Entertainment Briefs — July 14

A roundup of area concerts, shows, book and visual art events in the Brainerd lakes area.

Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service

Performances in the Park to feature jazz

Performances in the Park presents Blue Moon Jazz Quintet at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 15, in Gregory Park in Brainerd.

Blue Moon Jazz Quintet is a group of professional musicians from the lakes area who enjoy playing for special events. With live drums, horns, bass and vibraphone, the group has swinging feel that puts you in the mind of the hot jazz clubs in the ‘60s and ‘70s, a news release stated. Playing material from Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, James Brown and Cannonball Adderly, the group moves from cool jazz and bebop to rhythm and blues and soul. An occasional vocal tune is thrown in to keep it interesting.

Blue Moon Band Photo
Performances in the Park presents Blue Moon Jazz Quintet at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 15, in Gregory Park in Brainerd. Submitted Photo

Blue Moon was started by Greg Breen, Mike Sommerness and Christopher Fogderud in 2013 and has featured a number of other local talents from popular groups in the area. The lineup for Thursday’s concert will be familiar from past concerts in Gregory Park and will feature Sommerness on saxophone; Fogderud on trumpet and vocals; Breen on bass; Malcolm Rosenberger on drums; and Jim Henkemeyer on vibraphone.


Performances in the Park are free and open to the public. People who attend may bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the music.

Performances are a collaboration between Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department and The Center. Performances are made possible by financial support from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, Deerwood Bank and funding to honor Helen K. Mills, who is Stewart C. Mills Jr.’s mother, who used to skate around Gregory Park, and to honor Mills Jr., who loves music.

Brainerd library features local artist’s work

Brainerd lakes area artist Laura Garten’s acrylic paintings are on display in a new exhibit at the Brainerd Public Library.

The exhibit includes 14 pieces featuring many natural subjects and outdoor scenes.

Garten, a member of the Brainerd Area Art Guild, is primarily a self-taught artist. When starting out, “I painted on any surface that would not move,” Garten stated in a news release. Her exhibit at the library is all on canvas, but she has also painted trunks, boxes and an outdoor mural. She has followed instructors Donna Dewberry, Jerry Yarnell and Chuck Black through books and online. She favors acrylic paints and uses a gel medium to slow it down for blending.

“I absolutely love to paint,” she stated. “It is like getting into your head and imagining the picture you want to create and doing it.”

For those interested in trying painting, she recommends a starter set of paints and brushes.

“Do not get cheap brushes,” she stated. “Get and use the best you can afford. Relax, take a deep breath, zone into what you want to paint and go for it.”


Garten’s work will be on display at the library through Sept. 30. The exhibit is free of charge. Exhibits of work by local artists are coordinated by the Brainerd Area Art Guild and the Brainerd Public Library.

For more information, contact the library at 218-829-5574.

Kathleen West
Author Kathleen West

Minnesota novelist to virtually visit Brainerd library

Minnesota novelist Kathleen West will discuss her new book “Are We There Yet?” virtually from noon to 1 p.m. July 26, as a live event on the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library Facebook page.

While the Brainerd Public Library is now hosting in-person events, Brown Bag Lunch author visits have continued virtually.

In the novel, Alice Sullivan feels like she’s finally found her groove in middle age, but it only takes one moment for her perfectly curated life to unravel. On the same day she learns her daughter is struggling in second grade, a call from her son’s school accusing him of bullying throws Alice into a tailspin.

When it comes to light that the incident is part of a new behavior pattern for her son, one complete with fake social media profiles with a lot of questionable content, Alice’s social standing is quickly eroded to one of “those moms” who can’t control her kids, the news release stated. Soon she’s facing the very judgment she was all too happy to dole out when she thought no one was looking or when she thought her house wasn’t made of glass. Then her mother unloads a family secret she’s kept for more than 30 years, and Alice’s entire perception of herself is shattered.


Are We There Yet book cover
The book cover of Minnesota novelist Kathleen West's new book “Are We There Yet?” She will appear virtually from noon to 1 p.m. July 26, as a live event on the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library Facebook page. Submitted Photo

West is a veteran school teacher. She graduated with a degree in English from Macalester College and earned a master’s degree in literacy education from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis.

This presentation is sponsored by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library through their volunteer and fundraising efforts. The Friends are celebrating the 22nd season of the Brown Bag Lunch Author Series with a lineup of award-winning and acclaimed Minnesota writers.

For more information, contact the library at 218-829-5574 or visit the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library’s Facebook page at .

Ski Loons
The Brainerd Ski Loons have their first show of the summer at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 18, at Lum Park in Brainerd. Submitted Photo

Brainerd Ski Loons to perform

The Brainerd Ski Loons have their first show of the summer at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 18, at Lum Park in Brainerd.

This is a free water ski show open to the community. People may come and watch the Ski Loons perform human ski pyramids, ski jumpers, barefooters and skiers being pulled 360 degrees around the boat. This event is fun for the whole family. Concessions will be available. People are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs for seating.

The Ski Loons are a nonprofit organization in Brainerd. For more information go to the Ski Loons’ website at .

Aitkin to host Riverboat ‘Parade of Decades’

AITKIN — The Aitkin Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative to present a special Riverboat Days Parade Aug. 7 to celebrate Aitkin’s sesquicentennial.

To celebrate 150 years of history, the Riverboat Days Parade theme is “A Parade of Decades.” Floats are encouraged to decorate their units in a way that celebrates the past or future.

“It seems fitting,” Taylor Erickson, executive director at the chamber, stated in a news release. “We’re at a time where our community is moving forward after a challenging year, but our town is turning 150, and it’s important to celebrate the good things, too. We want to tie those ideas together at the parade.”

The Riverboat Days Parade starts at 3 p.m. and runs from First Street Southwest to Fourth Street on Minnesota Avenue. The judges’ stand will be in front of the Aitkin Independent Age.

Prizes will be given for Best Overall Float; Best “Decades” Float; and Best Kids Float.

“We’re excited to partner with the Aitkin Chamber for the Riverboat Days Parade. Aitkin’s 150th anniversary is a huge milestone and we’re proud to be a part of it,” Kassie Peterson, Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative communications specialist, stated in the release. “I hope that this year’s parade will be one to remember!”

This year’s grand marshal will be “Everyday Heroes of 2020.”

For details on the Riverboat Days Parade and how to register a float, visit .

Mark Peterson to perform in Music in the Park

STAPLES — Mark Petersen and his band will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 18, at the Music in the Park Series in Staples.

Petersen is a singer/songwriter who is nationally known for writing songs such as “Cadillac Style” and “I Can’t Reach Her Anymore” sung by Sammy Kershaw; “Refried Dreams” sung by Tim McGraw; and songs sung by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

Petersen gained a following in the Midwest among classic country fans, who love to hear him and his band perform their favorite songs. In addition to his own vocals and guitar work, Petersen’s band includes Arlin Britz, bass guitar and vocals; Ernie Renn, pedal steel guitar and lead guitar; and Wayne VerValen, drums and vocals.

According to Petersen’s Facebook page, he was raised in a musical family. His aunts, “The Petersen Sisters,” performed for area dances in the 1950s and it was their group that inspired Mark Petersen to pick up the bass and guitar.

When he was 17, Petersen joined a local pop country rock band called “Black Gold,” playing guitar; and when he turned 19, he was hired to play bass with the professional road group, “The Blackwater Band.” At 21, Petersen joined “Steve Hall & The Southbound ’76,” helping them win first place in the “Seagrams Seven International Battle of the Bands” for Minnesota in 1981 and North Dakota in 1982.

Drummer Steve Hall’s comedic puppet “Shotgun Red” ended up paving the way for the band to leave the nightclub scene, going on to play arenas, stadiums, state fairs and cruise ships. In 1990, the band was offered a year-long theater stint in Branson, Missouri; and later had a 12-year-run as the matinee headliner aboard the General Jackson Showboat at the Opryland USA. In 2011, Petersen served as acoustic guitarist and band leader for the debut of RFD-TV’s “Shotgun Red Variety Show.”

Petersen’s songwriting career took off in 1991, with the help and guidance of Buddy Kalb at Ray Stevens Music, the publishing company where he also received valuable music business tips from Ray Stevens himself, Ray’s manager Don Williams (brother of singer Andy Williams), and Nashville producer and legend guitarist Chet Atkins.

A year later, Petersen joined the writing staff at Harold Shedd’s Music Mill, where he wrote or co-wrote more than 190 songs. The writing staff at that time included Jimmy Stewart, writer of the Earl Thomas Conley/Keith Whitley song, “Brotherly Love”; Tony Haselden of “Mama Knows,” “A Little Less Talk” and “You Know Me Better Than That”; Don Von Tress of “Achy Breaky Heart”; and DeWayne Blackwell of “Friends In Low Places.”

The Music in the Park Concerts are hosted in the Northern Pacific Park and run through Aug. 8. In case of rain, the concerts will be moved to the Staples Community Center. 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 city of Staples.

For more information on the Music in the Park series, check out .

Storyhill to perform in Deerwood

DEERWOOD — Billboard-charting folk duo Storyhill is returning to Deerwood to bring back their Storyhill Fest this summer after a seven-year hiatus.

Coming hot on the heels of Storyhill's recent run of sold-out shows, this two-day, family-friendly festival returns Aug. 20-21 to the Clearwater Forest Camp in Deerwood. With tent and cabin camping available, the festival will include workshops, outdoor activities and performances by some of the festival's most popular past performers, including Nashville Americana stars Wild Ponies; New York indie-folk duo The Sea The Sea; Austin songwriters Carrie Elkin & Danny Schmidt; and Minnesota's own Peter Mayer and Mother Banjo. Storyhill will close out each night of music and also host a campfire singalong giving people a chance to jam with the band and other performers.

For tickets go to .

Storyhill consists of Chris Cunningham and John Hermanson, whose most recent album is “Where to Begin” released in 2019 and was recorded live at Peak Recording Studio in their hometown of Bozeman, Montana. It was engineered by their old friend Gil Stober, who recorded their first tape, Chris & Johnny, in 1989. He captured 12 tracks — some known by fans for decades and others rarely, if ever, performed.

“We were relearning songs from our younger years for last summer’s 30th anniversary tour, and something surprising happened,” Chris said in a news release. “We discovered more meaning, new life and deeper appreciation for songs we hadn’t sung in years. It was as if they were actually meant for this stage in our lives and for our voices today. It actually deepened our bond, musically and as friends.”

Storyhill is back in full swing — touring, writing new songs and preparing for the return of their Storyhill Fest, a fan festival which features performances by their musical friends, including such notables as Anais Mitchell, John Gorka and Lucy Kaplansky.

What To Read Next
This week's featured read is "Angle of Declination" by Deerwood couple Doug and Sally Mayfield.
Live music in the Brainerd lakes area.
This calendar lists book or author events, auditions for theatrical productions, art, craft or food fairs and other unique entertainment events.
Brainerd Community Theatre will put on a production of “9 to 5: The Musical” at Central Lakes College. The musical comedy by Dolly Parton is based on her 1980 hit movie about women in the workplace.