Entertainment Briefs - Dec. 15

Supper Club Night planned in Aitkin AITKIN--The Forty Club Banquet Center in Aitkin will host Supper Club Night, which will include a five-course fine dining meal, dancing and live entertainment on Jan. 28, 2017. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with din...

Harper’s Chord members Micah Barrett, Evin Haukos, Jill Moore and Roger Fink will perform their fifth annual Christmas concert and holiday party at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Great River Arts in Little Falls. Submitted
Harper’s Chord members Micah Barrett, Evin Haukos, Jill Moore and Roger Fink will perform their fifth annual Christmas concert and holiday party at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Great River Arts in Little Falls. Submitted

Supper Club Night planned in Aitkin

AITKIN-The Forty Club Banquet Center in Aitkin will host Supper Club Night, which will include a five-course fine dining meal, dancing and live entertainment on Jan. 28, 2017.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. and the show at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $50 per person or $100 per couple and includes one bottle of wine. Tickets by calling 218-927-2903.

"Bach to the Future" is the title of the event and will feature music by Great River Strings.

LAMF receives grant


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

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA's first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017.

LAMF is a Brainerd-based organization starting its ninth annual festival season July 30 through Aug. 20, 2017. The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

"The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as the Lakes Area Music

Festival, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts," Chu stated in a news release. "Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer."

Of the award, LAMF Artistic and Executive Director Scott Lykins stated, "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. It is an honor to be judged alongside leading ensembles nationwide and to receive credit not only for 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 this organization is a testament to, and a celebration of, the combined dedication of so many individuals which will make our ninth annual season this summer a success."

The music festival was established during the summer of 2009 when Lykins returned to his hometown of Brainerd, with four colleagues from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. To create an outlet for their musical gifts, these musicians staged six free concerts and enlisted three members of the Minnesota and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras to participate. Each concert drew successively larger audiences and-based on the community's demonstrated desire for musical enrichment-the scope of the festival each year.

Today, the festival brings more than 130 musicians from around the country for three weeks


of classical music performance in the Brainerd lakes area, including chamber music, symphonic orchestra, opera and ballet. The collaborative roster includes talent from ensembles and conservatories such as the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New World Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Opera, Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Curtis Institute, and more. With thousands in attendance each season, LAMF has become one of the most significant summertime destinations for classical music in the Midwest, the news release stated.

Visit for more information about the festival.

Donna Salli to sign books

BAXTER-Fiction writer, poet, essayist and playwright Donna Salli will sign books from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Book World in Baxter.

Salli is the author of the recently released novel "A Notion of Pelicans" published by North Star Press.

"A Notion of Pelicans" is set on the rocky North Shore of Lake Superior. The novel opens with a mysterious appearance by a flock of pelicans, a puzzling encounter that leads Lavinia Hoope Hansen to spearhead the founding of Pelican Church. A 100 years later, the church still draws people with its legend that one of Lavinia's pelicans is still circling overhead, watching. The novel recounts the events of a day in October, as narrated from the perspectives of four variously quirky women-the pastor's wife, a young actress, a college sociology professor and a businesswoman. The women don't see the world the same, but they are all struggling to live with integrity. As they share the stories of their lives, disclosing problems, exposing secrets, it's apparent they know themselves, one another and their loved ones imperfectly. They're in search of something missing in their lives, something intangible and unique to each. Whether they'll know it when they see it is unclear. The action of the novel is driven by two questions: will the women find a way to calm the restlessness in all their lives and what role will the pelican of Pelican Church play?

W. Scott Olsen, Salli's former colleague at Concordia and editor of "Ascent Magazine," stated in a news release: "In the very best way, Donna Salli's 'A Notion of Pelicans' is a book to settle into. There is a storm on the way, but from the beautiful opening scene then into the voices of compelling, complicated and strong women connected to the Pelican Church, this book unfolds elegantly into the depths of marriage, family, history, secrets, violence and love. Every page is a joy to read."

Salli was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan along the shores of Lake Superior. Much of her writing focuses on her experience having grown up there. Over the course of her education, she lived in Wausau and Madison, Wisconsin; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Boston and Amherst, Mass. She taught English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she earned a master's of fine arts in the creative writing of poetry; at Concordia College and at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. She retired last May from teaching.


Salli's poems and essays have appeared in literary journals, magazines, newspapers and anthologies. In 2000, she received a Mentor Series Award in poetry from the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, and versions of her play "The Rock Farm" have been performed in translation in Finland and in Finnish/English productions in Michigan and Minnesota. In 2012, "The Rock Farm" received a staged reading and panel critique as part of PlayLab at the Great Plains Theatre Conference.

Harper's Chord Classic Christmas concert set

LITTLE FALLS-Harper's Chord will take the stage for their fifth annual Christmas concert and holiday party at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Great River Arts in Little Falls.

This show is a part of the 14 Fridays performing arts series. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $18, which includes an appetizer buffet during the seating period prior to the show.

Harper's Chord Classic Christmas will feature a depth of musical talent and the harmonies of Roger Fink, Jill Moore, Micah Barrett and Evin Haukos. The four-piece band has become one of Central Minnesota's favorites and this year's holiday show will feature Christmas classics. The group's country/folk/Americana sound brings a certain freshness to the stage that is comparable to Little Big Town, Allison Krauss and Crosby, Stills and Nash, organizers stated in an email release.

Harper's Chord will debut the newest band member Evin Haukos on fiddle, mandolin and guitar.

As an added bonus, Harper's Chord invited local musicians Bruce Pederson, Karla Jensen and Camilla Larson to open the night with a few of their Christmas favorites.

For tickets go online at or call 320-632-0960.


Baxter student named to University Ensemble

Erika House of Baxter was named to the Bob Jones University's University Handbell Choir Ensemble.

House is sophomore majoring in Biblical counseling.

The ensemble performed during the annual homecoming activities this past October and presented their Christmas concert in December. In March, select members of the ensemble will present a spring recital featuring a variety of celtic music.

The BJU handbell program began in 1989 with three octaves of handbells and 11 recruited students. The group has since grown to two choirs ringing with six octaves of bells and five and a half octaves of handchimes, with both choirs having between 12-15 ringers. The ensemble performs in a variety of settings including student body programs, recitals and in concerts throughout the Midwest and eastern United States.

Cultural Center hosts Winter Solstice event

NEW YORK MILLS-The Cultural Center in New York Mills will present its annual Longest Night Musical Festival at 7 p.m. Wednesday, in celebration of the Winter Solstice.

Featuring music by several local and regional musicians, the festival will appeal to a wide array of music-lovers. Included this year are Day Gun, a small group from the Fargo-Moorhead Gay Men's Chorus, Eddie Lee Kidd, Ben Ranson, Dave Virnala and more.


Gun is the latest musical incarnation by Michael Dagen, who has performed in a number of groups over the years including Dorthy Fix, Shastatown, Stene Racing and the Handsome Terrorists. Comprised of a rotating band of friends and family, Gun plans to record an album titled, "Loves," over the winter, with hopes of releasing the songs to the public by spring 2017.

Raised in the mountains of Montana, Kidd's song writing creates colors of music that is constantly changing. A pro stage drummer and vocalist at age 12, he realized a vision of art drawn by rhythms and vocal melody. These talents developed into songwriting in 1993 and Kidd has since written songs in almost every genre of music.

A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Ranson is a singer-songwriter who infuses humor into much of his work. Playing the guitar, bass and other string instruments, Ranson's repertoire draws from many genres including jazz, folk, country, and rock and roll. Working with Blind Joe, the duo performed as the opening act for Leon Russell.

Virnala is a frequent performer at the center's monthly Open Mic nights. He began playing guitar at the age of 8 and has performed with Amanda Standalone and Spider John Koerner. Virnala's influences include John Prine and Guy Clark.

The Fargo-Moorhead Gay Men's Chorus sings a wide variety of classical and popular music with excellence and builds bridges to all people by providing a positive, affirming image of the gay and lesbian community, organizers stated in a news release. The chorus' purpose is to use music to change the general public's image and attitudes toward the gay community, to provide high quality choral performances and to make the world a better place.

The Longest Night concert is free to attend and open to all. Drinks and refreshments will be available. KLN Family Brands is sponsoring this event.

For more information visit the center's website at or call 218-385-3339.


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