughout the United States in a variety of venues. The concert is free and open to the public. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Rain-out site is The Center, 803 Kingwood St., Brainerd. If the concerts are moved indoors, signs will be posted on the bandstand and it will be announced on WJJY radio. Concerts in the park are a collaboration between Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department and The Center. Funding for the concerts has been provided by community donations and a grant from the Five Wings Art Council.

Next organ recital series set in Pequot

PEQUOT LAKES - The Lakes Area Summer Organ Recital Series present Ken Hager, who will perform at noon Wednesday at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes

Hager's program will consist of "Fanfare for Organ" by Ronald Arnatt, "Andante Tranquillo" from the Fourth Organ Sonata by Felix Mendelssohn and "Nun kom, Der Heiden Heiland" by Johann Sebastian Bach.

The next recital will be held Aug. 6 and will be Patricia Lundeen at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brainerd.

This series was first organized by Harriet Piehl in the year 2003.

Next Brown Bag Lunch scheduled

Terri Peterson Smith is the eighth author for the Brown Bag Lunch Summer Author Series with her book "Off the Beaten Path: the Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs and Girls on Getaways." She will be appear from noon to 1 p.m. Monday at the Brainerd Public Library.

Smith is a journalist, editor and expert on literary travel. Inspired by "field trips" with the author's own book club, Off the Beaten Path offers a literary look at 15 U.S. destinations as seen through the works of famous writers. No plodding tour of dead people's homes, the award-winning journalist takes readers on a tour of some of the most fascinating places in the U.S., combining her love of literature and her quest for a good-time with friends. Booklist writes, "It seems avid readers are equally intrepid travelers, and this handy guide caters to both impulses."

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library. All are welcome and there is no charge.

Schwen to sign books at Turtle Town Books and Gifts

NISSWA - Author Jodi Schwen will sign copies of her book "Northern Comfort: The Musings of Jacqueline Pine Savage," from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at Turtle Town Books and Gifts in Nisswa.

The book was published by North Star Press this year.

"Jacqueline Pine Savage" has allowed Schwen to protect the innocent while writing about life up north. Some call it "outstate" or the "boondocks," Jacqueline Pine Savage calls it home. Either way, living in a rural community means finding the humor in northwoods living. In the book, enjoying the sacred holidays of hunting and fishing seasons, family bonding when the dogs get "skunked" and how to politely refuse the house tour when guests come a calling.

Schwen ("Jacqueline Pine Savage") is a native of the northwoods and lives in Brainerd. Her up-north tales first appeared in Lake Country Journal magazine, where she began writing under her "Jackypine" pen name. She uses stories from personal experience and daily life to encourage others to spark their own creativity.

Schwen is editor-in-chief of Lake Country Journal magazine in Brainerd. Her published credits include Minnesota Monthly, Guideposts, personal experience, fiction and fillers in various publications.

Dance members participate in camp in Baxter

BAXTER - Members of the Brainerd Warrior dance team recently attended camp at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. Teams outside the area who participated in the camp were from Prairie Farm, Elmwood, Crosby-Ironton, Eagen, Mounds View, St. Cloud Apollo, Sauk Rapids-Rice, Hopkins, Chisago Lakes, Kasson Mantorville, St James, Rochester Century, Rochester John Marshall, Marshall, Apple Valley, Dover Eyota, Mondovi and Champlin Park.

The first night of camp was a home routine contest. Brained was announced as the camp champions, with second place going to Hopkins; third, Champlin Park; fourth; Eagen; and fifth, Sauk Rapids-Rice.

The second night of camp a skills contest was held for jumps, kicks, leaps and toe touch and Brainerd took three out of the four categories.

"We had the most kids place than we have ever had," said Cindy Clough, Brainerd dance coach. "They really looked confident and executed well under pressure. We were proud of their efforts and high places. Every dancer from Brainerd ended up going to finals."

Brainerd dancers results were Hannah Doer, a turn finalist; Marissa Knopf, third place in leaps and second place in high kicks; Alivia Rardin, first place in high kick; Cierra Meyer-Berg, second place in leaps; Stephanie Anderson, first place in toe touches; Maddie Gohman, second place in toe touches; and Mackenzie Davidge, first place in turns.

Award winners for Brainerd include Stephanie Anderson, Firecracker winner; Mackenzie Davidge, Most Outstanding Dancer Award; Amy Shepherd, Most Out Stand Dancer Award; and Cierra Meyer-Berg, Heather Star Habeck Memorial Award. Marissa Knopf won a Most Outstanding Dancer Award.

Author and publicist attend Western Writers of America Spur Award

Candace Simar, award-winning historical fiction author of the Abercrombie Trail series, and Krista Rolfzen Soukup, owner of Blue Cottage Agency in Brainerd, recently attended the annual Western Writers of America (WWA) National convention in Sacramento, Calif.

Simar was honored as a 2014 Spur-Award judge and Soukup presented "Steps to Successful Book Marketing."

Western Writers of America, Inc., was founded in 1953 to promote the literature of the American West. The founders were largely authors who wrote traditional western fiction, but the organization swiftly expanded to include historians and other nonfiction authors, young adult and romance writers and writers interested in regional history set in the American West. The WWA bestows Spur Awards annually for distinguished writing in the western field.

Today it has over 600 members who write everything from mainstream fiction to local history. At their annual convention, members, guests, editors and agents gather together to renew friendships, do business, attend panels, go on field trips and conduct the organization's business.

The Abercrombie Trail series includes "Abercrombie Trail," "Pomme de Terre," "Birdie" and "Blooming Prairie." "Birdie" received a Spur Award literary prize and "Blooming Prairie" was a Spur award finalist in same category in 2013.

Vespertine Tribal show set Saturday in Brainerd

Vespertine Tribal presents Midsummer Tribal 2014, an enchanting show featuring guest and local dancers and musicians, from 8-10 p.m. Saturday at the Blue Room at Yesterday's Gone in downtown Brainerd.

The show will feature Vespertine Tribal, Vespertine Fusion, Kamala Chaand Dance Company, The Lovely Dozen, Lesley Inman, Jana Mora, The Bourgeois Bohemians and Mabel's Missing.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or online at

Stripes on Stripes to perform in Staples

STAPLES - Stripes on Stripes, an Americana band led by Staples native Peter Lund and his fiancé Jessica Scherer, will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Music in the Park Series in the Northern Pacific Park in Staples.

Based out of St. Cloud, Stripes on Stripes combines several genres, including pop and electronic music, to create its own brand of Americana sound. The group was originally formed by Lund and Scherer in 2006 at St. John's University in Collegeville. Since that time they have performed to dedicated fans in a variety of venues across central Minnesota. Joining them on stage in Staples will be band members Sarah Thomas and Joe Thomas.

Lund, the son of Bruce and Eva Lund, was born and raised in Staples. Music has been an integral part of his life since he was a child. During his high school years, he participated in choir and orchestra and also formed bands with other Staples youth. College provided Lund many musical opportunities including singing in the St. John's Men's Chorus and the a cappella group, "Johnnie Blend." He also played guitar and bass in successful campus bands. Lund has a bachelor of science degree from St. John's and is currently a register nurse on the Intensive Care Unit of the St. Cloud Hospital.

For more information on the Music in the Park series check out

In case of rain, the concerts will be moved to Centennial Auditorium.

The Music in the Park Series is funded by the Staples Host Lions Club. The Series is organized by the Staples Motley Area Arts Council, with the assistance of the Staples Motley Public Schools and the City of Staples.

Artists awarded "People's Choice" awards

NISSWA - Three area artists were chosen as "People's Choice" recipients at the 2014 Annual Lake Area Artists Show held recently in Nisswa.

Artists were Erika Muller Hagberg, Kathy Braud and Diane Runberg.

Each day those in attendance voted for their favorite artist and artwork. More than 1,000 people attended the three day event showcasing the work of 10 local artists.

School of Rock for area teens

LITTLE FALLS - For those interested in being in a band, the St. Francis Music Center in Little Falls is offering URock Summer Camp.

Middle and high school students are invited to participate. Guitarists, drummers, bassists, vocals, keyboards and other musicians who want to form a band are invited to attend.

URock begins at 5 p.m July 25 at music center. The instructors will get to know the students and their abilities and talk them through what it takes to be in a band.

The next morning the group will be divided up into bands. Each band will pick a name and three songs they'd like to play. The rest of the camp is spent learning the music, performance tips, band pictures and getting ready to perform. All music styles are welcome, from rock to country to Christian and everything in between.

URock will meet from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 25-27 and Aug. 2-3. Led by Greg Langlois, the instructors will all be musicians with experience in professional bands.

The final concert will be outdoors on Aug. 6 as part of the St. Francis Green Fair Folk Festival.

Thanks to grants from the Five Wings Arts Council, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and Catholic Health Initiatives, URock is free for all participants.

For more information or to sign up, call the Music Center at 320-632-0637 or stop in at 116 Eighth Ave. SE, Little Falls or visit their website at

This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008.

Clay and textiles featured at Bay Lake area gallery

You might say that clay artist Nick DeVries and weaver Karen Monson-Thompson work at two different ends of the fine craft spectrum - old, wet clay and soft, warm fiber. What brings them together is a dedication to craftsmanship and a focus on function.

DeVries and Monson-Thompson's work will be featured through Aug. 17 at Ripple River Gallery near Bay Lake. The public is invited to meet the artists at a reception from 2-4 p.m. Saturday.

DeVries, a Brainerd native, was first introduced to clay and the potters wheel in his senior year in high school. DeVries earned a bachelor's degree in art with a concentration in painting and ceramics at St. John's University. During that time he worked with St. Joseph potter Jim Loso and developed a strong sense of design and balance which persists in his work today. DeVries, who has worked as a production potter, taught courses at the Edina Art Center and Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis and shown his work in national clay exhibitions, currently maintains a studio in the Q.arma Building in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.

"My work has a strong foundation in functional forms: Teapots, pitchers, cups and bowls," DeVries said. "Evident in my pots is a tight adherence to smooth consistent lines, strong curves, steadiness and balance."

Acknowledging the influence of large open areas of landscape, often dotted with barns or small buildings, DeVries breaks up his smooth clay surfaces with small adornments and markings.

"I make pots because I can't stand the thought of not doing so," he says. "On a primordial level I am compelled by the clay, its malleable character, its instant responsiveness to my touch. This process is a living one, an organic process directed by the special qualities of clay, glazes, and heat, all of them guided by my hand. It excites me."

In her weaving studio on the southern shore of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin, Monson-Thompson creates fine textiles for the traditional or contemporary home.

"I fell in love with weaving when my seventh grade art teacher gave me the opportunity to weave on a four-harness table loom; from there I was hooked."

She earned a bachelor's and master's degree in weaving and textile design.

An interest in history and old weave structures led to Monson-Thompson's focus on Summer and Winter weave, a reversible weave structure that lends itself to design influences including Prairie, Mission and Arts and Crafts styles. Monson-Thompson hand spins and dyes domestic combed wool.

For more information on gallery hours or the exhibits call 218-678-2575 or email