Blue Moon Jazz Quintet to perform at Lum Park

The Blue Moon Jazz Quintet will perform from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, in the pavilion at Lum Park in Brainerd.

Blue Moon is a quintet of veteran local musicians playing improvisational versions of jazz classics with some Latin and rhythm and blues. The quintet is comprised of Greg Breen on bass, Mike Sommerness on saxophone, Malcolm Rosenberger on drums, Chris Fogderud on trumpet and Adam Glenski on keyboard. This is the group’s seventh appearance in the Music in the Park concert series.

These free concerts are typically hosted in the Gregory Park Bandstand, but due to construction, the concerts will be at Lum Park. People may bring lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy a night of music. Concerts go on rain or shine; rain site is The Center, 803 Kingwood St., Brainerd.

Concerts are a collaboration between the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department and The Center. Concerts are made possible by funding from grants. Organizers want to thank the Brainerd Community Foundation and the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council, thanks to Legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Youth Mic Night set Monday

Youth on Stage Open Mic event will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, July 22, at the Brainerd Eagles Club.

Brainerd Elks Lodge No. 615 sponsors the event through an Elks National Foundation grant and by the Brainerd Eagles Club No. 215. This monthly youth-oriented event is geared for those age 25 and younger who have a family-friendly talent to share on a year-round basis.

Talent may include singing, playing an instrument, storytelling, essay reading, poetry, tap dancing, comedy, magic, a band or ensemble to perform to live audiences. Eight 15-minute time slots are open on a first come basis. Those wishing to sign up should go to www.YouthOnStageMn.org or may do so at the venue, the Eagles Club, on the night of a performance. All performers get a free cheeseburger, fries and water along with a chance to win a gift card.

The Mark Munson Rock Music Camp teaches youth musicians how to become rock stars. Photo by FocalPOINT
The Mark Munson Rock Music Camp teaches youth musicians how to become rock stars. Photo by FocalPOINT

Mark Munson Rock Music Camp concert set

Begun as a legacy project by The Crossing Arts Alliance to honor longtime board member Mark Munson, the Mark Munson Rock Music Camp that teaches youth musicians how to become rock stars, is rocking out for its third year.

The camp brings young musicians together to work on the skills needed to become a band and to perform on stage. Under the guidance of an established local musician instructor, students develop skills and friendships and learn and perform two classic rock songs.

The camp culminates with a rock concert -- open to the public -- July 25 at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. Tickets are $7 in advance, or $10 at the door. Tickets are available online at crossingarts.org.

The Mark Munson Rock Music Camp is a program of The Crossing Arts Alliance, a nonprofit arts organization in downtown Brainerd. This event is sponsored by the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, The Power Loon, Allegra Print and Marketing, Bridge of Harmony, Clow Stamping, the Brainerd Elks Lodge, Rotary and Sertoma. The Crossing Arts Alliance activities are funded, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Five Wings Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.



The book cover of author Susan Schaefer Davis' book “Women Artisans of Morocco: Their Stories, Their Lives.” Davis will speak at noon Monday, July 22, at the Brainerd Public Library, as part of the Brown Bag Lunch Author Series. Submitted Photo
The book cover of author Susan Schaefer Davis' book “Women Artisans of Morocco: Their Stories, Their Lives.” Davis will speak at noon Monday, July 22, at the Brainerd Public Library, as part of the Brown Bag Lunch Author Series. Submitted Photo

Author to discuss ‘Women Artisans of Morocco’

Author Susan Schaefer Davis will discuss her book “Women Artisans of Morocco: Their Stories, Their Lives” at noon Monday, July 22, at the Brainerd Public Library, as part of the Brown Bag Lunch Author Series.

Davis’ book tells the stories of 25 women who practice textile traditions with an inspiring pride and fortitude. In rural Berber villages, in bustling cities, and in a remarkable desert oasis, the book portrays extraordinary women who honor their cultural traditions, as well as those who carve new roads in the social landscape through political office and entrepreneurship, a news release stated.

Joe Coca’s photography brings the women, their work, and the colorful richness of Morocco to life.

Author Susan Schaefer Davis
Author Susan Schaefer Davis

Davis has been captivated by Morocco since she was a Peace Corps volunteer there in the 1960s. Her work and research with traditional women led her to a doctorate degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan and post-doctoral work at Harvard. Davis has taught or been in research positions at Haverford College, Rutgers University, the University of Pennsylvania, the College of New Jersey and Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. She has published widely on gender in Morocco including two books, “Patience and Power: Women’s Lives in a Moroccan Village” and “Adolescence in a Moroccan Town.” In addition to consulting with several non-government organizations, Davis currently leads cultural and textile tours through Morocco.

People who attend the author event are welcome to bring a packed lunch or they may enjoy the light refreshments provided. These presentations are sponsored by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library through their volunteer and fundraising efforts.

For more information, contact the library at 218-829-5574 or visit the library’s Facebook page at

www.facebook.com/brainerdpubliclibrary.

HSO begins its 43rd season with new conductor

Heartland Symphony Orchestra will begin its 43rd season of bringing classical music to west central Minnesota under the direction of its new conductor and music director Ryan Webber. The fall concert series begins Oct. 12 in Little Falls and Oct. 13 in Brainerd. The theme "Musique francaise" will feature the music of Bizet, Chaminade and Offenbach. Playing side-by-side with the orchestra for the Little Falls concert will be the St. Francis Music Center Orchestra. For the Brainerd concert, members of the Great River Strings will join the orchestra. The theme for the winter concert series, "A Winter Gathering" will include a festive selection of music for the holidays. The Legacy Chorale will perform with the orchestra for these concerts which will be Dec. 7 in Little Falls and Dec. 8 in Brainerd.

The spring series will feature the winner of the Composer's Competition with the rest of the program devoted to "A Tribute to Beethoven." The spring series concerts will be April 4 in Little Falls and April 5 in Brainerd plus and outreach concert in Crosslake.

As the new music director, Webber states his goal is to make orchestra music as accessible as possible.

"I will continue to develop our relationships in Little Falls and Brainerd as well as build new connections with the community," he stated in a news release. As a pre-concert lecturer, he has enjoyed sharing his passion for music and interacting with patrons before Minnesota Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony concerts.

Webber maintains an active schedule as a conductor in northern Minnesota. Since 2017, he has served as the music director and pit orchestra conductor of Northern Light Opera Company. He has been a part of the Bemidji State University faculty since 2017, where he teaches applied low brass, co-directs the trombone choir and is interim director of the BSU Pep Band.

He is a rehearsal conductor for the BSU Symphonic Band and served as assistant music director for BSU’s production of “Pirates of Penzance” in 2018. Webber received a bachelor of music from the University of California Irvine and a master of music degree from the University of Kansas.

He has led a successful career working with bands and orchestras around the country, a news release stated. He conducts the Bemidji Area Community Band, where he leads innovative and diverse programs. Previously, he was the assistant conductor for the Lawrence Youth Symphony, which doubled in size during his tenure. Other groups he has worked with include the Symphonette Orchestra of the Youth Orchestras of Kansas City, La Primavera Youth Orchestra and Community Youth Orchestra of Southern California.

Webber also is known as a trombonist and educator. He has served as bass trombone in the Heartland Symphony since 2016.

For more information about Heartland Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming season, to order tickets or to get involved either as a player or orchestra sponsor, email HSO at HeartlandSymphony@gmail.com, call 1-800-826-1997 or visit the website at www.heartlandsymphony.com.

Local musician Craig Peterson will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 21, at the Music in the Park Series in the Northern Pacific Park in Staples.  In case of rain, the concerts will be moved to Faith Lutheran Church. Submitted Photo
Local musician Craig Peterson will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 21, at the Music in the Park Series in the Northern Pacific Park in Staples. In case of rain, the concerts will be moved to Faith Lutheran Church. Submitted Photo

Peterson to perform in Staples Music in the Park

STAPLES -- Local musician Craig Peterson will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 21, at the Music in the Park Series in the Northern Pacific Park in Staples. In case of rain, the concerts will be moved to Faith Lutheran Church.

Peterson, who sings and plays the guitar, will perform classic country and classic rock music. A self-taught musician who plays by ear, Peterson has been performing with bands and as a solo artist since 1973, a news release stated. His musical journey began with the band Hill Toppers, along with his parents, Richard and Phyllis Peterson. Fronted by fiddle player Herman Johnson, the group played mainly polkas and waltzes.

He went on to play in the band, The Country Jubilees, along with his parents and guitarist Gary McGillvary; and in 1978, formed The Jubilee Three with his brothers Mark and Ron Peterson, playing country music throughout Minnesota. They were joined occasionally by their sisters Sandy Lorber and Vickie Hanley.

Following a one-year break, the brothers came back together with a new name, Foothills Gold. A few years later they changed their name again to Neon Nites, continuing in the tradition of country and classic rock and roll. Over the next eight years, the band stayed busy playing at a variety of venues throughout Minnesota, from Leader to the Twin Cities. They developed a following and were always booked back at the venues they played, Peterson recalled.

In 2000, Peterson suffered a stroke while lifting weights and as he was the lead singer of Neon Nites, the band could not continue.

Following his stroke, Peterson said he used singing as part of his therapy.

“I could sing, but couldn’t speak fluently,” he stated. “Through God’s grace and the love of family and friends, I was able to recover though it took some six to nine months.”

Since his recovery, Peterson has been enjoying performing as a solo artist, playing his favorite songs from the classic country and classic rock genres.

For more information on the Music in the Park series go to www.staplesmotleyarts.org.

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.



Author Gary Harris of Nisswa announces his self-published e-book titled “Man-Opause My Continuing Battle with Metastatic Prostate Cancer." Submitted Photo
Author Gary Harris of Nisswa announces his self-published e-book titled “Man-Opause My Continuing Battle with Metastatic Prostate Cancer." Submitted Photo

Author releases book on his battle with cancer

Author Gary Harris of Nisswa announces his self-published e-book titled “Man-Opause My Continuing Battle with Metastatic Prostate Cancer" is available for electronic download for $3.99 from Amazon Books, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Scribd and Playster.

Harris stated in an email he was diagnosed with prostate cancer 11 years ago and it changed his life forever.

“My cancer was originally diagnosed as a medium grade and not a significant worry,” he stated. “Have it removed and move on. The surgery was completed and the biopsy after surgery on the prostate was quite shocking as the grade of the cancer and the growth of it was much worse than was expected. It was thought to be contained however and removed and we began a regimen of quarterly testing to monitor it.”

Harris lived through three different tumors, and bone cancer in his ribs, spine and tailbone, all from the original prostate. In the e-book, Harris shares his logical and spiritual decisions of his story.

“I openly speak about it to anyone willing to listen and the interest is then great and the questions begin,” Harris stated. “In order to pay back for my blessings, I decided over a year and a half ago to author a short article to help get the word out about prostate cancer, its discovery, treatment and impact on individuals and their families with the goal of forming an informal support group in the Brainerd area.”



The book cover of a children’s picture book about the tiny house lifestyle titled “Sissy Goes Tiny.” Authors are Rebecca Flansburg and Beth Ann Norrgard. Submitted Photo
The book cover of a children’s picture book about the tiny house lifestyle titled “Sissy Goes Tiny.” Authors are Rebecca Flansburg and Beth Ann Norrgard. Submitted Photo

BHS grads release children’s book

Rebecca Flansburg and Beth Ann Norrgard, two 1984 Brainerd High School graduates, teamed up to pen a children’s picture book about the tiny house lifestyle titled “Sissy Goes Tiny.”

In 2012, Norrgard’s personal lifestyle changed and since then she has lived in a tiny house community. Norrgard had become involved in the movement nationwide through teaching others about going tiny and empowering others to downsize through leading by example.

The tiny house movement, a social movement that advocates for living simply in small homes of 399-square-feet or less, had been steadily growing for years, and Norrgard had actively made that lifestyle her reality for the past six years, it stated in a news release.

Norrgard and Flansburg discussed what the process of “going tiny” might look like through the eyes of a child and how scary that could actually be. The question lead to an in-depth discussion and the idea for an innovative children’s book was born.

As a project manager for the global nonprofit, Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Flansburg had deep knowledge of the children’s book world and as the two chatted, it became clear they each had something to bring to the table. Combining Norrgard’s knowledge of living tiny and Flansburg’s knowledge of the children’s book publishing industry, the pair used their imaginations and talents to hatch a plan for a children’s picture book that would help the smallest members of the family see the big adventures in living tiny.

“The tiny house movement has been around and accelerating in popularity over the last 10 years,” Flansburg stated. “There are several popular shows on TV and Netflix that follow the journeys of individuals and families who have opted to do more with less. However, all of the shows and books available on the subject are all geared for adults. We both strongly felt that kids needed to be part of this lifestyle change as well. Through that discussion between us over the course of a few weeks, the story of ‘Sissy Goes Tiny’ came together.”

While in creation-mode, the duo agreed the children’s picture book would need to have a deeper purpose and lesson beyond helping youngsters understand the importance of going tiny.

“We knew we wanted this book to be a captivating and fun read for kids, but we also wanted to have some subtle lessons within the pages as well,” Norrgard stated. “We wanted parents and kids alike to understand the process of downsizing, repurposing, and how stuff is just stuff in a positive way. We also wanted to share the message that living unconventionally is full of big possibilities, and wherever Sissy and her parents went on their journey, they would always be home.”

Norrgard stated when downsizing to prepare for tiny living, a rule of thumb is to reflect upon a person’s needs and wants, and to choose to keep only the items that serve a purpose, meet a need, or bring joy.

The main character of the book is 8-year-old Sissy, a name chosen to pay homage to Norrgard’s Tiny House, Sisu.

“Sisu is a Finnish word meaning having grit, determination, and perseverance in the face of adversity,” Norrgard stated. “I had my tiny home a few years before I named her and at first, I couldn’t think of a fitting name. Then my mom died. She was Finnish and she had a lot of sisu. The name for my 78-square-foot home suddenly became clear.”

In the book, Sissy and her parents make the bold choice to downsize their life and embark on a journey of living tiny and doing more with less. At first, Sissy struggles to get used to the idea of living in a tiny house on wheels and traveling around the U.S, but as they learn about downsizing, repurposing and how “stuff is just stuff,” she soon understands a life of “living tiny” will be filled with the big adventures and learning, a news release stated. The book’s publisher is Audrey Press Publishing and the illustrator is Penny Weber, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Local printing company, Bang Printing, printed the hardcover book early this month.

Copies of the book are available at The Crossing Arts Alliance, the Downtown Farmers Market, Amazon and AudreyPress.com.

Brainerd native writes children’s book

Brainerd High School graduate Tammy Rudningen, who resides in Pennock, recently released a children’s books called “Tic Tac Takes a Tour -- The Neighborhood.”

The book is playful story about a brave and bold horse names Tic Tac and her adventure as she breaks out of her pen. Rudningen, who graduated in the mid 1980s, writes under her pen name TR Star. Her book is available at bookstores and online at Apple iBooks Store, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.