Entertainment Briefs - June 23

Young novelist to be featured in Brown Bag Lunch Brown Bag Lunch Author Series will feature young adult novelist David Oppegaard at noon Monday at the Brainerd Public Library. Oppegaard will discuss his latest book, "The Firebug of Balrog County,...

Michael Hoover will perform at 7 p.m. today, June 23, in the bandstand at Gregory Park in Brainerd. (Submitted)

Young novelist to be featured in Brown Bag Lunch

Brown Bag Lunch Author Series will feature young adult novelist David Oppegaard at noon Monday at the Brainerd Public Library.

Oppegaard will discuss his latest book, "The Firebug of Balrog County," a young adult novel about a small-town high school senior with an intense love of fire.

Oppegaard teaches fiction at Hamline University and the Loft Literary Center.

Attendees are welcome to bring a packed lunch.


These presentations are sponsored by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library through their volunteer and fundraising efforts, and are free to the public.

For more information go ti the library's Facebook page at or call 218-829- 5574.

'Goin to the Lake' coming to Crosby

CROSBY-WCCO's "Goin' to the Lake" series will be live at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. July 1 on Serpent Lake in Crosby.

Trucano to perform next organ series

The Lakes Area Summer Organ Recital Series will present Joe Trucano in an organ recital at noon Wednesday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Brainerd.

Trucano will perform Prelude in G Major by J. S. Bach, Sonata in d by C. P. E. Bach, Praeludium in C by D. Buxtehude and a piece by F. Mendelssohn.

Currently Trucano works as a producer for the Minnesota Public Radio Pipedreams program and curator and artistic director of MPR's Pop Up Classical series. He holds a Master's of Music Degree in Organ Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Prior to that he attended Concordia College in Moorhead where he was first to be awarded the prestigious Senior Honors award and orchestral appearance on two instruments: cello and organ.


The next organ concert will not be until July 20, where Cathy Taylor will perform at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.

For more information contact Taylor at 218-963- 2229.

Great River Strings features young violinist

Annie Goodwin of the Cuyuna Range was selected to be a part of the 2016-2017 Minnesota All-State Orchestra. Goodwin started playing the violin at age 7. She has been a part of the Great River Strings for seven years. She plays classical and sacred music and occasionally enjoys contemporary and fiddling music. Her instructors have included Arnie Anderson of Garrison; Sally O'Reilly of the University of Minnesota and Brian Buckstead of University of Minnesota-Duluth.

All State is a program to develop the finest musicians and leaders among Minnesota's most accomplished high school students. All-State Orchestra Camp will be Aug. 1-6 at the College of Saint Benedict in Saint Joseph with a public performance on Aug. 6. These same musicians will rehearse and perform at the Midwinter Reunion performance on Feb. 11-13, 2017, at Orchestra Hall.

Goodwin also will play her violin at local Great River Strings concerts in the Cuyuna Range and Aitkin areas on Nov. 19 and 20.

Spradlin named to MPN board

Patrick Spradlin, theatre director and Cultural Arts Series Producer for the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center, has been named to the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Presenters Network.


Formed in 1992, MPN is comprised of more than 50 presenting organizations of all sizes throughout Minnesota, as well as neighboring states. Arts centers as large as the Ordway, the O'Shaugnessy, the Paramount, and the Reif Center are part of MPN, as well as organizations of medium to small sizes in urban and rural communities. MPN has its goals to increase communications between and among Minnesota presenters, to stimulate cooperative projects that result in the presentation of diverse artists to a wide range of presenters in the region, and to provide professional development to its members and affiliates.

Spradlin will serve a three-year term. He takes the place of outgoing board member David Marty, executive director of the Reif Center for the Arts in Grand Rapids.

State writing contest planned

All Minnesota writers are invited to enter the 2016 Brainerd Writers Alliance writing contest. Writers may submit work in all categories for $15 entry fee: one entry in fiction, one in creative non-fiction not to exceed 2,500 words and up to three poems. Poetry must not be more than 40 lines per poem. All entries must be postmarked by Aug. 24.

Mail entries to: BWA Writers Contest, 11767 Pepperidge Road, Brainerd, MN 56401. Winners receive cash prizes and are invited to read their entries at BWA's Fall Writers Festival scheduled Oct. 29 at the Northland Arboretum. Go to to view full contest rules and updates regarding the festival. Contact contest chair at 218-828-7750 or email with questions.

Lamont Cranston Band to help feed Malawi orphans

CUYUNA-Rhythm and blues group The Lamont Cranston Band will be the headliner for Manna for Malawi 2016. The four-hour event beginning at 4 p.m. will be Sunday at the Woodtick Inn in Cuyuna. Proceeds from the event will support the feeding program at the Malawi Orphan Care Project in Malawi, Africa. The band opened for the Rolling Stones in the 1980s and have played with Buddy, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Muddy Waters.

A rock band from Duluth, called Fearless Moral Inventory will perform from 4-5 p.m.; Lamont Cranston featuring Pat Hayes and Bruce McCabe will perform from 5:30-8 p.m.


A pasta dinner from Maucieri's will be served to the first 300 attendees. The Kava House in Crosby will furnish beverages. The event will also include a silent auction and a free will offering will be taken to support the mission.

"We just got word that our Malawi mission feeding program will be cut back to four days a week because of drought conditions in Malawi," Immanuel Lutheran Church Pastor Paul Mattson stated in a news release. "We knew conditions have not been good for farming this year but we didn't know it would be this bad ... Now our Malawi partners need our support even more. All the money raise from Manna for Malawi goes directly to feed orphaned children and their families."

Immanuel Lutheran Church first sent a mission team to the southern African nation in 2012 and helped build a water well close to the mission site.

Go to for more information about the orphan project or to make a donation.

Michael Hoover to perform in bandstand

Michael Hoover will perform at 7 p.m. today, June 23, in the bandstand at Gregory Park in Brainerd.

Hoover, who plays rock and roll and contemporary country, was a favorite from last summer's concert series. He has been a professional musician since the 60s and has played throughout the United States in a variety of venues.

The concert is free and open to the public. People can bring a lawn chair and enjoy live music. Concert funding has been provided in memory of Helen K. Mills. Rainout site is The Center, 803 Kingwood St., Brainerd. If the concerts are moved indoors, signs will be posted on the bandstand and it will be announced on WJJY radio.


Concerts in the park are a collaboration between Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department and The Center.

Author to appear at Book World

BAXTER-Author Midge Bubany will appear for a book-signing from noon to 2 p.m. July 2 at Book World in Baxter.

Bubany wrote her third book in the Cal Sheehan series, "Crow Wing Dead," which was released last March and some of the scenes are set in Crow Wing County, including Brainerd. The first book in the series is called "The Equalizer" published in 2014 and the second book is "Silver's Bones" published in 2015. The second book was nominated for a 2015 Minnesota Book Award. The series is set in north central Minnesota.

Rock the Park 7 planned

LITTLE FALLS-Great River Arts is getting ready for the seventh annual Rock the Park concert planned June 30 at Maple Island Park in Little Falls.

Kids Art in the Park will be from 4-6 p.m. and will feature free art projects, sidewalk chalk murals, a collaborative community art project, theater games and the library also will do storytelling in the park.

The Rock the Park 7 is a free outdoor concert and will feature LaVerne and the Starlights at 6 p.m. and headliners Brothers Tone and The Big Groove from 7-10 p.m. The event is organized by Great River Arts and sponsored by many local businesses, including this year's Primary Business Sponsor, The Rustic Saloon. Great River Arts will accept donations to help support Rock the Park and other Great River Arts programming in the Little Falls area.


LaVerne and the Starlites will feature polka and classic country favorites. The band features local musicians Dean Dirkes, Daryl Dirkes, Ross Scalice, Tom Pattock, Gene Retka, Dwight Nelson and LaVerne Bzdok. Bzdok, the group's leader and namesake, has been playing polka music for 52 years. She got her start at 13 as a stand-in on guitar for the Jolly Fisherman polka band, and she hasn't looked back since

Their performance will feature a range of instruments from guitars, pianos, concertinas and "almost all of the wind instruments" to bring polka favorites from the funky chicken dance to the beer barrel polka to life.

Brothers Tone and The Big Groove are returning to Rock the Park for their fifth year. The band has a list of classic rock, funk, and rhythm and blues. Their performance will highlight music from The Buckinghams, Chicago, Grass Roots, Huey Lewis, Pitbull, Bruno Mars, Chris Stapleton and a closing tribute to the music of Prince. The twelve-piece band includes local singer Karla Jensen and former Little Falls resident, Andy Spofford, as well as a four-piece horn section and backup singers. Joining them onstage for a couple of songs will be a chorus from the Little Falls High School Choir.

Banners welcome visitors to Aitkin

AITKIN - The Jaques Art Center supplied heavy-duty banners to Bremer Bank to help welcome visitors to Aitkin. Featured on the signs are two artworks by Francis Lee Jaques, "The Running Wolf Pack" and his scratchboard art of "The Loons."

Jaques moved to a farm near the Mississippi River in rural Aitkin in 1904 when he was 15 years old. In Aitkin, Jaques began his career as a self-taught artist depicting wildlife and outdoor scenes in addition to being a taxidermist, railroad fireman, farmer and logger. After completing an electrical engineering course, he entered World War I and served in France. He later served on the staff of the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Jaques painted dozens of dioramas in addition to backdrops for habitat groups. He illustrated more than 40 books with black and white scratch board drawings, including books written by his wife Florence Page Jaques and Sigurd Olson.

The Jaques Art Center was established in 1995 to commemorate the life and works of Francis Lee Jaques and to support the visual arts in the Aitkin area.

The art center thanks Bremer Bank, Aitkin County Tourism, Mille Lacs Electric and Duane Barnhart for helping with the banners.

LAMF looking for donations for new office

The Lakes Area Music Festival now has an office at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd.

The organization is looking for donations of several items, including furniture, electronics, office supplies and more to help fill the space. If anyone wants to donate an item to the organization they can email Bethany Rohr at to see if the item will work.

The Lakes Area Music Festival thrives on the volunteer support of community members. More than 300 volunteers perform vital tasks, from housing and feeding musicians to helping build opera sets and running concert operations. As a result, LAMF has become a hub for arts-lovers from across the state offering professional classical music for free each and every summer, the organization stated in its newsletter.

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