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Entertainment Briefs - Feb. 14

The cast and crew of "Stepping Out," a spring production, to be staged in April by Stage North Theatre Company at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd. Submitted Photo 1 / 3
Brainerd High School graduates Zach Rude (left), Hannah Staehling and Aaron Nibbe pose with the conductor of The Concordia Choir in Moorhead, René Clausen. The choir will perform 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd as one of their stops on the choir's tour. Submitted Photo 2 / 3
The Brainerd Public Library will host a program featuring Scandinavian folk music at noon Feb. 21 which will include Arnie Anderson on fiddle (left), Mary Abendroth on guitar, Bob Anderson on bass (right) and Paul Wilson (front) on the accordion. Harold Herboldt (back, third left) is pictured but will not appear for the library event. Submitted Photo 3 / 3

Stage North announces 'Stepping Out' cast

Retirement Learning Center and Stage North Theatre Co. announced the cast for its spring production of "Stepping Out," which will run April 4-7 at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd.

"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 played by Jenny Kiffmeyer, tries her hardest to teach the bumbling< amateurs some tap steps for an upcoming recital. The class is made up of Dorothy played by Kari Erickson, Lynne played by Elaina Tanner, Rose played by Chelsey Perkins; Vera played by Jana Johnson, Maxine played by Jocelyn Tanner, Sylvia played by Karla Johnson, Andy played by Kim Huether, Geoffrey played by Mark Oehrlein, David played by Jesse Brutscher and Brian played by Alex Erickson. Barb McColgan plays Mrs. Fraser, the pianist.

But before the dancing begins, Mavis must mediate the minor dramas erupting amongst this motley but loveable crew on their way to triumph at their recital, the news release stated. At the recital, we run into hostess Liz Beckley played by Jessica Dewey and the Sugar Plum Cowgirls, played by Emily Brack, Raven Davis, Isabel Pence, Abby Pratt, Bianca Purdy and Lauren Yeager.

"It has a great combination of Broadway-style dance with endearing characters who will win you over in the first scene," states director Gary Hirsch. "It's a clever story that will warm your heart. You won't want to miss it."

The production will be choreographed by Wendy DeGeest, costumed by Heather Pearson, technically directed by Mark Oehrlein and stage managed by Kim Utesch.

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.

Lakes Area Music Festival receives national grant

The Lakes Area Music Festival received an Art Works grant for $10,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter approved more than $27 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment's first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019, which includes the grant to the LAMF. Art Works is the Arts Endowment's principal grantmaking program. The agency received 1,605 Art Works applications for this round of grantmaking.

"The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects

take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal,

and to celebrate," Carter stated in a news release.

"Anyone who has attended our performances in recent years has experienced the result of a strong organization connecting exceptionally talented musicians with a supportive community," Scott Lykins, the LAMF artistic and executive director, stated in the release. "It is an honor to be judged alongside leading ensembles nationwide and to receive credit for not only our artistic excellence, but also for our unique commitment to making live music performance accessible.

"Having the National Endowment for the Arts recognize the achievements of the festival is a

testament to, and a celebration of, the combined dedication of so many individuals who will

make our 11th annual season this summer a success."

Each summer the festival brings more than 160 all-star musicians from top orchestras and opera companies around the world to perform three weeks of classical music performances in the Brainerd lakes area. From chamber music and symphonic orchestra, to productions of opera and ballet, drawing thousands of attendees each year, LAMF has become one of the most significant summertime destinations for classical music in the Midwest, the news release stated.

For more information about the Lakes Area Music Festival, visit

Brainerd library to host Scandinavian fiddlers

The Brainerd Public Library will host a program featuring Scandinavian folk music at noon Feb. 21.

Arne Anderson, Paul Wilson, Mary Abendroth and Bob Anderson of the Brainerd area will present a program about violin building and Scandinavian folk music. Arne Anderson studied violin making in Cremona, Italy, starting in 1973. He has been a stringed instrument builder for half a century. Wilson took a Folk Arts Apprenticeship grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to study violin building in 1995 and has been building special understring, Scandinavian-styled violins. Wilson and Arne Anderson will talk about the craft of violin building and then, with the help of their fellow musician friends, entertain with lot of lively waltzes, shottishes, polkas and songs.

This free Legacy Program is funded in part or in whole with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008, which dedicated funding to preserve Minnesota's arts and cultural


Open Mic event set

Youth on Stage Open Mic event will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 25, and most every fourth Monday of the month at the Eagles Club in Brainerd.

Brainerd Elks Lodge 615 sponsors the event through an Elks National Foundation grant, along with the Brainerd Eagles Club No. 215. This monthly youth-oriented event is geared for those age 25 and younger with 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 or may do so at the venue, the Eagles Club, on the night of a performance.

Sprout offers February event

LITTLE FALLS—The monthly Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace is scheduled 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 23. Each of the markets highlight various cultural food, music and dance.

This free monthly community event will showcase Latin American cuisine and music with new restaurant Sanchez Burrito in the kitchen, and bands Los Plebes De La Sierra and jazz group the Jones Street Trio on the stage.

Advert Sanchez is owner of Sanchez Burrito, which opened in Little Falls in October 2018, along with his two brothers, Yunior and Olvin. The three brothers, originally from Honduras, gained cooking experience at a number of Mexican restaurants like the El Loro Restaurant Group, El Tequila Mexican Restaurant in Brainerd, and Little Fiesta in Little Falls. While Sanchez Burrito mainly serves Mexican-style food, Advert Sanchez stated in a news release they hope to add more Honduran flavor in the future.

"The food in Honduras is not as spicy as it is in Mexico," Sanchez stated. "The steak I make in the restaurant is similar to how my mom would make it in Honduras with achiote."

Achiote is a seasoning giving an earthy, peppery flavor to food as well as the yellow color often found in rice dishes. At noon, Sanchez will demonstrate the steak recipe learned from his mother as well as his favorite salsa recipe with a Honduran twist. The community is invited to watch the demonstration in the kitchen, enjoy samples and purchase lunch from Sanchez Burrito at the Sprout market. The cooking demonstration is a regular feature at the monthly Sprout markets to create a fun atmosphere while customers shop the local vendors selling handmade, homegrown food, art and other products.

Another feature of the market is the live musical entertainment. Los Plebes De La Sierra, led by Richmond resident Margarito Santos, is a five-member ensemble made up of drums, keyboard, electric tuba, bass and singing. The band plays a mix of Mexican music genres from Norteño, which has influences of polka and Tejano but blends more American rock and country music. Los Plebes De La Sierra will play 10 a.m. to noon. The Jones Street Trio jazz group will play a selection of Latin jazz tunes 1-3 p.m. The trio of piano, bass and drums will play Latin jazz styles like Afro-Cuban jazz, bossa nova, and jazz samba to showcase varied rhythms and improvisation techniques.

Due to a partnership with Hunger Solutions Minnesota, families and individuals eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program may double their dollar at the Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace. Market Bucks can then be used at vendor booths during the market for any SNAP-eligible items, such as breads, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products and more. SNAP is a federal food assistance program. To learn about qualifications for SNAP, call the Minnesota Food HelpLine at 888-711-1151 or visit

The activities at the market are funded through a grant awarded to the Region Five Development Commission by ArtPlace America's National Creative Placemaking Fund.

Concordia Choir to perform

The Concordia Choir in Moorhead—featuring three Brainerd High School graduates Hannah Staehling, Aaron Nibbe and Zach Rude—will perform 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students.

"I am excited to share this incredible program with those that supported my love for music throughout my life," Staehling stated in a news release. "This concert will be very special to share with my classmates Aaron Nibbe and Zach Rude, Brainerd alumni, that also sing in the choir. I know I will see many familiar faces and can't wait to sing in my home auditorium."

The concert has four sets, each with its own theme: German and Russian motets, sacred works, choral works relating to the earth and finally a collection of folks songs, spirituals and hymns.

The choir is directed by world-renowned composer and conductor René Clausen. He has served as the conductor since 1986. He is the artistic director of the Emmy Award-winning "Concordia Christmas Concerts," which are frequently featured by PBS stations throughout the nation, the college stated on its website.

Corey Medina & Brothers concert set

NEW YORK MILLS—A Corey Medina & Brothers concert is scheduled 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Cultural Center in New York Mills.

Medina is a Native American blues artist from Shiprock, N.M. He moved to northern Minnesota in 2012 and has collaborated with Incepticons Entertainment since then. This trio consists of Corey Medina, who does songwriting, vocals and guitar; Eric Sundeen on drums; and Gary Broste on upright bass.

Growing up, Medina got his musical influence from his mother and uncles who listened to blues, classic country, soul, classic rock and metal. Though Medina loves to just write and play music, his mission is to spread happiness through music to every person who may have a glimpse of what the "blues" really means and how it feels to struggle through life's challenges, a news release stated.

Cost is $15 at the door or $12 in advance by calling 218-385-3339, or visiting Student tickets with a college identification card are $5.

Brainerd YMCA Y-Ball set April 5

NISSWA --The Brainerd Family YMCA's 23rd annual Y-Ball—formally called the YMCA Charity Ball—will be April 5 at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa.

The event will include dinner, silent and live auctions, and entertainment by the Johnny Holm Band. YMCA CEO Shane Riffle invites everyone to attend, stating, "We updated the Charity Ball to the Y-Ball theme to better communicate the spirit of the evening. It's a night to celebrate and share the collaborative impact the Y has in our community."

Last year's Charity Ball raised more than $50,000, which was used to purchase new fitness equipment, install a handicapped-accessible indoor children's playground structure and bring in a new aqua fitness program. It also supported program upgrades and enhancements that deepen the impact of programs, such as the Parent Aware-rated New Discoveries Child Development Center, the after-school youth program, community lifestyle and health coaching and the Safety Around Water program and lessons.

The Brainerd Family YMCA is a community-focused nonprofit established in 1844 with a mission to enhance lives in the Brainerd lakes area by connecting individuals and families with opportunities based on Christian values that build a healthy spirit, mind and body. Supporting the Y means supporting a foundation of community and supportive relationships "so together we can overcome obstacles to be our best version of ourselves," the news release stated.

Tickets are for sale online at Contact Denise Sundquist for sponsorship information or to donate to the silent or live auction at 218-454-2555 or

BHS graduate releases 3rd STEM book

Erin Twamley, a 2005 Brainerd High School graduate and author, released her third book, titled "Everyday Superheroes: Women in STEM Careers."

Twamley, along with Joshua Sneideman, are educators and authors of STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—publications from blogs to children's books. Their first book, called "Climate Change: Discover How it Impacts Spaceship Earth," was published in 2015 and "Renewable Energy: Discover the Fuel of the Future" was published in 2016.

The third book focuses on tackling the stereotypes in STEM by sharing the stories and illustrations of 26 women of color currently working in STEM.

The book is recommended for all readers. The comic book style makes the book accessible to readers ages 8-14.