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Christmas in Heartland concert Dec. 2

Peter Ostroushko and his Heartland Quartet will conclude the 2011 fall season of

NISSWA – Peter Ostroushko and his Heartland Quartet will conclude the 2011 fall season of Grassroots Concerts with a special “Christmas in the Heartland” performance at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in Nisswa.

The concert celebrates the holiday spirit with music from a multicultural landscape that Ostroushko calls the “Heartland.” It’s a musical journey from the beautiful a cappella carols of Peter’s Ukrainian heritage to hot American, Brazilian, English, Finnish, Italian and Irish tunes.

“It’s always one of my favorite concerts of the year,” Ostroushko said in a news release, anticipating a good turnout for the Dec. 2 show at Live Well Nightclub and Coffee Bar in downtown Nisswa.

Ostroushko is one of the most accomplished instrumentalists and gifted composers of his generation. In his formative years amid Ukrainian Northeast Minneapolis culture, Ostroushko learned to play mandolin, balalaika, and bandura tunes played by family and friends.

Seating is limited and all seats are $15. General admission tickets may be purchased in advance to ensure admittance by calling (218) 568-7868. After Monday admission at the door depends upon whether seats are available.

As his composer-side man career unfolded, Ostroushko emerged to headline shows such as “A Prairie Home Companion,” concentrating on fiddle and mandolin. He has recorded many albums, including his Heartland Trilogy: “Heart of the Heartland,” Pilgrims of the Heartland” and “Sacred Heart.”

His first recording session was an un-credited mandolin set on Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks.” He toured on a regular basis with Robin and Linda Williams, Norman Blake and the Rising Fawn Ensemble and Chet Atkins. He also worked with the likes of Jethro Burns, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Johnny Gimble, Greg Brown, John Hartford and Taj Mahal.

Twin Cities Public Television commissioned Ostroushko to provide music for their nationally distributed programs, “The Dakota Conflict” and “Grant Wood’s America.” Ken Burns used music from “Heart of the Heartland” for his PBS documentary “Lewis & Clarke” and Ostroushko’s haunting arrangement of “Sweet Betsy from Pike” was underscore for Burns’ “Mark Twain.”

Burns used a lot of Ostroushko music on his 2009 film “National Parks: America’s Great Idea.”

Grassroots Concerts, providing quality venues for 23 years, are made possible by volunteers and, in part, by a grant from the Minnesota Legislature awarded by the Five Wings Regional Arts Council. Donations of non-perishable items for local food shelves are encouraged at each concert.

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