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Music Festival to kick off winter series with serious and silly

John Taylor Ward will be featured on baritone in the Lakes Area Music Festival’s kick-off winter concert scheduled Sunday in Nisswa. Submitted 1 / 2
Scott Lykins will be featured on piano and vocals in the Lakes Area Music Festival’s kick-off winter concert scheduled Sunday in Nisswa. Submitted 2 / 2

NISSWA—The Lakes Area Music Festival will kick off it's 2017-18 Winter Series with a concert titled "Serious and Silly Songs" at 2 p.m. Sunday at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.

The concert is the first of a four-concerts in the series and will feature artistic directors John Taylor Ward on baritone and Scott Lykins on piano and vocals.

The afternoon recital is open to the public. No tickets are required, but donations to the festival are encouraged.

On the serious side, the program will include Johannes Brahms' "Four Serious Songs" and

Modest Mussorgsky's "Songs and Dances of Death." Alongside these sets the duo will perform

lighthearted selections from the musical theater and American songbook repertoire.

Describing the repertoire selected, Ward stated "from biblical solemnity to vaudevillian nonsense, the program will explore the outer edges of song. You'll laugh; you'll cry ... maybe even at the same time."

Ward and Lykins have performed abroad in France and Sweden, and throughout the

United States.

This concert also will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday at the Woman's Club of Minneapolis where the Lakes Area Music Festival is returning as Artists in Residence.

This season, Ward appears with Paul O'Dette, Stephen Stubbs and the Boston Early Music

Festival; William Christie and Les Arts Florissants; The Seattle Symphony; the New York

Philharmonic; and the English Baroque Soloists under Sir John Elliott Gardiner. Other recent

credits include the premiere staging of Orfeo Chaman with the ensemble L'arpeggiata, just

released on DVD, the US premier of Viver's Copernicus under the direction of Peter Sellars,

and a five-continent tour as a laureate of Les Arts Florissants' Jardin des Voix. Ward is a

graduate of the Eastman and Yale schools of music, and a founding core member of New York-

based Cantata Profana.

Scott Lykins' career blends artistic performance as a cellist and pianist with administrative creativity as founding artistic and executive director of the Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd. Primarily a cellist, he enjoys a busy schedule performing throughout the Midwest. He is a member of the South Dakota Symphony, and has served as principal cellist for the National Orchestra Institute, National Repertory Orchestras and Classical Symphony of Chicago, and has played regularly with the Syracuse and New World Symphonies.

As a soloist, recent concerto appearances include the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, Heartland Symphony and the Lakes Area Music Festival. He has received both bachelors and masters degrees in cello performance from the Eastman School of Music. Also a collaborative pianist, he has performed in recitals and concerts throughout the United States.

The Lakes Area Music Festival brings more than 150 musicians from around the country for three weeks of classical music performance in the Brainerd lakes area, including chamber music, symphonic orchestra, opera and ballet. The collaborative roster includes talent from ensembles and conservatories such as the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, New World Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Opera and many more.

With thousands in attendance each season, LAMF has become one of the most significant summertime destinations for classical music in the Midwest. Visit for more information about the festival.