Entertainment briefs - March 7

? Pillager students to display art exhibit Dan Devine's Pillager High School students will be having an exhibition at the Q Gallery at Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd, curated by Devine and hosted by The Crossing Arts Alliance. The artists' rece...

■ Pillager students to display art exhibit

Dan Devine’s Pillager High School students will be having an exhibition at the Q Gallery at Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd, curated by Devine and hosted by The Crossing Arts Alliance.

The artists’ reception will be from 5-7p.m. Friday. Minnesota State Rep. John Ward will be at the reception. Ward is a member of the House Legacy Committee, which decides Arts Legacy funding. Arts appreciators are encouraged to attend and let Ward know what state arts funding means our community.

The reception is free and open to the public.

The Pillager student exhibition will be open at the Q Gallery from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, through March 16, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.


■ Kingery Family to perform Sunday

The Kingery Family will perform a benefit concert at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Franklin Auditorium at the Franklin Art Center in Brainerd.

The Kingery Family, a bluegrass band from southern Minnesota, has performed in the bandstand in Gregory Park in Brainerd and has been a favorite at the summer park concerts. The concert will benefit The Center and the proceeds will be used for facility upgrades.

Tickets are $10 for senior center members, $15 for general public, $18 at the door and $5 children. All tickets are general seating and can be purchased at The Center. The Center, located at 803 Kingwood St., Brainerd, is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information call The Center at 218-829-9345.

■ Music General dancers compete at NUVO

Company Line dancers from the Music General Dance studio recently competed and took classes at NUVO Dance Convention and Competition in Minneapolis along with more than 800 dancers from Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin. During the three-day event, dancers took classes six hours per day from one of the most elite professional staff ever assembled in the dance world, including instructors Ray Leeper, Travis Wall, Ivan Koumanev and Stacey Tookey of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and Anthony Morigerato of “America’s Got Talent.”


Multi-level classes in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, lyrical, technique and injury prevention were taught in each age division (Mini, Junior, Teen and Senior) over the course of the weekend. Scholarships in tap, jazz or hip hop were awarded to 10 Music General Dancers for their exemplary work in those classes. Dancers Libby Borash, Sylvia Borash and Savannah Oberfeld were chosen as Break Out Artists, an elite scholarship won by audition for dancers who demonstrated a high level of Jazz technique and performance ability during the weekend. Break Out Artists were also featured in NUVO’s closing show.

In addition to attending class, Music General entered 20 routines in the weekend’s competition. Dancers earned 10 Gold Awards (261-275 points); nine High Gold Awards (276-290 points) and one DJ’s Pick Award (291-300 points), which was awarded to Sylvia Borash, who also earned the Top Teen Soloist title for the weekend. Soloist Libby Borash earned third Overall for Junior Soloists. Music General had four routines in the top three overall awards; “Bruno,” “Where Have You Been,” “Bird Island” and “You Did It” all earned top honors and High Gold Awards. “Bird Island” was chosen as Best Teen NU Group and “You Did It” received the Studio Pick Award, Best Tap Routine of the weekend and was featured in the NUVO Closing Show.

■ Heartland Poets to meet March 16

Heartland Poets will meet from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 16 in the large room of the Brainerd Public Library. After a short business meeting, Doris Stengel, Brainerd, will talk about “What the Judges Are Looking For.” Following this, there will be discussion by poets who want feedback regarding poems-in-progress. Participants are asked to bring copies for this process. Afterwards poets are invited to read poems they want to share with the group.

This program is free and open to the public.

The Heartland Poets meeting in March is the third Saturday, instead of the second Saturday of the month because the Brainerd Public Library is hosting a “Write Basics Conference” from 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday with registration at Arrowwood Lodge starting at 12:30 p.m. This writing workshop is free and there are still openings. People can register by calling the Brainerd Public Library at 829-5574.

The Heartland Poets will resume their Friday meetings in April and May from 6-9 p.m., the second Friday of the month.

For more information on the poet group call 829-5402.


■ Artwork at the Brainerd library

Artists Helen Smith and Virginia MacArthur will have their work on display at the Brainerd Public Library through May.

Smith, a retired teacher, paints in watercolor and she learned her craft at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Her mentor was Evelyn Matthies, her first teacher. Smith often paints floral and landscape pieces and still lifes.

Her work has been displayed in galleries locally and regionally and several have been given awards.

■ Brainerd poet’s work published in collection

Brainerd resident Charmaine Donovan’s poem “Nature’s Goodness” is included in the “Gratitude Prayers” book collection.

“Nature Goodness” received a Popular Choice Award in the Hackensack Art and Book Festival last August. The poem was published in both the Park Rapids Enterprise newspaper and Northwoods Woman magazine.

Donovan said this is her first publication in a hardbound book.

“Gratitude Prayers” is a collection of inspiring prayers, reflective poems and motivating quotes collected by June Cotner, author of the best-selling “GRACES.” The book includes the voices of classic visionaries such as Rumi, Anne Frank, Walt Whitman and Helen Keller, and contemporary writers such as Michael S. Glaser and Barbara Crooker.

■ April Verch Band to play in Nisswa

NISSWA – April Verch, an internationally touring Canadian fiddler, step dancer and singer-songwriter, brings her trio to the Grassroots Concerts stage at 7:30 p.m. March 15 at the Live Well Nightclub and Coffee Bar in Nisswa’s Journey Church next to the school.   

Admission is $10 at the door for adults and $5 for children under 12 with listening attention, when accompanied by an adult. At all shows, seating is first-come, first-served. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

This will be Verch’s second appearance (first was 2009) in the venue and it coincides with the release of her ninth album, “Bright Like Gold.”

Her band includes bassist and clawhammer banjo player Cody Walters and guitarist Hayes Griffith, two guys as fluent in folk traditions of Canada and Appalachia as their award-winning leader. This is a trio assembled just over a year ago, reconfigured to suit a demanding schedule.

These three musicians tour across Canada, the United States, the U.K., Europe and Australia. They have established a reputation as consummate performers, winning over audiences not only with sheer virtuosity on their respective instruments but also with charm, humor and boundless energy on stage.

Verch is of a generation far more likely to have spent its formative years taking in MTV than taking part in any sort of traditional music scene, and yet practically from birth she was immersed in folk music and dance from her native Ottawa Valley, a melting pot of Franco-Celtic flavors brought by the hard-working loggers who settled the area.

Ferried to dance-filled old-time gatherings and country and western jamborees by her music-loving parents, she followed her older sister into step dancing at age 3, and picked up the fiddle at age 6. She started studying, performing and competing in both.

Verch knew early on, surrounded by music, that it was her calling. Verch said: “I think the reason I did some of the things I did so early on, such as recording my first album at 13, was because I thought, ‘I know this is hard, but I’m still going to do this. So I’d better get going.’ In a sense, their way of trying to warn me just made me push all the harder.”

In her early teens, Verch found herself at Mark O’Connor’s fiddle camp, to which she later returned as an instructor rooming with young musicians who strove to become carbon copies of their idols and learning a lot from the encounter.

By the time Verch graduated high school, she’d won the Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championship and released a pair of albums, followed by a year at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music and a win at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition, which made her the first woman ever to take both of her country’s two top contests. From there she dove into a full-time music career, signing with Rounder Records.

She represented Canada by performing in the Opening Ceremonies at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.  

At each concert, Grassroots organizers welcome participants to bring in a nonperishable food (or cash) donation for the local food shelf.

For more information, contact the nonprofit organization Grassroots Concerts at 829-4092; ;; or by mail at Grassroots Concerts, PO Box 561, Brainerd, MN 56401.

Grassroots Concerts are made possible in part by a grant provided by the Five Wings Arts Council with funds through the Minnesota State Legislature.

■ Pequot Lakes Festival of the Arts coming

PEQUOT LAKES - Local artists and art students will combine their talents to host a community wide Festival of the Arts scheduled from 5:30-8 p.m. March 14 in the Pequot Lakes High School and middle level gymnasiums.

This year’s festival will be the 31st annual event that showcases high school student art work. Art students who are a senior in high school create an art display of their work from throughout their high school years. Community and commercial artists will have displays and provide demonstrations of their art skills.

Community artists may still sign up for a display by calling Dave Guenther at 218-568-9252.

For more information about the festival call Molly Wiste at 218-568-9328.

■ Continental Divide Folk
School schedule announced

NEW YORK MILLS - Continental Divide Folk School announces its spring class schedule that is hosted at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.

Classes include creating a mosaic sphere (using an old bowling ball), weaving, writing family stories, artisan bread baking, maple sugar camp (making your very own maple syrup), yoga, dance and other classes.

Information about the Folk School and the Cultural Center is available on line at or by calling 218-385-3339. There are materials and tuition fees for most of the classes.

■ Two singer/songwriters on
one night at NY Mills

NEW YORK MILLS - David Stoddard and Beth Wood, two accomplished singer/songwriters, will appear at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the New York Regional Cultural Center.

Advance tickets are $12, or $15 the night of the concert. Call 218-385-3339 for ticket reservation. Student admission is $5 and anyone who brings a donation for the Mills Food Shelf gets a buck reduction in the admission price.

Stoddard, who has appeared at the center several times for the Longest Night Music Festival; and Wood, his Oregon-based musician, are accomplished musical artists, writing songs, playing multiple instruments and singing their songs with power and musicality.

Stoddard plays mostly house concerts and concert venues and also spends time promoting the work of independent singers and songwriters through his radio program, Northern Roots Radio. He’s played at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and at the Kerrville Music Festival in Kerrville, Texas. He’s shared the stage with people like Juice Newton, Leon Russell, Rik Emmett, Lou and Peter Berryman, Michael Smith and Pat Donohue.

He has won the Kerrville New Folk award and songwriting awards at the South Florida Folk Festival, the Minnesota Folk Festival and others.

Wood studied voice and piano at Brevard College in North Carolina and she picked up a degree in literature and a guitar. Wood began writing her own songs and for the past 15 years, she’s had thousands of shows, nine albums, three cars and numerous awards.

■ Staples graduate participates in Northwestern College Choir and Orchestra tour

Northwestern College announces that Samuel Duberowski, the son of Don and Mary Duberowski of the Motley/Staples area, will participate in the Northwestern College Choir and Orchestra Spring 2013 Tour.

The tour itinerary includes concerts in Osakis, Alexandria, Moorhead, Roseville and Fargo, N.D. that will be held in the next few weeks.

Duberowski is a 2010 graduate of Staples Motley High School and is currently a senior pursuing a degree in biology.

The orchestra’s repertoire includes masterworks by Johannes Brahms, Edvard Grieg and Antonin Dvorak; the choir will perform a wide variety of choral music including hymns, gospel music and spirituals, featuring the Midwest premiere of Langston Hughes’ poem Fire by Illinois composer John Orfe. Together, the combined ensembles will perform “Meteor Shower” by Owl City’s Adam Young and selections from Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs.

■ Cass Lake girls to go to
Operation Glass Slipper

Minnesota small businesses and two Minnesota charities are teaming up Saturday to bring 40 Cass Lake area girls to the Twin Cities for Operation Glass Slipper event.

Bemidji Bus Lines will drive 40 junior and senior girls from the Cass Lake area to Southdale Mall in Edina for Operation Glass Slipper’s seventh annual princess event. When they arrive, each girl will be provided dresses, shoes, jewelry and purses for prom at no cost.

The idea of bringing girls down from “Up North” started as an idea over dinner with two longtime friends Ryan Burns of Hackensack and Tim Folkenson of Roseville.

Weeks of phone coordinating between schools leaders, counselors, tribal liaisons, local businesses and event representatives came together Monday when local entertainer and founder of the of the 30 Days Foundation Mick Sterling agreed to pay for the gas and Bemidji Bus Lines owner Robert Wicklund donated the bus and driver.

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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