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Entertainment briefs - Jan. 10

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■ Ensemble 61 to perform Saturday

NEW YORK MILLS — Ensemble 61, a new music band, will perform at the James W. Mann Center for the Performing Arts at the New York Mills School at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets can be reserved by calling the New York Mills Cultural Regional Cultural Center at 218-385-3339 or info@kulcher.org. Admission is $12 advance reservation or $15 the night of the concert.

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Saturday’s concert features music associated with water, including “The Voice of the Whale” by George Crumb; two songs by Jared Powell; “Steamboat Bill Junior” by Magnus Lindberg; “I Water, I Night by Morgan Krauss; and “The Waters of Time” by Kristen Broberg with text by Pablo Neruda.

Ensemble 61 is a Saint Paul-based contemporary music group that brings new and experimental works to the public through concerts at traditional and non-traditional venues, web-based broadcasts, education/outreach programs, community engagement. Its members have been featured by internationally recognized presenters such as the American Academy in Rome, Sonic Fusion Festival in Edinburgh and Bang on a Can in Massachusetts. Ensemble 61’s artists have received prestigious awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board and the American Composers Forum. The group was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and their work has been featured by National Public Radio’s Performance.

Ensemble 61 includes: Erik Barsness, percussion/co-director; Kirsten Broberg, composer/co-director; Linda Chatterton, flute; Carrie Henneman Shaw, soprano; Matthew McCright, piano; Emilia Mettenbrink, violin; Joel Salvo, cello; and Paul Schimming, clarinet.

This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the State’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008.

■ Limited edition Hassler volumes

donated to CLC

Afton Historical Society Press has donated hardcover Jon Hassler books, including three limited editions signed by the author, to the Jon Hassler Library at Central Lakes College (CLC).

The non-profit Afton, Minn., publisher delivered the volumes via Mary Sue Oleson, Afton Press art designer, and Pat Oleson of Outing, who facilitated the contribution.

Receiving the gift were Larry Kellerman, librarian at the Jon Hassler Library on the Brainerd campus, and Joe Plut of Crosby, retired English and humanities instructor and author, friend and former colleague of the late novelist.

Hassler, who died in 2008, began his reputable writing career while teaching at the college in Brainerd. He wrote 12 novels, including “A Green Journey,” which became the 1988 NBC-TV movie starring Angela Lansbury.

Plut, author of “Conversations with Jon Hassler,” said the campus library continues to be a vital showcase for memorabilia associated with his late friend and former colleague.

Hassler wrote two of his novels, “Staggerford” and “Simon’s Night,” while an instructor in the late 1970s.

Donated to the Hassler display in the library were three silk-screened, deluxe editions signed by Hassler. Afton Press had published only 50 copies each of these editions: “Keepsakes and Other Stories,” “Rufus at the Door and Other Stories,” and “Underground Christmas.”

Oleson created the design for these slip-cased volumes. McDonald, is publisher of Afton Press. In 2000 Afton Press held a celebration of Hassler’s literary career and publication party for the release of “Rufus at the Door” in Minneapolis.

“This library on the Brainerd campus of CLC is a fit for these three signed, special editions,” Oleson said, who knows there are Hassler fans across the country. She travels worldwide as a multi-instrument musical artist and singer under her maiden (and stage) name Mary Sue Englund with country singers Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan.

Afton Press also donated to the Hassler Library nearly five dozen hardcover versions of the three volumes – 25 copies of “Underground Christmas” (1999), 20 copies of “Keepsakes” (1999), and 18 copies of “Rufus at the Door” (2000).

These donations are in support of the Jon Hassler Scholarship Fund at CLC, which has grown to $18,000 and produced $13,000 in financial aid to qualifying students through the CLC Foundation. Book sales at the CLC Bookstore will be an important boost for the scholarship.

Oleson initiated the donation after reading about the Nov. 27 Hassler tribute held at CLC and coordinated by Kellerman and Plut. She enlisted her daughter-in-law’s help in reporting the successful event to Afton Press, which sells the Hassler short story books.

“Keepsakes and Other Stories” is Hassler’s first collection of short stories, all set in Minnesota and rooted in the author’s experiences growing up in Plainview and later as an English teacher. “Rufus at the Door and Other Stories” is a 128-page volume in which many of Hassler’s later-novel characters are introduced through writings from the 1960s and 1970s.

“Underground Christmas” is a 64-page story about a man named Jay who has come rather late in life to his midlife crisis as Christmas approaches and real-life miracles await.

“It continues to grow,” Plut said of the collection displayed in Brainerd, where it all began. He said there is an ever-widening “Jon Hassler awareness” as witnessed by the donation and unfolding future events.” Among them: The reprinting of Hassler’s novel, “Simon’s Night” (out of print for many years), along with the recently edited “My Simon’s Night Journal” in the same volume by Nodin Press of Minneapolis.

■ UROCK Poster Exhibit opens in Staples

LITTLE FALLS ­— The Five Wings Arts Council (FWAC), in partnership with the St. Francis Music Center of Little Falls, announces the opening of the UROCK Poster Exhibit at the gallery in Staples. The exhibit features the artwork created to promote the performances of the UROCK bands, a program of St Francis Music Center. The exhibit will remain open to the public through Feb. 28.

A reception to honor the artists will be held from 2-4 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Five Wings Gallery. Those attending the reception will be able to view the artwork, meet the artists and hear a UROCK band. There is no admission fee for the reception.

Mark Turner, FWAC executive director, said in a press release, “We are excited to share these posters and tell the story of the innovative program that inspired them.”

UROCK is a summer music camp for young people who have always dreamed of being in a band. Offered by the music center, UROCK students work closely with professional musicians to learn the basics of being in a band; including musicianship, business skills, technical mastery and how to perform together and make the music work.

For further information about UROCK or other St Francis Music Center programs contact 320-632-0637.

Funding for this exhibit and the UROCK program comes from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota through the Five Wings Arts Council.

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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
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