Entertainment Briefs - July 12

Bandstand features gospel bluegrass Churchyard, a gospel group that adds a bluegrass flavor to its music, will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 12, in the Gregory Park bandstand in Brainerd. Formed in the late fall of 2003 to expand the music min...

A piano recital May 20 at Trinity Lutheran Church. Students are Caydence Wentzel (front, left), Emma Boesen, Beckett Svir, Isaac Boesen, Axton Svir, Gabby Wentzel, Donika Hebert, Kristy Moore (second row, left), Nicholas Moore, Abby Bjorlo, Meghan Hamilton, Mackenzie Gropper, Ella Fleener, Arabelle Boesen, Mary Moore (third row, left), Deanna Root, Bethany Bjorlo, Dana Fleener, Azriele Mattson, KC Moore (fourth row. left), Sue Kavanaugh, Emily Chen, Jaimie Wallace and Gunnar Niemeyer.Submitted photo
A piano recital May 20 at Trinity Lutheran Church. Students are Caydence Wentzel (front, left), Emma Boesen, Beckett Svir, Isaac Boesen, Axton Svir, Gabby Wentzel, Donika Hebert, Kristy Moore (second row, left), Nicholas Moore, Abby Bjorlo, Meghan Hamilton, Mackenzie Gropper, Ella Fleener, Arabelle Boesen, Mary Moore (third row, left), Deanna Root, Bethany Bjorlo, Dana Fleener, Azriele Mattson, KC Moore (fourth row. left), Sue Kavanaugh, Emily Chen, Jaimie Wallace and Gunnar Niemeyer. Submitted photo

Bandstand features gospel bluegrass

Churchyard, a gospel group that adds a bluegrass flavor to its music, will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 12, in the Gregory Park bandstand in Brainerd.

Formed in the late fall of 2003 to expand the music ministry at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crosby, their inaugural performance was in January of 2004. The group's primary focus is to sing about the love of Jesus through traditional, contemporary and original Christian songs.

People may bring a lawn chair or blanket to Gregory Park for the free concert.

Concerts are a collaboration between Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department and The Center. Concerts are made possible by funding from grants from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation and the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council, thanks to legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


Registration open for LAMF workshops

The Lakes Area Music Festival will offer numerous opportunities for people of all ages to experience music and the arts in a new way through the programs of the LAMF's 10th annual season, running August 4-26.

Registration is open for "Explore Music!," the festival's annual weeklong day camp for students entering grades one through five. Now in its seventh year, the program will take place from 9 a.m. to noon July 30 through Aug. 3 at Washington Educational Services Building in Brainerd. Each day will be full of activities learning about music and the arts through numerous creative outlets including movement, dance, singing and playing instruments-all while exercising the youth's creative muscles through guided improvisation, a news release stated. Last year's camp sold out, so early registration is encouraged.

At the end of the camp, students will have a chance to share what they have discovered by participating in a special performance preceding the LAMF's family concert scheduled at 2 p.m. Aug. 5. This concert, titled "Carnival of the Animals," is designed to entertain audiences of all ages and will feature conductor Marlene Pauley leading an orchestra of world-class artists in musical storytelling by Camille Saint-Saens and Sergei Prokofiev. Like all concerts presented by the festival, this family concert is presented free of charge.

A new program added this season for older students is titled "Explore Performance" and is open to students entering sixth through ninth grades. The program runs Aug. 6-10 and will provide individualized performance-based training and stage presence experiences to students with an interest in any performing arts-related activity: singing, playing an instrument, acting, public speaking and more. The program will help guide the skills of these youths in presenting their art to a public audience.

Both musical explorations will be led by Alexander Peña, a classical musician and teaching artist from the Eastman Community School in Rochester, N.Y., along with his team of teachers from New York.

"The Lakes Area Music Festival understands the importance of inspiring our youth and is committed to music education," Peña stated in a news release. "These programs provide

lakes area children and their families a week of exploration through the lens of engaging activities in theater arts, instrumental study, visual arts, movement, voice and more."


Need-based scholarships are available to ensure any student interested is able to attend. Contact Brainerd Community Education when registering to inquire.

The Explore programs are co-sponsored with Brainerd Community Education, with support from the Twin Cities Opera Guild and Bud and Cindy Bergrem. To register, visit or sign up through Brainerd Community Education.

Auditions set for 'The Wizard of Oz'

STAPLES-Auditions for Prairie Fire Children's Theatre's original musical production of "The Wizard of Oz" will be 5-7 p.m. July 22 at Centennial Auditorium in Staples.

This weeklong residency is sponsored by the Staples-Motley Area Arts Council.

Performances will be at 5 and 7 p.m. July 27 at Centennial Auditorium. Tickets will be available at the door.

Up to 75 children are needed to play the roles of Dorothy, Toto, the Munchkins, Glinda the Good Witch, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion, the Green Guard, the Wizard, the Emerald City Traders, the Flying Monkeys, the Winkies, Aunt Em, Uncle Henry and the Yellow Brick Road.

Auditions are open to anyone ages 7-18. The audition process lasts up to two hours and all those auditioning are required to be in attendance for its entirety. No advance preparation is necessary. There is a registration fee to participate.


The cast will be announced at the end of the two-hour audition. Each cast member will receive a rehearsal schedule for the remainder of the week. A portion of the cast will be required to stay following auditions for a short rehearsal.

Rehearsals will be 5-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Featuring original music and script by Daniel Nordquist, "The Wizard of Oz" continues Prairie Fire Children's Theatre's tradition of presenting classic tales as audiences have never seen them before, a news release stated.

Based on L. Frank Baum's classic American fairy tale, Prairie Fire's version is set in contemporary America at the beginning, and it is from there the tornado takes Dorothy over the rainbow to Oz.

"The Wizard of Oz" features set and costume design by Deborah Pick.

Two professional actor/directors from the staff of Prairie Fire Children's Theatre will direct the production and play the roles of the Wicked Witch of the West and the Scarecrow.

Audra Giachino, playing the Wicked Witch of the West, is originally from Waterloo, Iowa. She attended Rockford University in Rockford, Ill., where she received her bachelor's degree in musical theater. She has spent the majority of the past year working as a special needs paraeducator.

Giachino toured with Prairie Fire twice before, appearing as Lucia in "Jack and the Beanstalk" and the Evil Queen in "Snow White."


Tess Chadwick, the Scarecrow, is a Minnesota native who grew up in Le Sueur. She is a student at Xavier University in Cincinnati, where she is pursuing her bachelor's degree in theater. She has taught theater classes to young artists at the Butler Community Arts School and helped produce a children's production called "Bears Don't Cry" in Le Sueur.

Chadwick has a long history with Prairie Fire, performing in shows as a child.

For more information contact Tonia at 218-640-2111.

New exhibit to open at GRA

LITTLE FALLS-Great River Arts presents its newest exhibit "Mississippi Icons," featuring Mary Solberg and Wesley Sod, with a reception 6-8 p.m. Friday, July 13. Light snacks will be served, and the artists will be available to discuss their artworks with guests.

Solberg of Minneapolis brings her mixed media works with bold, iconic, contemporary works influenced by religious imagery, the old masters, vintage postcards and circus sideshow banners in the main gallery.

These works, which she calls "Everyday Icons," focus on a single character to capture moments of triumph, transition, enlightenment and serenity, a news release stated.

The release stated, "Dogs leap for balls, squirrels clutch their prize candy corn ... each in their own way achieving transcendence. Traditional portraiture takes on an ethereal interpretation with the incorporation of gold leaf and various other media including plaster, oil, acrylics, beeswax, gold leaf, layers of varnish, gems and glitter. "


Her signature technique produces a textured portrait with depth and luminescence. She recently had a blockbuster exhibition at the Marine Art Museum and many of these pieces and new works are now on view at GRA.

In the front gallery, will be art by Sod, who has lived most of his life in the Little Falls area. As an artist or serviceman, Sod's work offers intimate and often humorous glimpses into life in Morrison County, the release stated.

'Church Ladies Revival' coming in August

LITTLE FALLS-The Church Ladies from Little Falls and the surrounding area are rehearsing for the 2018 production of "Church Ladies Revival."

The production will be Aug. 15-16 at the Little Falls Ballroom, with doors opening at 5 p.m.

This is the sixth year the Church Ladies have gathered together to raise money for Oasis Central Minnesota, a nonprofit organization. Oasis Central Minnesota provides programs to help address hunger and homelessness in Morrison County.

Each summer, the Church Ladies fundraiser is a new show, written and directed by Robyn Gray. Each production includes as much music and humor as can be squeezed into one show. Previous shows included food poisoning incidents at a church-sponsored function, sugar daddies being invited to town, carts and crafts using discarded medical supplies, Bible stories told from new perspectives and more shenanigans than can be mentioned, a news release stated.

Local comedian Jason Schommer, alias Prudence, will somehow try to infiltrate the show. This provides an element of surprise to the audience.


"The show is well planned, but there is nothing more fun than to invite some of our talented audience members on stage to change things up a bit. We have a game or contest up our sleeves at all times," organizers stated in a news release. "Prior to the show, bribes will be taken and insurance sold to any audience members who have strong feeling-one way or the other-about becoming a part of the show. Everyone is encouraged to bring dollar bills so that they can buy raffle tickets, insurance, bribes and Agnes' fresh-out-of-the-oven buns."

Tickets are $30 and include a meal. Tickets must be purchased by Aug. 10 by calling Oasis Central Minnesota at 320-632-9140 Monday through Thursday during business hours. Both shows are predicted to sell out, so reserve tickets as soon as possible, organizers stated.

Urban landscape exhibit on display at Ripple gallery

AITKIN-St. Paul artist Don Dickinson's watercolor of urban landscapes seen through a distorted perspective will be featured through Aug. 12 at Ripple River Gallery near Bay Lake.

"These pieces are an exploration of urban landscapes and the energy they create," Dickinson stated in a news release. "I'm interested in how that energy is visualized. Cities can be chaotic experiences and the challenge is to produce an equivalent feeling. Fracturing the subject matter creates the visual energy and also adds the necessary chaos."

Dickinson stated one of the problems of functioning in an urban environment is organizing the chaos.

"One of the ways to do that in the real world is to use grids, either on street maps or even in the actual organization of streets in the initial urban plan," he stated. "I use grids in these paintings as a nod in that direction.

"Artistically the grid provides a contrast with the underlying asymmetrical chaos of the fractured subject matter."

In choosing his subject matter Dickinson attempts to avoid static, pretty compositions in favor of more diagonals and oblique composition. As a result his paintings move more in the direction of a raw street photography approach. He likens his paintings to the work of street photographer Gary Winogrand.

Dickinson, who studied architecture at the University of Oregon and photography at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, earned a bachelor's degree in drawing, painting and printmaking from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Following a 12-year career in photography in Los Angeles, he taught drawing, painting, photography and computer graphics in the Chicago area for 14 years.

Dickinson's work has been in various national shows and can be found in numerous private collections. His work was included in the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Show, was featured in the most recent St. Paul Art Crawl and was awarded runner-up Best of Show in the Arts in Harmony show at the Hopkins Center for the Arts and the American Swedish Institute.

Ripple River Gallery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.

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

Book Ends hosts author Jerry Mevissen

WADENA-Instead of moderating Book Ends in July, Jerry Mevissen will sit in the hot

seat and be interviewed at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 14, by local author Elisa Korenne at The Uptown café in Wadena. Korenne was guest author at Book Ends in 2017.

Book Ends is a monthly meet-the-author event. A discussion of books and writing is followed by question-and-answer, book sales/autographs and lunch. There is no charge for attending.

Mevissen's book is "Animal Life," a collection of 15 short stories, each named for an animal. The stories often involve animals, but they feature people who act like animals.

"This is my fifth and final book," Mevissen stated in a news release. "I said at the beginning I had five books in me, one for each grandchild. Time to move on."

Mevissen emigrated to the greater Nimrod area in 2000 and began his writing career with a weekly column for the Review Messenger, "Nimrod Chronicles." A selection from three years of columns became a book by the same name published by North Star Press. Four collections of short stories followed-"Broken Hart," "Good Shepherd," "That Reminds Me" and "Animal Life," all published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc.

"I'm intrigued by the presence of common denominators in recent short story fiction," Mevissen stated. "The character Olive Kitteridge in Elizabeth Strout's stories, the resort VacationLand in Sarah Stonich's stories, the clause, 'There's something I want you to do,' in Charles Baxter's stories. In 'Animal Life,' the common denominator is Deputy Sheriff Bear Braham in a rural county seat town that could be Wadena or Park Rapids."

Acoustic duo to perform in Staples park

STAPLES-Bill and Kate Isles and band will perform 7 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at the Music in the Park Series in Staples.

Bill and Kate Isles are an acoustic singer/songwriter duo based in Duluth. Using a wide variety of musical styles, their performances carry audiences through a broad landscape of experiences from metaphorical worlds to small town family stories to zany comedy, a news release stated.

Consummate performers, they are known for their catchy melodies and memorable songs. They tour nationally, presenting their profound songs for audiences large and small, from house concerts to festival stages and everything in between.

Bill Isles is a Duluth native. He has become one of the most well-known singer/songwriters in the Minnesota acoustic scene and has received national and international attention, the release stated. Bill Isles' love of life has strong roots in his childhood, but his urgency to tell these stories comes from an experience in 1993 when he experienced a sudden cardiac arrest.

Kate Isles was raised in Rochester. She was a closet singer/songwriter when she came to a CD release concert for Bill Isles' first CD, "Weightless" after hearing a public radio interview. She bought the CD and signed up on his email list.

They have toured nationally as a duo, full-time, since early 2007, performing about 150 shows per year. Their duo album, "Still Beneath the Stars and Moon," includes 10 original songs and showcases their songwriting with several of Kate's songs as well as a few they've co-written.

The Music in the Park concerts are at Northern Pacific Park and will run through Aug. 12. For more information on the Music in the Park series, go to .

In case of rain, the concerts will be moved to Faith Lutheran Church.

The Music in the Park series is funded by the Staples Host Lions Club. The series is organized by the Staples Motley Area Arts Council, with the assistance of the Staples-Motley Public Schools and the city of Staples.

Crossing Arts Second Saturday set

The Crossing Arts Alliance will host its Second Saturday event Saturday, July 14.

The Crossing Arts Kids art programming will have two sessions, at 10-11:30 a.m. and noon-1:30 p.m. Alexander Calder will bring his drawing inspiration to youths to create "line drawings" using wire.

Registration is required, space is limited. Visit or call Crossing Arts at 218-833-0416 to enroll. A $3 per child/$5 per family materials donation is requested, but no child will be turned away due to need. This class is sponsored by Dave and Mary Boran.

Featured artist Martin Nelson will be available to meet 10 a.m.-noon Saturday where people may view some of his collage and mixed media works on display. Nelson will talk about the process for creating his works, the materials he uses and his inspiration.

The exhibition "Woolgatherer: Fiber Art by Lisa Jordan" will be on display in the gallery. Jordan creates pieces from wool and other fibers, inspired by nature.

All activities are at TCAA, 711 Laurel St., Brainerd. Call 218-833-0416 or visit for more information.

Author Roberta Walburn set to visit Brainerd library

Author Roberta Walburn, who also is an attorney based in Minneapolis, will discuss her recent book, "Miles Lord: The Maverick Judge Who Brought Corporate America to Justice," at noon Monday, July 16, at the Brainerd Public Library.

The book is about the life of a crusading federal judge, Miles Lord, who stood up and fought for "the little guy." Lord, born in 1919 and died in 2016, rose from humble beginnings on Minnesota's Iron Range to become one of the most colorful and powerful judges in the country, a news release stated. Lord is described as "an unabashed Prairie populist" and "a live-wire slayer of corporate behemoths." It is a compelling portrait of a remarkable man and his place in Minnesota and U.S. history, the release stated.

Walburn has been named one of the most influential members of the legal profession in state history and recognized by the University of Minnesota for "shaping the legal landscape for the benefit of society," the release stated. Previously, she worked as a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Buffalo (N.Y.) Evening News and as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone, and she served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Miles Lord.

All author presentations begin at noon at the Brainerd library. Attendees are welcome to bring a

packed lunch or may enjoy the light refreshments provided. These presentations are sponsored by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library through their volunteer and fundraising efforts, and are free of charge to the public.

For more information on any of the events, contact the library at 218-829-5574 or visit the library's Facebook page at .

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