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The Jazz Authority headlines Great River Arts fundraiser

Great River Arts in Little Falls in nearby Morrison County will have its annual fundraiser Thursday, Aug. 18, featuring the eight-piece band The Jazz Authority. The fundraiser for the nonprofit will also include a silent auction, appetizers and a cash bar.

The Jazz Authority musical group photo
The Jazz Authority
Contributed / Jonathan Laflamme
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LITTLE FALLS — Looking for a good time while helping out a regional arts nonprofit? Look no further than the Great River Arts annual fundraiser Thursday, Aug. 18, in Little Falls.

The “Arts Are Alive in Central MN Fundraiser” will feature live music by The Jazz Authority during the fundraising event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Great River Arts downtown.

“Jonathan Laflamme works at Central Lakes College,” GRA Executive Director Karla Zeck said of the eight-piece band’s founder and a music instructor at Central Lakes College.

Great River Arts creatively engages the community by offering a variety of artistic experiences, from live theater and music performances to revolving visual arts exhibits, along with art classes for children, youth and adults, according to Zeck.

“We want to bring more awareness to what we can do at Great River Arts and our arts center,” Zeck said Monday, Aug. 15.


Thursday’s annual fundraiser will include a silent auction, appetizers and a cash bar. Tickets can be purchased online for $39 per person at the Great River Arts website at www.greatart.org .

“We've been really hit hard with the pandemic, with having our doors having to be closed for approximately two-and-a-half years ... so this is critical,” Zeck said of the fundraiser.

The Great River Arts Events Venue & Center includes stage, theater and concert performances that are promoted throughout the year and the availability to rent and host personal events for a variety of occasions for business and personal special occasions.

“Ideally, the minimum I would love to raise is $10,000,” Zeck said of the fundraiser. “I have started a capital campaign fund for $5-$10 million on a GoFundMe page, and we have some major renovations that I want to expand Great River Arts on our second floor.”

The Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center recently announced the fall and winter lineup for its 2022-23 season. From now until January, the PAC will present artists of local and national renown through its Cultural Arts Series and plays with Brainerd Community Theatre.

Lara M. Moline of St. Cloud State University is The Jazz Authority’s lead singer. She has performed with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, the Chicago Pops Orchestra and with Charice Pempengco on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” according to her biography at St. Cloud State.

Laflamme has been recognized in the 2022 edition of “Who’s Who in America,” a Marquis publication, and was selected to represent Minnesota in the National School Band & Orchestra Magazine’s annual “50 Directors from 50 States Who Make a Difference in 2019.”

Great River Arts’ mission is “to enrich lives by providing arts experiences and services to the people of Morrison County and the surrounding communities.”

“Our art gallery can seat approximately comfortably about 195 to 200 people,” Zeck said. “We've hosted events in the past such as art receptions. We've done family gatherings, we've done bridal showers, baby showers — a wide variety of events.”


Zeck said of the fundraiser, “If we raise enough money, we want to donate a $250 scholarship back to at least one — if I could do two that would even be better — to Central Lakes College because we're in a partnership.”

Jonathan Laflamme
Jonathan Laflamme
Contributed / Jonathan Laflamme

Great River Arts believes that the arts can be transformative; regardless of one’s age, socio-economic status or background, according to the arts nonprofit in Little Falls.

“We also are interested in hosting events for service organizations if they're looking or needing a place to have a meeting. We want to be that venue during the week,” Zeck said of GRA’s future. “We are looking at starting our getting our art education classes back out there for 2023 as well.”

If you go

  • Who: The Jazz Authority.
  • What: “Arts Are Alive in Central MN Fundraiser” for Great River Arts.
  • When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18.
  • Where: 122 First St. SE, Little Falls.
  • Cost: $39 per person. Tickets at www.greatart.org .
  • More info: 320-632-0960, karla@greatart.org or www.greatart.org .

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .

I cover arts and entertainment, and write feature stories, for the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper. As a professional journalist with years of experience, I have won awards for my fact-based reporting. And my articles have also appeared in other publications, including USA Today. 📰
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