Entertainment Briefs: Behind the Bluegrass with the Roe Family Singers at the Ripple Center in Aitkin

A round-up of upcoming entertainment events, such as concerts, plays, music in the park, author events in the Brainerd lakes area.

Words with "Entertainment Briefs"
Quillan and Kim Roe

AITKIN — Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the world of bluegrass music, you won’t want to miss the award-winning Roe Family Singers on stage Saturday, April 29, at the Ripple Center in Aitkin

The Roe Family Singers’ list of accomplishments include 2019 Entertainers of the Year, Best Band, and Best Band Overall, BMAI; 2018 Entertainers of the Year AND Album of the Year, BMAI; 2017 Jig-dance Competition Winner Old-Time Music & Ozark Heritage Festival, Kim Roe; 2016 Entertainers of the Year, BMAI; and 2012 MBOTMA Duet Competition Winners

Kim Roe grew up with music all around her. Her dad would play his guitar and she would sit at his feet singing along. As she grew, so did her love for music: first as a girl singing along with the radio into a hairbrush in front of her bedroom mirror, then as a teenager in choir, then as a young woman singing karaoke.

Quillan Roe is the descendant of Kentucky horse-thieves and a long line of Appalachian and Ozark fiddlers on his mother’s side; and an equally long line of evangelists, poets, and writers on his father’s side. He’s been playing in bands for nearly three decades, with his first professional band, Accident Clearinghouse, launching in 1992.

Kim and Quillan Roe were married in the Spring of 2003 and soon started a Bluegrass band together.


Tickets can be purchased at , and also available at Green Owl Gallery.

Upcoming events:

  • 7 p.m. April 29: Roe Family Singers with Ben Ranson opening
  • 7 p.m. May 12: Rock and Roll Revival, Mike & Jan Cherry
  • 7 p.m. May 20: JPACK folk rock
  • 7 p.m. May 27: Miles Nielson Classic Rock presented by Aitkin County Friends of the Arts
  • 7 p.m. June 3: Cassandra Cole Americana Pop
  • 7 p.m. June 10: Jim Lauderdale with Band Country presented by Aitkin County Friends of the Arts

Verse Like Water presents American poet Kevin Young

BRAINERD — Verse Like Water, the visiting poet program of Central Lakes College, presents American poet Kevin Young at noon on Friday, April 28, in the Chalberg Theatre, CLC Brainerd campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Kevin Young
Kevin Young

Young is one of the leading writers of his generation. He has written 13 books of prose and poetry, and is widely acknowledged as being one of the finest poets in the country. As a southerner, Young loves to write about food, family, friends, and how complex and challenging it is to be a black man in contemporary America. He is the poetry editor of New Yorker Magazine, and he is also the Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Sponsored by the Minnesota Legacy Fund, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and Minnesota Public Radio.

CLCPAC presents a brand-new Summer youth theater program 

BRAINERD — The Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center announced its upcoming two-week summer program, Spotlight Youth Theatre Camp, for students in grades 5-8 and 9-12. This program will be led by talented teachers in the Brainerd lakes area, including Amy Borash (director and choreographer), Kryston Wiseley (choral teacher at Forestview Middle School), and CLCPAC Director Joey Yow.


When asked about the camp, Yow stated that he believes that theater is an excellent way to build a student's skills in communication, collaboration, confidence, problem-solving, and other essential abilities.

“CLCPAC is dedicated to growing a community of performing arts practitioners and enthusiasts. With over 70 students attending our recent auditions for High School Musical Junior, there is clearly a significant demand for opportunities like Spotlight Youth Theatre Camp,” Yow said in a news release. “The best part is that the camp is open to students of all skill levels, and no prior experience or auditions are necessary. All that's required is a willingness to have fun and create fantastic memories.”

The camp is structured with a unique tuition model called Pay-What-You-Wish, which is designed to make the program more accessible to everyone. Suggested tuition options will be available when registering, or parents can contact the center directly and register their child at a price that suits their needs.

Spotlight is also meant to provide a complement to CLCPAC’s ongoing partnership with Play off the Page, a theater camp taught by Mary Aalgaard at Central Lakes College in late July/early August.

“We’re looking to diversify the opportunities available to the community for youth theatre experiences,” Yow said. “The summer is a busy season for everyone, but we hope by providing multiple classes throughout the summer, we’re providing options that can fit the schedules of anyone who wants to learn.”

Spotlight Youth Theatre Camp will be held at Central Lakes College-Brainerd Campus, 12:30-4 p.m. weekdays only, from June 20 through June 30. Play off the Page runs 10 a.m.-noon July 24-28 for students in grades 1-5 and July 31-August 4 for students in grades 6-9.

For more information or to register for Spotlight Youth Theatre Camp and Play off the Page, visit .

Struss celebrates release of debut memoir, ‘Start Here’ 


Emilee Mae Struss
Emilee Mae Struss

BRAINERD — Emilee Mae Struss, a 2011 graduate of Brainerd High School, returned to the area for the official release of her debut memoir, “Start Here: The Raw and Honest Journey of a Nomad in her Twenties.” The book is a narrative nonfiction work following the author through mental health challenges, heartbreak and loss, and discovering one's life purpose. Her story takes the reader to South Africa, Peru, Tanzania, and Greece as she travels internationally and seeks to learn about other cultures amidst learning about herself.

A book cover.
The cover of Emilee Mae Struss' memoir, “Start Here: The Raw and Honest Journey of a Nomad in her Twenties.”

Struss held book releases Friday at Dennis Drummond Wine Co. in Brainerd and Saturday at MN Traders Co. in Pequot Lakes.

Struss is native of north central Minnesota, and a creative writing graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato. She worked as the editor-in-chief of Lake Country Journal from 2019-2022 and currently is the managing editor of Rowland Publishing.

Both events are coordinated by Tangled Anchor. The book, published by RiverPlace Press of Aitkin, Minnesota, is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. For further information on Struss visit .

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

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