Consensus to perform 2 concerts

Consensus Vocal Ensemble, a 10-member ensemble, will perform two free concerts: 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Cascade United Methodist Church in Deerwood and 3 p.m. Jan. 27 at First Congregational Church in Brainerd.

Consensus Vocal Ensemble was formed in 2011 by a group of singers looking for a musical outlet. The group's goal is to bring high quality vocal music to the community and have lots of fun along the way, a news release stated.

The group states, "We are a diverse group of singers from all walks of life who love getting together to make music. Among our ranks are teachers, lawyers, health care professionals, business owners and scientists."

The concert has a general theme about the "journey through life." The ensemble will sing a wide variety of songs reflecting the beginning of life, the end of life, and different events in between.

Auditions set for Stage North spring production

Retirement Learning Center and the Stage North Theatre Co. announce auditions for the spring production of "Stepping Out."

Auditions will be 1 and 7 p.m. Feb. 1 and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd. People interested are to meet in the main lobby for audition forms and information.

The 7:30 p.m. productions will run April 4-6, with a 2 p.m. matinee April 7.

"Stepping Out" is a comedy about the attempts of some working class amateurs to overcome their inhibitions and left feet in a low-rent dance studio in northern Minnesota. Mavis, a former professional chorus girl, tries her hardest to teach the bumbling amateurs some tap steps for an

upcoming recital. But before the dancing begins Mavis must mediate the minor dramas that erupt among this motley but loveable crew on their way to triumph at their recital. Liza Minnelli starred as Mavis in the popular film.

The script calls for nine female and one male speaking/dancing roles. Additional characters include a stage manager, several Sugar Plum Fairies and a dance recital host.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural and Heritage Fund.

CLC hosts kids' playwriting workshop

The Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center will host a playwriting workshop for students in fifth through ninth grades. The workshop will be taught by Mary Aalgaard, a local writer whose blog "Play off the Page" is familiar to those involved in theater.

Classes will run 6:30-8 p.m. every Thursday, Jan. 24- April 4, in Room E319 at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Classes will not meet March 14.

Students will write a short play, either on their own or as a group, and present it on the final day. This workshop is for anyone interested in the process of creating theater. Both writers and actors are welcome. Students will also work on some acting skills.

The course fee is $55 and is non-refundable. To register, contact Jean at 218-855-8253. Registration deadline is Jan. 23. For more information, contact Mary Aalgaard at mary@playoffthepage.com.

Fundraiser to support Wild and Free set

CROSBY-Cuyuna Brewery Co. in Crosby is hosting its "Happy Hour" fundraising event 5-7 p.m. Jan. 24 to support the Wild and Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Organization in Garrison.

Cost is $15.00 at the door. Light appetizers will be supplied by Iron Range Eatery and beer samples supplied by Cuyuna Brewing Co.

The event organizers ask people to RSVP by Sunday, Jan. 20, by emailing marbleye58@msn.com, messaging the Wild and Free Facebook page or by calling 952-594-9273.

Somali Culture Series hits 4 area history museums

"The Somali Museum of Minnesota-Exploring History and Culture in Central MN" is an event series to bring programming from The Somali Museum of Minnesota to four county historical societies in central Minnesota- Morrison, Sherburne, Benton and Stearns.

The event series, which takes place on the four Saturdays in February, will share Somali culture and heritage with Somali and non-Somali residents. Each site will feature a different arts program. Habso J. Mohamud, Somali-American author of "The Story of Nasra," will appear at all four events to discuss and sign copies of her book.

The Somali Kebed Weaving program will be 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum, home of the Morrison County Historical Society. The weaving program is an immersive cultural arts class teaching participants the basics of a traditional Somali art form. Somali nomads use this art form to weave mats by hand with no loom or frame to cover their homes. Event attendees will learn the weaving method directly from native Somali weavers. An interpreter will be on-site to provide interpretation as needed.

The three other programs in the series take place on the following consecutive Saturdays in February.

The Somali Museum of Minnesota was founded in 2011 as North America's first and only museum devoted to Somali culture. It is currently the only known museum of Somali culture in the world. Its mission is to provide an opportunity for Minnesotans of all backgrounds to encounter and learn about Somali traditional culture.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Morrison County Historical Society at 320-632-4007.

Sprout marketplace announces 2019 season

LITTLE FALLS-Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace announces its 2019 season, which includes six market days, one Saturday per month, with the next one 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 26 at Sprout, 609 13th Ave. NE, Little Falls.

Kate Ritger, owner of the Just Food Collective, a food business in central Minnesota, will demonstrate her rhubarb barbecue with shredded chicken and goat cheese pizza at noon. Ritger grows fruits and vegetables and makes wood-fired pizza with seasonal, organic ingredients. With a wood-fired pizza oven on wheels, Ritger moves her pizza-making around to places like the St. Joseph Farmers Market, Milk & Honey Ciders and more, calling the operation a "moving pizza farm." While the winter weather poses challenges for growing and utilizing some standard pizza toppings, it also creates an opportunity to develop creative pizza recipes, a news release stated. Whether it is thinly slicing potatoes or reducing rhubarb to create a tangy barbeque sauce, the pizzas will still feature local ingredients.

The cooking demonstration is a regular feature at the monthly Sprout markets to draw customers to local vendors selling handmade, homegrown food, art and other products.

Another feature of the market is the live musical entertainment 10 a.m. to noon. Uncle Wheat & Eddie, made up of Brad Wallace on cajón and Ed Koehler on guitar, play a mix of tunes from '60s rock to "Summertime" by Ella Fitzgerald.

The two have played together for 20 years, but only as a duo in recent years. Uncle Wheat & Eddie play often at breweries and other venues open primarily in the summer. Wallace, whose stage name is "Uncle Wheat," stated Uncle Wheat was a nickname given to him by his nieces and nephews. He stated, "My sister-in-law is from Chicago and she has a pretty strong accent. She says 'Brad' and my nieces and nephews tease her asking, 'What kind of bread is he?' And so, I became Uncle Wheat." The "Eddie" of the duo is Ed Koehler, a retired teacher from Brainerd, who plays on six- and 12-string guitars.

Due to a partnership with Hunger Solutions Minnesota, families and individuals eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can also double their dollar at the Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace. Shoppers with SNAP can swipe their debit card at the market information booth to receive tokens, plus an additional dollar for every dollar spent up to $10 in "Market Bucks." Market Bucks can then be used at vendor booths during the market for any SNAP-eligible items-breads, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products and more. SNAP is a federal food assistance program. Benefits are placed on an electronic benefits transfer card similar to a debit card. To find out if a person qualifies for SNAP, call the Minnesota Food HelpLine at 1-888-711-1151 or visit www.mnfoodhelpline.org for more information.