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Buxton named finalist for Senior Living Art Showcase

Liz Buxton of Baxter was recently selected as a finalist in the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) Senior Living Art Showcase for her artwork titled “Birch Trees.” Buxton was chosen out of a pool of over 200 artists for her artistic embodiment of this year’s theme carpe diem.

Buxton’s artwork will be recognized at the ALFA’s annual conference and expo, which is attended by thousands of senior living professionals.

According to the ALFA website, the organization serves as the voice for operators of senior living communities and the seniors and families those communities serves. ALFA exemplify the principles of choice, dignity, and independence for seniors. To support these principles and to enhance quality of life for seniors, ALFA influences public policy, promotes business excellence and ensures an informed public.

Ann Reed’s Heroes presentation scheduled

STAPLES — Ann Reed’s Heroes: A Celebration of Women Who Changed History and Changed Our Lives will be presented at 7:30 p.m. March 24 by the Staples Motley Area Arts Council at Centennial Auditorium in Staples. Appearing with Ann Reed will be the Staples Area Women’s Chorus, Dan Chouinard, Joan Griffith, Thomasina Petrus, Aimee K. Bryant, Leslie Ball and Denise Tabet.

Heroes, a song written and performed by Ann Reed (1991), was her response to hearing a call-in show on the radio and reading several articles arguing that there were no real role models left for children or adults. Remembering her history classes and that little was mentioned of women’s accomplishments, she went to work. Starting with a long list of women from all over the world and a variety of careers, she chose 40 women. They were chosen without regard to nationality, political ideology or religious affiliation but rather for the place they hold in history. Another important factor from a songwriter’s point of view was the ability of their name to blend into the rhyming and pacing of the song.

The song struck a universal chord and grew to anthem proportion. In 2007, Reed completed the play Heroes: A Celebration of Women Who Changed History and Our Lives and cast a host of performers and enlisted a local choir. The first performance was produced by Minnesota Public Radio, recorded on CD and DVD, and received critical acclaim. The Staples concert is part of an eight city Minnesota tour.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students in advance, or $15 and $7 at the door. Tickets will be available on the Arts Council’s website at or at the Staples Motley Public Schools Community Education Office by calling (218) 894-2497. Anyone purchasing six or more advance sale tickets to any event, or series of events, will receive the special season price of only $10 per ticket. Any student with proper identification can purchase a Student Rush Ticket one hour before the show for only $1.

Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin to perform March 23

NISSWA – Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin will perform in a dual performance for the Grassroots Concerts series at 7:30 p.m. March 23 in the Live Well Nightclub and Coffee Bar, Nisswa.

Texas natives Schmidt and Elkin have formed a partnership in real life, not just musical life. Their on-stage performance makes for a classic case of the sum being greater than its parts.

Schmidt is known for his poetic lyrics. Named to the Chicago Tribune’s “50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years,” Schmidt rapidly ascended from underground cult hero to a widely recognized artist of generational influence. After winning the Kerrville New Folk award in 2007, Schmidt won the notice of venerable Americana roots label, Red House Records, which in 2009 released the critically acclaimed album, “Instead The Forest Rose To Sing.” This exposed a much broader audience to his music, alongside such notable artists as Greg Brown, Eliza Gilkyson, and John Gorka.

Elkin is the gypsy spirit known for her soulful, dynamic vocals. She has drawn comparisons to Patty Griffin and Nanci Griffith. The respective strengths they each bring merges to create a performance of great energy and spirit, one that audiences seem to be able to connect with emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.

Admission is $10 at the door for adults and $5 for children under 12 with listening attention, when accompanied by an adult. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Concerts hosted by the non-profit concert series are made possible in part by a grant from the Minnesota Legislature awarded by the Five Wings Regional Arts Council.

For information go to, call 829-4092, or e-mail

Heartland Poets to meet

Heartland Poets, a local chapter of the League of Minnesota Poets, will meet Saturday in the large room of the Brainerd Public Library. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. with a short business meeting. Afterward, poets will share their poems-in-progress. Bring copies so that others may better appreciate and understand your work. Refreshments will be served. This meeting is free and open to the public. Questions? Contact Heartland Poets at or call 829-5402, evenings.

Eagles Tribute Show Next Up for CLC Cultural Arts Series

The Fabulous Armadillos, with Collective Unconscious, will perform their wildly popular Eagles tribute show, ‘Takin’ it to the Limit’ for two shows: 7:30 p.m. March 23 and 8 p.m. March 24 in the John Chalberg Theatre.

Tickets are $20 and $25 and are available at the CLC Theatre Box Office, at 855-8199, or can be purchased online at

CLC Cultural Arts Series Producer Patrick Spradlin recently sat down for an interview with Fabulous Armadillos members Greg Armstrong and Paul Diethelm, and Collective Unconscious members Jeff Engholm and Muggsy Lauer.

SPRADLIN: “OK, let’s start with the name of the bands. Armadillos? We aren’t in West Texas. Collective Unconscious? Sounds like something from the ‘X-Files.’”

GREG: “We always thought Armadillos were the greatest creatures on earth, and we wanted to be just as great! Seriously, Greg “ARM”strong. I started the band’s concept of a core band and several special guests back in 2006, and called the band Gary D. (my nickname) and the Fabulour Armadilos.”

MUGGSY: “The band name came not, unfortunately, from the X-Files, but from a need for a band name. Sadly, there’s no great story behind it.”

JEFF: “Actually, the name did come from Jungian Philosophy. The place where dreams come from ... Or was it the fact that we all passed out at a party simultaneously? I can’t seem to remember.”

SPRADLIN: “Tell me a little about the members of the band we’ll be seeing at ‘Takin’ it to the Limit.’”

GREG: “Well, there’s me on keyboards I played in Heartbeat in the 80’s, Bobby Vee in the 90’s and GB Leighton in the 2000’s. Started the Armadillos in May of 2006. Also run a successful jingle business, now in my 18th year of business called Creative Radio. Paul Diethelm on lead guitar. He’s played with Johnny Lang, Pinetop Perkins, Slip Twister. Muggsy Lauer on guitar and vocals, and coffee roaster. Muggsy’s a St. Cloud resident jazz guitarist.

Bill Scherer on vocals and guitar. Bill’s played with the Johnny Holm Band from ‘76 - ‘83, and various Minneapolis bands and the Fabulous Armadillos.

Mike Zeleny is on bass, and is a member of both Slip Twister and the Fabulous Armadillos. Jay O’Donnell plays drums with Slip Twister and the Fabulous Armadillos.

Rich Witteman provides vocals and plays the castanets. He’s a member of Half Steps, an a cappella group, and Collective Unconscious. Jeff Engholm sings vocals, plays guitar and keys, a true renaissance man. Founding member of Collective Unconscious, and has also played with Bobby Vee. Nathan Nesje does vocals, guitar, and is our resident political analyst. He’s a member of Collective Unconscious.”

SPRADLIN: “Some of you guys have played with some heavy hitters, like Bobby Vee and Johnny Lang. What did you take from that experience? “

GREG: “Specifically from Bobby Vee and GB Leighton, I learned how to be a touring musician and be able to live on the road, and work in that environment. Also, playing with Bobby Vee, the Bobby Vee band (consisting of 3 of his sons) backed up hundreds of artists, and you learn how to be a “sideman” and to take the spotlight when you need to and back out of it and let the artist shine as that is who they paid the ticket price to see.”

PAUL: “Make sure that your guitar is the loudest and ration your per diem!”

Author appearances lead Spring Showcase events

LITTLE FALLS — Bookin’ It Bookstore in Little Falls will be participating in the Little Falls Business Association Spring Showcase Monday through March 24.

Bookin’ it will be offering StoryTelling with StoryCubes and Kids StoryTime at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday March 22, as well as author appearances and book signings March 23 and 24.

Featured Showcase authors, Deane and Jill Johnson, will be at Bookin’ it from 3-5 p.m. March 23 signing their book, “Little Minnesota.” “Little Minnesota” is a nostalgic look through photos, facts, and interviews of some of Minnesota’s smallest towns. Central Minnesota towns represented include Fort Ripley, Hillman, Lastrup, Genola, St. Rosa, and Manhattan Beach. The book was Jill’s idea and she did the research, interviews and writing while husband Deane contributed the photography. One individual Jill interviewed identified the “holy trinity” of most of these small towns as “the church, the ballroom and the baseball field.”

Also signing books during the Spring Showcase will be Douglas Wood, author of the international bestseller and popular graduation gift book, “Old Turtle.” Wood will be at Bookin’ It from 1:30-2:30 p.m. March 24. Douglas Wood is a writer, illustrator, and musician from central Minnesota. Known primarily for his children’s picture books, Wood has also written a number of books celebrating the role of nature in our lives. His two most recent children’s books are “Franklin and Winston” and “No One But You.”

All the Showcase events at Bookin’ It are free and open to the public. Books available the day of the event or by calling the store at (320) 632-1848. For more information on Bookin’ It events and for online ordering, go to

Bookin’ It is an independent locally-owned bookstore established in 1992 and is located across from the Historic Morrison County Courthouse on Second Street Southeast in downtown Little Falls.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889