BHS choirs to make appearances

Brainerd High School choirs have two upcoming events.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, the A Cappella Choir will host the Concordia Choir from Moorhead during a concert at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. The Concordia Choir is preparing for its annual tour of the Pacific Northwest, and Brainerd is the kick-off site this year. The A Cappella Choir will perform a short set before Concordia takes the stage. Then the two choirs will combine for a final piece.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for students at the door or online at

The second appearance will be when the ninth- through 12th-graders present their guest conductor concert 7:30 p.m. Monday at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd.

During the concert, the choirs will sing a variety from classic pieces to vocal jazz and popular arrangements.

The guest conductor will be Sarah Ludwig, director of choral activities at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. She earned a bachelor's degree in vocal music education from the University of St. Thomas, a master's degree in music education with a choral conducting concentration from the same institution and a doctorate degree in choral conducting from Texas Tech University.

At St. Scholastica, Ludwig directs the women's and men's choirs and co-directs the concert choir. She teaches courses in conducting, music education and supervises vocal music education student teachers.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students at the door.

HSO announces Youth Concerto Competition winners

Heartland Symphony Orchestra announces Yash Hindka and Joseph Loss are the winners of this year's Echo Kowalzek Youth Concerto Competition.

The HSO hosts a Youth Concerto Competition every other year, alternating with a Composers Competition. Hindka is a senior at Sartell High School and has been studying piano for 10 years with Paul Wirth. Loss is a senior at Brainerd High School and has been studying trombone for seven years.

Hindka and Loss will attend rehearsals and perform with the HSO in the upcoming spring concert series "The Joy of Youth" at 7:30 p.m. April 6 at Charles D. Martin Auditorium at Little Falls High School and 2:30 p.m. April 7 at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd.

Thanks to a grant received by Crow Wing Power Community Trust, each winner will be awarded a $500 scholarship toward continuing their musical studies. They also will receive a recording of their concert performance.

This year, auditions once again took place at St. Francis Music Center in January. The judges panel included Alexander Corbett, HSO music director, Leslie Zander, HSO concertmaster and Jonathan Laflamme, band director at Central Lakes College.

For ticket information call 800-826-1997 or email Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at

Write Your Life Workshop set

The Crossing Arts Alliance will host "Write Your Life," a series of writing workshops, 1-4 p.m. every Saturday in April-April 6, 13, 20 and 27.

A news release describes the workshop series: "Do you have a story to tell? Do you worry your children and grandchildren will never know the simple pleasures of growing up in a world without cellphones and internet? Does your history include family lore that should be captured on paper? Through the use of free writes and prompts, we'll begin putting those memories on paper."

Workshop attendees will learn practical ways to create stories their family will enjoy for generations. Workshops will included writing assignments with opportunities to read and share work. Participants will learn important skills to organize their writing project and improve their stories as well as gain confidence and awareness for resources in their community.

Class fee is $45 for all four classes. Ideally attendance at all four classes is best, but not required, the news release stated. Register online at, by phone at 218-833-0416 or in person. Class size is limited.

All classes are led by award-winning instructor Angela F. Foster. Foster is a poet and memoirist who teaches creative writing at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. In 2004 and again in 2006, she received the Carol Bly Award in Creative Nonfiction from Bemidji State University. Foster received an artist's grant from the East Central Arts Council and was a 2006 and 2009 finalist for the Loft Mentorship program. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction from Pine Manor College in Boston.

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 Heritage Fund.

'Legendary Women' exhibit to open at BHS

The organizing committee of the Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools and Brainerd Public Schools Archives will host a major exhibit titled "Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools."

The exhibit opens with a reception 5-7 p.m. March 4 in the Media Center Atrium at Brainerd High School. Brief remarks will be offered at 5:30 p.m.

"'Legendary Women' lifts up 20 very special women of BPS and, in so doing, demonstrates the power and influence of women in American society and illustrates to our community and the students of BPS, female and male alike, what all may aspire to-and achieve," a news release stated.

The missions of BPS Archives are to protect and preserve the history of BPS, its students, graduates, teachers and staff through the collection and display of BPS-related artifacts, to make available to the public those artifacts consistent with best archival practices, to foster community and student interest in BPS student, graduate, teacher, staff and institutional history as a valuable, critical aspect of life, and to support the missions of BPS in serving its students and community.

Sprout invites artists to 'À la cARTe' event

LITTLE FALLS-Sprout announces new "À la cARTe" initiative to promote regional artists and provide innovative ways for them to engage community members though the use of mobile art studios. Sprout invites regional artists to learn more at the "À la cARTe" design party, hosted 6 p.m. March 5 at Sprout. At this event, the parameters of the "À la cARTe" project and the application process will be shared with interested artists.

Applications are being accepted for individual artists or artist collaboratives. Examples of these mobile studios, called "art carts," may include supplies for a pop-up painting class like easels, paints, and brushes or a folding stage and microphone set could allow for short play productions or musical performances. Whatever the medium, the art carts will aim to foster community fun, new skills and interests. This project is made possible by a $150,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation, which includes funds to compensate artists to develop their carts and the materials for the cart itself.

The "À la cARTe" initiative allows artists to develop their art cart as an outlet for their art production, as a resource for engaging the community and as a differentiating factor and economic driver for their art business. Once chosen, the art cart will be owned by the selected artists, allowing them to bring their art to events and communities independently. This new project will also work in tandem with Sprout's Mobile Market stops, providing additional community engagement activities and bringing a blend of local food and art opportunities to area residents. The Mobile Market program is set to begin this summer and will travel to rural areas in central Minnesota. The À la cARTe initiative will allow for creativity by the selected artists to use their art cart in innovative ways and give them a mobile platform to share their art and creative talents.

Five Wings Arts Council and Region Five Development Commission will help facilitate the application process for artists to assist them in generating their ideas to paper. Sprout encourages interested artists to attend the À la cARTe design party, which both seeks to inform artists about the project and gather their feedback on the application process. A key goal of the project is to elevate the skills and insights of area artists, who are more equipped to infuse creativity into community engagement strategies. This program is open to all artists and art mediums and works to cultivate business skills to support artist's work by providing connections to resources.

Registration for the design party is free and can be found at

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addition to the funding from the McKnight Foundation, this project is supported in part by the Otto Bremer Trust and Lakewood Health Systems and is led by partnerships with Sprout, Five Wings Arts Council, Region Five Development Commission and other community partners.

Aitkin band director to sit on MN Ambassadors of Music staff

Aitkin High School band director Chris Halvorson was selected to be on the staff of the Minnesota Ambassadors of Music. This group will represent Minnesota on a 16-day tour of seven European countries in July of 2020. The Minnesota Ambassadors are comprised of a select concert band and choir composed of student from throughout the state.

Halvorson has taught band since 1985, with the last 28 years as director of bands for Aitkin Public Schools. Halvorson has taught music from beginning band through college and adult community band. In 2003 he received his master's degree from the American Band College through Southern Oregon University.

"I learned a lot about this trip when my daughter Laura went on the 2014 trip," Halvorson stated in a news release. "Truly a trip of a lifetime with an outstanding staff putting it all together.

"I am hopeful some of our Aitkin students and other students in the area will be able to be a part

of this amazing group."

Students are nominated for the trip by their local band or choir director based on musicianship and character. The tour itinerary will include concerts and sightseeing in London, Paris, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Italy. The group will spend several days rehearsing together prior to departure.

The late Frank Bencriscutto and his wife, Jean, founded the Minnesota Ambassadors of Music in 1989. Bencriscutto was the director of bands at the University of Minnesota for many years.

Tour directors are Joni Sutton and Chip Williams. Sutton is a retired band director of 33 years from the Osseo School District. Williams taught for 34 years and retired from Wayzata High School in 2010. He also conducts the band on the tour. This is their 14th trip with the Minnesota Ambassadors. Award-winning choir director, Robin Hughes, a music teacher for many years in Mankato, conducts the choir for the trip.

Students nominated will have the opportunity to attend an informational meeting at various locations throughout the summer. A meeting will be May 22 at Aitkin High School.

Chamber seeks musicians and sponsorships

CROSBY-The Cuyuna Chamber will begin its 13th year of coordinating its summer Music in the Park series. Music in the Park offers free live music June through August at Crosby Memorial Park.

The success of this event has only come about because of the partnership and cooperation among the sponsors and musicians, a news release stated. Sponsorships are necessary to be able to continue to provide Music in the Park for the community at no cost. Events are a way for businesses and organizations to gain exposure at minimal cost. Not only are sponsorships available, vendors may also participate through the "Park Avenue" program. For a small fee, vendors can rent space and market their product or service at an event that is typically attended by more than 450 people.

Musicians interested in performing should contact Shawn or Clark Hamdorf at A music sample, biography, photo and signed contract must be on file at the chamber by April 22.

For more information and to obtain a sponsorship form, contact Jessica Vukelich at or 218-546-8131.