Entertainment Briefs — Aug. 12

A roundup of area concerts, shows, book and visual art events in the Brainerd lakes area.

Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service

Bay Lake gallery features essential workers

AITKIN — Everyday life stories are the focus of narrative paintings by Duluth artist Carolyn S. Olson. Her work executed in pastel, oil or gouache, will be featured beginning Aug. 19 at Ripple River Gallery near Aitkin. The exhibit, which includes paintings from two series, “Swedish Princess Cake” and “Essential Workers Portrait,” continues through Sept. 13.

Kneading Marzipan
“Kneading Marzipan" is part of the Swedish Princess Cake series created by Carolyn S. Olson. Olson's work will be on display from Aug. 19 to Sept. 13 at Ripple River Gallery near Aitkin. Submitted Photo

Through her paintings, Olson, who recently retired after more than 30 years as an art teacher, tells the stories of her community and family. As a personal challenge, Olson set about illustrating the process of making a Swedish Princess Cake. Five cakes and 40-plus gouache paintings later, she produced an illustrated recipe book/exhibition catalog.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit.


Anxiety fueled Olson’s desire to capture the stories she was hearing from family and friends. Inspired by conversations with her two children — one a grocery store cashier, the other a middle school music teacher — in March Olson began telling the stories of essential workers. Her “Essential Workers Portrait” series began with a grocery store scene with masked workers and customers. That first pastel, which shows Olson’s characteristic style of intentionally exaggerated figures and emotive gestures, was purchased by the Minnesota Historical Society as part of its efforts to document this moment in American life, a news release stated.

The grocery workers
“The Grocery Workers Cashier and Bagger - Essential Workers Portrait 1” was purchased by the Minnesota Historical Society. Four new Essential Workers Portraits will be released at the artist's exhibit at Ripple River Gallery near Aitkin. Submitted Photo

Farm workers wear masks while picking vegetables. A janitor pushes a cart of cleaning supplies at a hospital. Greenhouse workers tend seedlings. Bus drivers, pharmacy workers, mail carriers, hospital workers, truck drivers, sanitation workers, child care providers, election judges and more. Olson has now completed over 40 portraits. She intends to continue the series until there is a vaccine.

“The intention of the series is to draw attention to the dangerous conditions essential workers are asked to work under,” Olson stated. Four new portraits will be released in conjunction with her show at the gallery.

“I’m a narrative painter, so I’ve always just told stories about my community and family. It’s a way of talking about what’s going on, but also trying to shape what I think should be going on … I just started documenting what I thought made for a good society.”

Olson hopes her paintings instill hope.

“There’s hope in all of them,” she stated. “What’s gonna be our new normal? How are we going to take care of each other? How do we recreate society in a way that takes care of everyone? We’ve got to come out of this better than we went in.”


Ripple River Gallery is open with health and safety measures in place; masks required.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

For more information call 218-678-2575 or e-mail

Michael Hoover to perform in Gregory Park

Michael Hoover will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, in the Gregory Park Bandstand.

Hoover has been playing music since 1960. He played all through high school with a band named the Charades, followed by a few local bands. Hoover then went to Texas to play full time with Sam Gibbs with various groups: The Misfits, The Mo Jo’s, and Gary & the Impacs. After that he ended up in Billings, Montana, with a group called Justus, for what started out as a three week job and ended up lasting 20 years, a news release stated. Additional bands Hoover played with in Montana were Short Change, Neal & the Nicetones, Beaver Creek Ridge and Savannah. In 1991, Hoover moved back to Iowa with Kaye and started a group called Software. They had a 17-year run. In 2009 he was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Music Association Hall of Fame with the Charades. Now he is doing a single act, playing material from most of the bands he has played in over the years.


Hoover is bringing his solo act to Gregory Park where people will enjoy his range of music material from Patsy Cline to Nickleback.

People who attend may bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the music in the park.

Due to COVID-19 there is not a rainout site. In the case of rain, the concert will be canceled.

Concerts are a collaboration between the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department and The

Center. Sponsorship of this summer’s concert series is in honor and memory of Helen K. Mills, who used to skate around Gregory Park.

Olivia Munson
St. Francis Music Center in Little Falls welcomes Olivia Munson, its new string teacher. Submitted Photo

New string teacher at St. Francis Music Center

LITTLE FALLS — St. Francis Music Center in Little Falls welcomes Olivia Munson, its new string teacher.


Munson recently completed her bachelor’s of music degree in violin performance from St. Olaf College. Originally from Upstate New York, she began playing violin at age 5. Munson has toured nationally and internationally as a first violinist with the award winning St. Olaf Orchestra for the past four years. She is a founding member of Blue Chameleon, a string quartet exploring a combination of classical, jazz and bluegrass music. Recipient of the Magnus the Good fellowship, Munson taught children about the environment through music and released a children’s album “Blue Orb: A Journey Through the Water Cycle.” She was a camp counselor for children in grades three through 12 in musical and non-musical settings. As a classically trained violinist, her teachers included Francesca Anderegg, Kevin Lawrence and Colleen McCullough. She has also attended Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vt., and the National Music Festival in Chestertown, Maryland. In addition to teaching violin, she teaches voice. She studied voice for four years with Anna Mooy and participated in the St. Olaf Chamber Singers with Therees Hibbard. She hopes to continue to make music accessible to students of all ages and is excited to do that through St. Francis Music Center, a news release stated. Munson will be available to teach in person and online violin and viola to all levels of students beginning Sept. 8. She will also conduct the St. Francis Community Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and ensembles. Melissa VonItter will conduct the Preparatory Orchestra.

For more information, contact the music center at 320-632-0637 or visit the website at .

St. Francis Music Center opens for fall lessons

LITTLE FALLS — St. Francis Music Center in Little Falls will open its doors for in-person lessons beginning Sept. 8. Due to the coronavirus, the music center will reopen in phases.

The center will first welcome back piano, all strings, guitar, bass guitar and percussion students for on-site lessons. These lessons will all be available online as well.

All band instruments will be taught online only. Winds, brass and voice will be offered in person at a later date, depending on the containment of the virus.

Orchestra, percussion ensembles, URock, dance and gymnastics will all begin in September.

The chorale groups and brass ensemble will start at a later date. Dance and gymnastics classes will also be offered. More information on these classes will be available soon.

The center will follow all Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Safety protocols are listed on the website at .


Online registration will open at 8 a.m. Aug. 24 on the music center website.

While not all faculty will teach in person, all faculty will be available to teach online. When registering, families will be able to choose in-person or online lessons.

St. Francis Music Center is a community school for the arts located on the campus of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls. The music school is open to all and offers a wide variety of lessons and programs. Financial aid is available.

For more information call St. Francis Music Center at 320-632-0637. To register for lessons and classes visit the website at .

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