Entertainment Briefs - Dec. 3

Nagel publishes third book Pequot Lakes author Craig Nagel recently published his third book, "Fred's Way." A publication party for the book is planned from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at the Pequot Lakes Community Library, during which Nagel will read sho...

Craig Nagel
Craig Nagel

Nagel publishes third book

Pequot Lakes author Craig Nagel recently published his third book, "Fred's Way."

A publication party for the book is planned from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at the Pequot Lakes Community Library, during which Nagel will read short portions of the book, discuss the writing process, respond to questions from the audience and sign books for anyone who wants to buy one.

Admission is free.

Unlike his previous books, "A Place Called Home" and "A Sense of Wonder," which were collections of essays and stories from Nagel's Lake Country Echo/Echo Journal column "The Cracker Barrel," the new book is a work of fiction.


"Fred's Way" is a coming-of-age novel about a young man torn between going off to college to become an ordained Lutheran pastor or staying home in Chicago to marry his high school sweetheart. It resonates with the agony of someone trying desperately—and often comically—to find his role in a society that refuses to fit his innocent expectations.

The central character, Fred Hansen, is at root a mystic, alive to the wonder and glory of life. Like a latter-day Don Quixote, he's never quite in sync with what others call reality, including the scientific world view of his pre-med roommate, Jimbo; the commonsense practicality of his girlfriend, Patsy; the argumentative mindset of Catherine Coyle, an attractive classmate with whom he gets entangled; or the spontaneous (and somewhat improvident) habits of Corning, a red-haired art major who lives down the hall.

"Fred's Way" recaptures the torrent of changes sweeping through America at the start of the 1960s and gently explores the heartaches and triumphs we all encounter in the process of trying to find our place in the world.

The book can be purchased at local bookstores, directly from the author or online from Amazon or Authorhouse. Samples of all of Nagel's books are available at


Just For Kix annual holiday show set

Just For Kix will present its annual holiday show Saturday at the Brainerd High School gymnasium.

Shows are at 1:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.


JFK welcomes the Warrior Dance Team, the Kixters, as their special honored guests. A large portion of show proceeds is annually donated by JFK to the dance team. Typically $6,000 per year is donated to the team. Warrior Dance Team parents volunteer to do tickets, work backstage and try to keep the costs down so the proceeds can go to the team.

There are currently 471 dancers in JFK locally and 202 doing special extra six-week sessions.

Tickets at the door are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Children in preschool and under are free.

Featured in each show will be a father daughter routine. They will be different in every show. Pre-school and their dads will do an "Ice Fishing Medley" at show one. "Daddy Looks A Lot like Santa" will be at the 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. shows. Adult women will be performing to "Let's Be Bad" from the TV Show "SMASH" at all three shows. Adult men, the 371 Steppers, will perform to an "Ice Mix." There will be a lyrical and a jazz production at all three shows.

The Kixters will do their traditional "Rockette Jingle Bells" routine as well as their competition routine "L.O.V.E." Every show will have all styles and age levels including hip hop, jazz, lyrical, and kick. Tap will be at only during show one as the tap floor will be laid for the show.

Doors open 45 minutes prior to the show.


Aitkin to present holiday concert


AITKIN - The Aitkin High School's seventh and eighth grade choirs and bands will present their holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the high school auditorium.

The concert is directed by Kelly Blake, choir director, and Chris Halvorson, the band director. Piano accompanist for the choirs is Becky Klingelhofer.

The concert will begin with the seventh and eighth grade girls choir. They will sing "Carillon For Christmas" with the "Fists of Fury" Handbell Choir, "A Cold and Fugue Season" with music by J.S. Bach, "My Favorite Things" from the musical, "The Sound of Music" and "Slow Dancing in the Snow" with choreography by Shannon Forster, Hannah Paulbeck, Noelle Hagen and Kylie Tveit.

Next will be the seventh and eighth grade boys choir with the song "Sing With Jubilation" accompanied by Sam Sadlowsky, who is also a member of the choir. Then they will sing the popular Christmas song, "Silver Bells" followed with "Scrooge, Scrooge, Scrooge" with Joe Cummings and Sadlowsky singing solos. Their final selection is a popular Christmas song from the 1950's called "I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas."

While the seventh grade band sets up, the seventh and eighth grade choirs will help lead the audience singing Christmas carols with Klingelhofer accompanying at the piano.

The seventh grade band will be performing "Farandole," "Trash Cancerto," "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Angels We Have Heard On High." The eighth grade band will be performing "Captain America March," "The Lord Of The Dance," "Christmas Isn't Christmas Without A Little Rock and Roll," "Silent Night" and "Sleighride."

The concert is free and the community is invited. Freewill donations for auditorium upgrades are always accepted.


Wildlife photographer presents work Dec. 10

Wildlife photographer and Central Lakes College sociology instructor Gary Payne will present a collection of his favorite hummingbird images from several South American and Caribbean nations from 7-8:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd.

Payne gathered these images by visiting 30 nations, including six trips into the Amazon rain forests, as he studied their cultures and environments for his classes. The images will come from Suriname, Guyana and the islands of Grenada, Dominica and St. Kitts, as well as some captured locally.

In the 1990s, Payne made two documentaries on Minnesota forest issues that aired on PBS stations. One of the documentaries "Heritage for Sale" was funded by Sierra Club, which named him Minnesota Environmentalist of the Year in 1989. A few samples of his photographs are already on display and for sale at the arboretum's gift store.

Tickets are $5 for arboretum members, $10 for non-members and free for CLC students with college identification. Payne will have a display of photographs for purchase. Ticket receipts will go to support the Arboretum.


A Consensus Christmas concert set

Consensus, a Brainerd area choral a cappella group, will perform its annual Christmas concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at First Lutheran Church in Aitkin, and at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.

The nine-member group has been performing together for four years and enjoys singing choral music of all different styles and genres. Members of Consensus ensemble are Lawrence Chamberlain, Sonya Chamberlain, Grace Forbord, David Pelowski, Jennifer Pelowski, Daniel Rohr, Virginia Rohr, Brian Stubbs and Jennifer Stubbs.


Community Christmas Concert features Handel's 'Messiah'

STAPLES - The Community Christmas Concert will be 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 in the Staples Motley High School main gymnasium.

Organizers said even though posters and tickets will state the concert location as the Centennial Auditorium, the concert has been moved to the high school gymnasium to add more seating.

Ticket sales are available at , chorus members or Nelson Insurance Agency in Staples.

Performing at the concert are the Staples Motley Community Brass Ensemble, Staples Area Men's Chorus, Staples Area Women's Chorus, Colla Voce Girl's Choir, Central Minnesota Boy's Choir, Staples Motley High School A Cappella Choir and the Staples Motley High School Chamber Orchestra.

Every other year at the Community Christmas Concert, a major work is selected to be performed and this year's concert will feature Handel's Messiah in the second half of the concert. George Frideric Handel composed the Messiah in 1741 based on compilations from the King James Bible and from the Psalms found in the Book of Common Prayer. While his Messiah is most popularly known for the Hallelujah chorus, the Messiah actually is in three parts with Part 1 featuring prophecies and the annunciation to the shepherds (this part is often referred to as the "Christmas portion" or the birth of Christ). Part 2 focuses on the Passion (the death of Christ) and traditionally concludes with the Hallelujah chorus. The third and final part of his oratorio is on Christ's resurrection and promise of glory in heaven. Unlike many of the major works, the Messiah was written in English.

Hundreds of pages of music are being studied and perfected by both singers and orchestra members. According to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in "5 Things You May Not Know

About Handel's Messiah:" The original work was written in 3-4 weeks. Based on the 259-page score and an estimate of a quarter of a million notes, Handel would have had to write 15 notes per minute at a continuous pace for 10 hours per day.


Empty Bowls supports the Pequot Lakes Food Shelf

PEQUOT LAKES - The Pequot Lakes Middle Level Art students and their families have been working with clay at an Empty Bowls activity at school during November. The students and their

families have used clay to create bowls to sell to raise money for the Lakes Area Food Shelf in Pequot Lakes. To purchase a bowl and support this fundraiser for the Food Shelf stop in at Lakes Latte, at their new location on Government Drive.

The Empty Bowls will be available for purchase from Dec. 14-20. People pick out their own bowl from the selection of bowls created by the art students and their families. Bowls are $5 and all of the proceeds from the purchase of the bowl go to the Lakes Area Food Shelf.

More information on this community event can be obtained from Molly Wiste, middle level art teacher in Pequot Lakes at or 218-568-9328.


Brainerd Community Theatre auditions

Auditions for the Brainerd Community Theatre production of "Relatively Speaking" will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 14-15 in the Dryden Theatre on the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College.

"Relatively Speaking" is a British comedy written by Alan Ayckbourn. It tells the tale of Ginny and Greg, an in-love young couple intending to get engaged. When Ginny leaves for the weekend to supposedly visit her parents, whom Greg has never met, he decides to surprise her by following her and asking for her hand in marriage from her parents. Where Ginny is really going is to the home of the older, married man with whom she's been having an affair in order to break it off. When Greg arrives, what happens next is a wild comedy of misunderstanding.

The cast calls for two couples, one in the age range of 20-something and the other in the range of 40-50-something. Auditions will consist of readings from the script. Director Erik Steen asks those who audition to bring a British dialect, if they have one.

The production will perform for two weekends beginning Feb. 25, 2016. Rehearsals are typically weeknights between the hours of 6-10 p.m.

For more information, contact Patrick Spradlin, theater director at or 218-855-8255.


First 'Downton Abbey' to be screened

Lakeland Public Television is hosting a public screening of the first hour of the new season of "Downton Abbey" before it airs on U.S. television.

The screening will be Dec. 15 in the Chalberg Theater at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. People may come to the screening in period costume.

Tickets are free, but seating is limited. Lakeland asks people to RSVP by calling 218-751-3407.


Auditions for Pequot Lakes Community Theater Production set

The 2016 winter production for the Pequot Lakes Community Theater is "Cheaper by the Dozen." Based on a true story, "Cheaper by the Dozen" tells the story of the Gilbreth family. Their inventor father, who is well known for bringing efficiency to factories, keeps his family of 12 children running just as efficiently. The play is told from the point of view of two of the children, reflecting on the last few months before the death of their father. He was preparing the family for his imminent departure, but most of his children, like most of the audience, were unaware of the fact. It is an extremely funny, heart-warming family friendly tale. The tragic catharsis of the father's death is beautiful to the adults in the audience, who can understand the euphemisms.

Directed by Kate Davis, the show will be Feb. 19-21 and 26-28 at the Pequot Lakes High School Theater. Actors must be present for all performances. Rehearsals begin Jan. 4 at the high school theater and will be held from 6-9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Auditions will be 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14-15 at the Pequot Lakes High School Theater. Arrive early to fill out an audition information form. All roles in the production are open for casting. The cast of this show is an ensemble of 15 characters. Actors age 8 and older are encouraged to audition. Actors age 8 to 14 will need to be accompanied at the audition by an adult who is also those interested in being involved with the show either on stage or off stage. During the audition, actors will be asked to perform a prepared poem or short monologue and to read from the script. Those who would like to volunteer to help "behind the scenes" can sign up at auditions.

Roles in the production are:

Mr. Gilbreth/Dad late 40-50s; Mrs. Gilbreth/Mother, late 40-50s; Anne, oldest child about 17; Frank, about 16/also is the co-narrator; Ernestine, about age 15 and co-narrator; Marth, about age 14; Bill, Lillian, Fred, Dan, Jackie, the younger children, age varied from one to 13; Mrs. Fitzgerald, the housekeeper, age 20 to 60; Dr. Burton, the family doctor, age 40 to 60; Joe Scales, a cheerleader, about age 17; Larry, Anne's special friend, about age 17; and Miss Brill, a teacher about age 35 to 50.

Contact the Pequot Lakes Community Education office for more information about auditions, being a volunteer, the performances and tickets for the show. The Pequot Lakes Community Theater production of "Cheaper by the Dozen" is sponsored by Essentia Health. In addition to the Essentia Health sponsor support, 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.


St. Francis presents 'Sweet Holiday Suites'

LITTLE FALLS - St. Francis Music Center presents the St. Francis Preparatory and Concert Orchestras in a Christmas concert, "Sweet Holiday Suites," at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 in Sacred Heart Chapel at the St. Francis Convent in Little Falls.

In music a suite is a collection of several short pieces. This concert will present several "sweet" holiday suites featuring string students of all ages, along with community members and other special guests.

The Preparatory Orchestra will present "O Come Little Children," "First Christmas March" and "Jingle Bells." Vera Miller will be the featured soloist in Rocking Carol; and the pianist for the orchestra, Cindy Lochner, will be featured in Jazz Suite.

The St. Francis Concert Orchestra will present several Christmas favorites including "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "Andante Festivo" by Sibelius and "Suite Petite Winter Suite."

Coventry Carol will feature soloists Nina Quillo and Brianna Wuebkers; and Fantasia on Greensleeves will highlight soloists Kalli Sobania and Hannah Miller. Faculty members and members of the Heartland Symphony Orchestra will join in.

Directing both groups will be Bobbi French, director of the strings department and instructor at St. Francis Music Center.

The public is invited to attend this free concert and free-will donations will be accepted. The String Orchestras are supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board, US Bank, Pine Country Bank, private donations and the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls.

For more information, visit or call the center at 320-632-0637.


New York Mills planning several events

NEW YORK MILLS - The Cultural Center in New York Mills is hosting several upcoming events.

The annual winter fundraiser will be held from 6-9 p.m. today, Dec. 3 during the NYM Christmas Tree Festival at the NYM City Hall Ballroom.

Several events will be highlighted at the fundraiser and include:

• Re-Imagine Christmas will also be a part of his annual event with an upcycled accessories sale from what biber artists have created with donated jewelry, glassware and more.

• Kicking off new "Pairings" series of classes where participants can "Let Your Creativity Flow." These classes will provide the opportunity to create different types of artwork. This first class offering during the winter fundraiser is "Center of Attention," where people can create their own winter centerpiece with local florist Tessa Braukmann, owner of Designs by Tes, for $37. There will be two sessions - 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. - of 10 students each. Participants are asked to supply their own pruning clippers and/or gardening shears.

Pre-registration is encouraged by calling 218-385-3339.

• Wine and beer tasting sponsored by Mills Liquors and refreshments provided by Cultural Center board and staff.

A Woodturners' Gallery reception and demonstration will be hosted from 6-8 p.m. Friday in the main floor gallery through Dec. 31. The reception will also feature live demonstrations from Don Wattenhofer, creating a thin-walled goblet, and Dan Modrow, creating a salt shaker.

From burr bowls to Kransekake trees, this show featured one-of-a-kind locally made holiday gifts from local woodturning artists.

Admission to the gallery and reception is free and open to all.

There will be two free teen writing workshops from 6-7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16 at the center. The workshops are with Artist-in-Residence Jennifer Groff.

These workshops are open to teens ages 12-18.

For more information go to or call the center at 218-385-3339.


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