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Entertainment Briefs - Dec. 21

Lynnea (left), Kathy and Jenessa Iverson of The Iverson Family will perform at 2 p.m. Dec. 31 at United Methodist Church in Motley, as part of the Staples Motley Area Arts Council’s regular season. Submitted

Holiday concert in Aitkin set

AITKIN—The Aitkin High School Choirs will present their annual holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. today, Dec. 21, in the high school auditorium.

Performing in the the concert will be concert choir, the "Fists of Fury" handbell choir, madrigals, ninth-grade choir and first-semester piano students. The choirs are directed by Kelly Blake and the accompanist is Rebecca May. The concert will open with all of the choirs performing "A Welsh Noel" by Dave and Jean Perry. Concert choir will continue with "A Coventry Carol" arranged by Martin Shaw, "Bethlehem Spiritual" by Donald Moore, "Harambee" (Song of Unity with the seven principles of Kwanzaa) by Joseph Jennings along with a percussion ensemble: Johnny Ryan, Jaren Johnson, Joe Cummings, Kassidy Pietz, Woodrow Rian, Devon Modtland and Sam Sadlowsky.

Next, the Fists of Fury handbell choir will play "Joy to the World" arranged by Valerie W. Stephenson, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" arranged by Alan Lohr and "Carol of the Bells" arranged by Kevin McChesney.

Madrigals will perform four a cappella songs including "Deck the Hall," a Welsh carol, "Go Tell It On the Mountain" arranged by Nicholas T. Vangeloff, "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" arranged by Jeff Funk and "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" arranged by Mac Huff.

Next the ninth-grade choir will perform a Burgundian carol, "Pat-a-Pan," arranged by Clara Grundman, "Santa Claus Medley" arranged by Michael Scott, "A Cradle Waits" by Jean Anne Shafferman and "On the Roof I Saw Santa Claus" by Jay Althouse with choreography.

First-semester piano students will add to the holiday spirit with Kyle Lyons playing "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"; Hannah Elliot playing "Home For the Holidays" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"; Shelby Wood playing "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" and "Silent Night"; and Alexa Seibert playing "The First Noel" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas."

Concert choir will return to the stage to sing "Hot Chocolate" from the movie "Polar Express," "Thankful" by Rollo Dilworth and "Let It Ring, Let It Swing, Let It Snow" by Mac Huff, with soloists Sara Cummings, Jake Kukowski and Jaren Johnson. Cummings and Tucker Schwartz helped with choreography. Concert choir will close the concert with "Silent Night" by Franz Gruber.

Iverson Family to perform

MOTLEY—The Iverson Family will perform at 2 p.m. Dec. 31 at United Methodist Church in Motley, as part of the Staples Motley Area Arts Council's regular season.

The Iversons will perform a variety of music that will include original tunes, favorite hymns and Christmas songs.

Hailing from Staples, the group consists of Kathy and two of her four daughters, Lynnea and Jenessa. Kathy's husband, Jeff, will join the family for a few songs during the second half of the show.

The Iversons are well-known throughout the area for their musicianship. A former music teacher, Kathy Iverson currently teaches second grade at Staples Elementary School. She sings and plays guitar for the family band. In addition, she writes a lot of music, much of which is inspired by her faith, and love for the outdoors. Her husband, Jeff Iverson, was a longtime band director at Staples-Motley High School; and all four of their daughters—Becki, Kirstin, Lynnea and Jenessa—have been involved in music.

Lynnea, a graduate of Bemidji State University, is a middle-school vocal music teacher in Grand Rapids. She will sing and play cello, piano and drums at the upcoming New Year's Eve concert.

Jenessa is now a student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, majoring in musical theater. She will sing and play bass, mandolin and piano.

Still to come on the Staples Motley Area Arts Council season are The Whitesidewalls, performing doo-wop, rockabilly and rock 'n' roll; and An Afternoon Tea, featuring the music of harpist Anna Koopmann and guitarist Casey Smithley.

Check out the arts council's website at for more information.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students in advance, or $15 for adults and $7 for students at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at the arts council's website; or by cash or check at the Staples World. For more information call 218-894-1112.

Exhibit of Jaques to open Jan. 9

AITKIN—The Jaques Art Center in Aitkin will open its vault for an all-Jaques exhibit in both the Carnegie Gallery and the Jaques Gallery Jan. 9. The art center is one of the largest collectors of one-time Aitkin resident, Francis Lee Jaques, a world-renowned wildlife artist. Information and history about him is always available to curious visitors. A reception for the exhibit will be noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Jaques.

The art center is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is always free.

The art center currently is closed for New Year's break.

Concordia concert to be televised in area

The 2016 Concordia College Christmas Concert "Gather Us In O Child of Peace" will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Monday on KAWBDT.

During this hour-long event, more than 400 student musicians in five choirs and a full orchestra perform in front of a panoramic mural. The themes of worship service in song explore the virtues of community, tolerance, compassion and unity, all made possible by the incarnation of Jesus, the true child of peace.

The concert was videotaped by Twin Cities Public Television during the performances at Concordia College in Moorhead in 2016. The Concordia Christmas Concert draws more than 20,000 people annually to the concert in Moorhead and in Minneapolis.

New Year's Eve Candlelight Hike set

LITTLE FALLS—The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum and Charles A. Lindbergh House and Museum in Little Falls will once again host a candlelight hike from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 31, New Year's Eve. The hike, which will take place on trails lit with luminaries between the two sites.

Both museums will be open during the event, giving participants an opportunity to view exhibits, warm up and enjoy refreshments. If there is snow accumulation by Dec. 31, people are encouraged to bring snowshoes.

In conjunction with the Candlelight Hike, the Weyerhaeuser Museum will host a silent auction of items themed around preservation and history. Final bids for the auction will be accepted during the hiking event

The Candlelight Hike is free and open to the public.

Volunteers are needed for setting up and lighting the luminaries a couple of hours in advance of the event. Those interested in volunteering or who want more information can call the Weyerhaeuser Museum at 320-632-4007 or the Lindbergh Site at 320-616-5421.

'Young Frankenstein' auditions set

Brainerd Community Theatre will host auditions for the spring musical "Young Frankenstein" at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17-18 in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College.

"Young Frankenstein" is the stage adaptation of the Mel Brooks film of the same name. It is a parody of the classic horror films about the scientist and his creation. Brooks wrote the stage script and music.

The musical calls for the following characters, with their suggested ages and their top and bottom vocal ranges listed:

• Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, a scientist, 20s to 30s, G4, Bb2.

• The Monster, a monster, 20s to 40s, Bb4 to Db2.

• Igor, the hunchback assistant, 20s to 50s, G4 to Bb2.

• Inga, a sexy resident of Transylvania, 20s to 30s, A5 to G3 and must also be able to yodel.

• Elizabeth Benning, Frederick's sophisticated fiance, 20s to 30s, F5 to F#3.

• Frau Blucher, mysterious woman, 40s to 60s, C5 to E3.

• The Hermit, lonely blind man, 30s to 60s, F4 to Ab2.

• Victor Frankenstein, Frederick's grandfather, 40s to 60s, F4 to G#2.

• Ziggy, the village idiot, 20s to 60s, Eb4 to D3.

• Inspector Kemp, local police, 40s to 50s, F4 to A2.

There are also ensemble roles for several men and women of various ages and singing ranges.

Auditioners are asked to prepare at least 16 measures of an up-tempo song that best demonstrates vocal range. People are asked to bring sheet music to the audition and to dress in clothes that allow for free movement, as there will be a dance component to the audition.

Those interested in auditioning are invited to attend an information session on the musical at 6 p.m. Jan. 8 in the Chalberg Theatre. Readings from the script, selections from the score and parts of the film will be part of the session.

Auditioners are asked to sign up in advance for an audition time slot by contacting Patrick Spradlin at or 218-855-8255.

"Young Frankenstein" will perform April 26-28 and May 3-5.

Butler Building launches 'Yellow Brick Road' campaign

AITKIN—The historic Butler Building in Aitkin has launched its Yellow Brick Road Campaign this month, giving fans of Judy Garland and the "Wizard of Oz" a chance to build their own yellow brick road while preserving a place in American history.

"In tribute to the history of the building's turn-of-the-century Opera House, notably the first venue where a young Judy Garland, known then as Baby Gumm, got her start on stage in 1925, owners of the building are creating an opportunity for those to help protect the legacy of this important part of entertainment history by helping to build a yellow brick road around this distinguished 1903 building," it stated in a news release.

Funds raised through the purchase of each golden brick will go to help bring the Opera House back to its original grandeur, allowing the building to be inducted into the National Historic Registry, officially claiming its place in history.

The building, which was recently named one of the top five reasons for why people travel to the area and honored by Gov. Mark Dayton, is selling each brick for $100, giving donors the opportunity to have one's name embedded into the Yellow Brick Road around the building.

"This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of history," Sylvia Allen, the building owner stated. The brick wall will be duplicated on an inside wall of the Butler building so it will be available for all to view.

Each brick donated gives one the chance to memorialize a loved one, honor a family or friend for their birthday, holiday or special occasion, such as a wedding or anniversary, while helping to retain the legacy of this historical landmark. Each donor will receive a numbered certificate acknowledging and commemorating their purchase.

To purchase a brick, go to or or contact Allen at 218-678-2441.

Women in Philanthropy gives to area organizations

Through donations received by the local Women in Philanthropy group, $10,875 was recently given to seven area programs as voted on by members at the annual meeting in November.

Grants were given to:

• Staples Community Center received $1,500 designated for additional equipment for gym and pool activities.

• Project Linus of Todd/Wadena Counties, an all-volunteer, locally funded outreach to children in crisis, received $1,750 to make and distribute 200 fleece blankets.

• Staples Men's Chorus received $1,000 to help with costs such as meals for the 2018 Real Men Sing Junior Festival. Approximately 300 students from area school districts will take part in this learning opportunity.

• Central Minnesota Boys Choir received $1,500 to help with costs to attend a boys choir festival in Elk River and Monticello in April.

• Lamplighter Community Theatre received $1,000 to cover registration fees for area students to attend Lamp Camp 2018.

• Colla Voce Girls Choir received $1,500 to go towards performing and learning while on a on a day tour, as well as transportation costs, admission fees and membership fees.

• Pillager Elementary School received $2,625 to allow the physical education class to purchase a 40-foot traverse climbing wall with various handholds and safety mats that are secure when not in use. The installation of the wall will be carried out by volunteers in the community.

The Women in Philanthropy group offers competitive grant dollars to surrounding communities in an effort to support needed health services, community education and preventative health programs and activities that contribute to the quality of life for youths in the five-county service area including Todd, Wadena, Cass, Morrison and portions of Crow Wing counties.

The group is made up of area women, who, through donations, hope to positively impact the overall health and wellness of children, a news release stated. Awarded grant funds will ultimately support the mission of the group, a program of Lakewood Health System's community health initiatives. With a current membership of 59 women, the group has received more than $157,000 in donations and membership since it was founded in 2014.

To learn more about Women in Philanthropy or about how to become a member, email or contact Heidi Chapman, foundation director, at 218-894-8503.

Longest Night Music Festival planned

NEW YORK MILLS—The longest, and often darkest, night of the year—today, Dec. 21, the first day of winter—approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Cultural Center in New York Mills offers a way to spend those extra hours of darkness: their Longest Night Music Festival.

The Longest Night is an annual free concert set at 7 p.m. Dec. 21, which brings together various and varied local and regional musical artists to each play a short set. The spirit of the event is to share in merrymaking and music-making on the winter solstice.

In the lineup this year are: Chasing Clarence, Day Gun, Laurie Kallevig, The Longest Night House Band, Ben Ranson, Dave Virnala and the Wadena Puppeteers.