Entertainment briefs - Jan. 31

? Author visiting Riverside School Author Debra Frasier, a Minnesota children's author-illustrator well known for weaving together academic material and heartfelt stories, will make an appearance Tuesday at Riverside Elementary School in Brainerd...

■ Author visiting Riverside School

Author Debra Frasier, a Minnesota children’s author-illustrator well known for weaving together academic material and heartfelt stories, will make an appearance Tuesday at Riverside Elementary School in Brainerd.

Frasier’s events are known for building vocabulary, creativity and community. She has received many awards for her books “On the Day You Were Born” and “Miss Alaineus, A Vocabulary Disaster.”

Frasier will share her skills and talents with Riverside students, staff and families, with the help of a $2,000 grant from Target. As a part of I Love to Read Month, Frasier will begin her day at Riverside presenting to students, meeting with staff and ending the day with a parent/child event at Forestview Middle School with an art lesson in hand-cut illustrations for Riverside families.

■ ’The diva of the Dakotas’ to perform in New York Mills


NEW YORK MILLS - Andra Suchy and her husband Andrew will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.

Tickets are available by calling the center at 218-385-3339. Admission is $12 advance reservation and $15 the night of the concert. Student admission is $5.

As a frequent guest on A Prairie Home Companion, Andra Suchy has made a name for herself singing with such performers as Brad Paisley and Emmylou Harris.

Raised on a beef and wheat farm in North Dakota by folk musicians, Suchy began touring and performing at festivals at a young age. Classically trained and a veteran of musical theater, the guitar-playing singer moved to Minneapolis in 1996, where she has gone on to make a name for herself as one of the finest vocalists around.

Suchy’s boot kickin’ style and soulful voice are in full force on her Red House Records debut Little Heart, a mix of infectious melodies and twang-tinged country, rock, pop, folk and blues.

Named after the river that runs near her hometown of Mandan, N.D., Little Heart is music straight from America’s heartland. Her prairie country-tune “Little Heart” and her father’s song “Georgianna” are standouts alongside her bluesy/soulful rendition of Neil Young’s “Helpless” and the album’s energetic closer “Come On In.”

■ Lamplighter Theatre auditions
for ‘Sandbag, Stage Left’

STAPLES - Lamplighter Community Theatre will hold auditions from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday for a spring production of “Sandbag, Stage Left (or, One Dead Dolly,” an interactive parody of courtroom dramas, by John Anthony.


Auditions will be at Trinity Lutheran Church in Staples.

Fifteen people ages 16-80 years old will be cast. Large and small parts are available, some with minimal rehearsal commitment.

Performances for this dinner theater are April 11-13 at the Town’s Edge Restaurant in Staples.

Other people are needed for the production. The areas include assistant director/stage manager; set construction; promotion like distributing posters and making table tents; coordinating ticket sales; and ushering. Those interested in any of these volunteer opportunities are welcome to attend auditions.

Anyone interested who cannot make the audition times can call director Dave Vieths at 218-851-3290 or email him at to set an alternate time. For other information call Amy at 218-894-1925.

■ WDA one-act play takes first

WADENA - The Wadena-Deer Creek (WDC) one-act play took first place Saturday at the subsection 22 competition held in the Wadena Memorial Auditorium.

Seven schools competed, with the top two schools advancing to the sectional contest scheduled Saturday in Park Rapids. Eagle Valley Schools took second place with “Stone Soup.”


The one-act play will be performed for the public at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31 in the Wadena Memorial Auditorium. Admission is free.

Students involved in this production are: AJ Tollefson, Isaac Berger, Marie Hunt, Samantha Kirkland, Katelyn Windels, Henry Arrigoni, Michael Small, Adam Leverson, David Wegscheid, Hope Dumpprope, Alyssa Gilster, Beth Schmitz, Anissa Mench, Taylor Dirks, Aaron Beck, Jordan Geiser, Logan Schmitz, Hope Norenberg, Jodana Albers and Beverly Fank.

The one-act play is written and directed by Jay Patterson, WDC English teacher/theater adviser.

BHS grad to perform in St. Cloud production

ST. CLOUD - Brainerd High School 2002 graduate Drew Lester is making his mark with the St. Paul Ballet. He will be dancing in “Elevate,” at 2 p.m. Sunday at the St. Cloud Paramount.

■ CLC alumna to present Peru program

Heidi Purdy, a Central Lakes College (CLC) graduate, will present “Peru: The Inca Trail” at noon Feb. 7 in Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus. The 50-minute program is part of the Cultural Thursday series that is free and open to the public.

Purdy’s illustrated talk will review a recent independent study trip Oct. 22-Nov. 6, 2012 sponsored by Augsburg College. Purdy has the Latin American Studies certificate from CLC.


Purdy describes her time in Peru as “immersion into the culture, food, and history of a variety of regions.” She said she speaks “broken” Spanish - enough to talk with people in bus stations, airports and restaurants. In the larger cities, many knew English, which Purdy said was helpful.”

“But in the rural areas it was Quechua and some Spanish,” she said, “although there was a guide to help us out if needed ... Except in the family stays. There we were on our own.”

After flying to Cusco, Purdy spent several days exploring important Incan historical sites as well as the local market and life with host families.

“We hiked 50 miles in five days through the Salkantay Mountains, ending at Maccu Picchu,” she said. “We traveled through snow, rain, mud and the cloud forest. We slept entirely in tents.”

Lengthy bus rides transported Purdy to Incan and pre-Incan historical sites as well as the city of Puno, where she explored three islands on Late Titicaca, which has significant importance for its geography, the culture and economy.

She stayed overnight with a family on Amantani Island, delighted to witness a stove made of mud. Dressed in local garments, the Americans hiked up to a temple and Taquile Island.

“In Puno we ate with locals for 93 cents per meal, went to the street market and saw the special Day of the Dead market and altars,” she said.

She said knowledge of Spanish language was a must during a seven-hour bus ride through a variety of cities with vendors aboard. She said, “In Arequipa, I was fortunate enough to see the incredible Incan princess mummy, Juanita. Also we toured through the Basilica Cathedral de Arequipa, walked around town and the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa.


“We took another local bus from Arequipa to Nazca, an 11-hour ride. In Nazca, we learned about the Nazca people, flew over the Nazca lines, and saw Nazca mummies, which are over 2,000 years old. We then took a bus from Nazca to Lima. In Lima, we stayed with a family that took us around the city and did some exploring on our own.”

Having obtained her associate in arts degree from CLC in 2010, Purdy plans to obtain her Practical Nursing licensure through studies at the college in Brainerd and pursue a Registered Nursing degree. She intends to put her bilingual abilities to use as a nurse in Latin America.

■ Monroe Crossing coming to Pequot

PEQUOT LAKES - The Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts (GLAPA) presents two back to back musical opportunities scheduled Feb. 9.

Monroe Crossing is leading a one hour workshop on “The History of Bluegrass” from 4-5 p.m. in the Pequot Lakes High School choir room. Then at 7:30 p.m. the concert portion of the two presentations will be held in the Pequot Lakes High School Theater. Participants can attend both programs for the price of the concert ticket.

Tickets for this family-style entertainment are on sale now through the Pequot Lakes Community Education office by calling 218-568-9200. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors age 60 and over and $8 for youth. More information can be found at .

Known as the “Midwest’s Premier Bluegrass and Gospel Quintet” Monroe Crossing routinely performs to sellout audiences. They are known both for their stage show and for the warmth they share on and off stage, interacting with the audience and always honoring requests after the intermission.

Named in honor of Bill Monroe, “the Father of Bluegrass,” Monroe Crossing also recently released a tribute CD, Monroe Crossing “Plays the Songs of Bill Monroe.” The CD features 15 classic bluegrass songs made famous by the “Big Mon” himself.


This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota State Arts Board through the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008.

■ MidWinter Dinner scheduled

AITKIN - The Aitkin County Friends of the Arts will present its MidWinter Dinner on Feb. 23, with Music of the Beatles, performed by John Koziol & Friends.

Social hour begins at 5:45 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and entertainment at 7:15 p.m.

Tickets are $39 and are available at the Aitkin Independent Age.

I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with numerous job titles since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently as Digital Editor. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work these 30+ years. I was present and worked on the our web page when our original website first went live on April 26, 1994.
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