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Pioneer Previews for Dec. 1: Bevy of arts events to keep us as busy as bees

BEMIDJI — It’s going to take a lot of fine timing to fit in as many events of the season that Bemidji has to offer again this year.

The Madrigal Dinners at Bemidji State University begin this week; you should have already purchased your ticket as no tickets are sold at the door. Long Lake Theater opens its traditional production of “A Christmas Carol” in Hubbard. Although a bit of a ride from Bemidji, the productions are always worth the effort to get there. Bemidji Community Theater, in collaboration with the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, opens this Friday with “The King and I,” a Rogers and Hammerstein musical with community members. First Friday venues, Gallery North and the Watermark Art Center are hoping that people will stop by and do some Christmas shopping, taking advantage of their unique offerings from local artisans. There are three different opportunities to see and hear youngsters in concert this week; these shows are not just for parents. And book signings with local authors, again just in time for Christmas buying. Who doesn’t enjoy the TUBACHRISTMAS musical, where the players decorate their instruments in holiday attire.


The Bemidji Public Library Readers Group will meet at noon to discuss “The Soul of All Living Creatures” by Vint Verga.


Local author Polly Keith Scotland will hold a book signing from 4 to 6 p.m. at Kat’s Book Nook, 750 Paul Bunyan Drive. NW. “By Foot, Pedal or Paddle” is a collection of essays featuring the adventures of the author and her husband in the wilderness, a precious resource that is disappearing at a staggering rate.

The public is invited to the Headwaters Youth Orchestra Recital at 6 p.m. at 519 Minnesota Ave. This event is free.

Schoolcraft Learning Community presents its Winter Concert at 6:30 p.m. at the Bemidji High School auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public and will showcase the choirs, orchestras and French program.


Long Lake Theater in Hubbard opens it’s holiday production, “A Christmas Carol,” a traditional presentation with Dicken’s Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation directed by Bryan Gallagher. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 12-14 and 3 p.m. matinees on Dec. 7,8,14,15. Tickets are on sale now at Beagle Books, online at or by calling (218) 732-0099.


Watermark Art Center (formerly BCAC) at 426 Beltrami Ave. kicks off the holiday season with its annual Holiday Open House and Ornament sale from noon to 5 p.m.with holiday refreshments, free gift wrap and more. Shop 426 features handmade art work by local artisans. Give the gift of art by purchasing a donated one-of-a-kind holiday ornaments, the proceeds from the sale go toward programming and children’s arts events. The standing installation is the 11th annual “It’s Only Clay” juried ceramic show. Much of the work is for sale, including pieces by juror Andrea Leila. Watermark Art Center will be closed Dec. 22 through the new year.

First Friday events continue at Gallery North with the Christmas Boutique and featured gallery artists for the month: Marie Hamre, who founded the Northwood Tatting Guild and Kathy Sanders, an oil painter of florals and gourd art. Meet the artists during the 2 to 5 p.m. reception at 502 Third St.

Wild Hare Coffeehouse and Bistro will host Marlon Davidson and Don Knutson and their installation “New Collaborations,” a collection of their dimensional, mixed media wall pieces known for their sophisticated content and harmony. The exhibit will be up for December and January. Meet the artists during the 3 to 5 p.m. reception at 523 Minnesota Ave. NW. There will be no First Friday wine bar and dinner December or January.

The Bemidji Public Library welcomes Judith Selby and her exhibit of watercolors,”Journey.” Meet the artist during the 3:30 to 5 p.m. reception at 509 America Ave.

Headwaters Science Center will host an exhibit of the unique beadwork of Anita Merritt executed in the Victorian style of beading. Her beaded insect creations are also based on natural designs worked on wire. Meet the artist during the 5 to 6 p.m. reception for a showcase of her work and demonstration of the simple daisy stitch at 413 Beltrami Ave.

Cabin Coffee House will present the work of photographer Joanna Johnson, “Poetry in Photo,” a collection of relatable photos, juxtaposed to create stories, evoke emotions or make a statement. Meet the artist during the 4 to 5 p.m. reception at 214 Third St.

Bemidji Brewing Co. will present local author Daniel J. Rice, who will be hosting a book release party for his novel, “This Side of a Wilderness” from 4 to 9 p.m. The author promises to buy a beer for anyone who buys a copy of his book at the taproom, located at 401 Beltrami Ave.

Ravenrock Gallery of Jewelry and Fine Art will present Kathy Gustafson and Don Houseman for the month of December. Meet the artists during the 4:30 to 6 p.m.reception to discuss the new directions in their artwork in exploring new methods, subjects and media. The reception will be held at 1000 Paul Bunyan Drive, Suite 102.

The Rail River Folk School and Drew Warne-Jacobson will host the Northwood Folk Collective Open State offering an opportunity to share stories, music, poetry and other performance art with an attentive, intergenerational audience. Sign-up begins at 6:30 and open mic starts at 7:30 p.m. at 303 Railroad St. SW, Suite B

Bemidji Community Theater in collaboration with the Paul Bunyan Playhouse will present Rogers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Chief Theater, 314 Beltrami Ave. NW. The audience will be swept away to 19th century Siam as seen through the eyes of British governess Anna, who was brought to Siam by the King. He wanted to protect and educate his family in western ways. Local actors will portray the king’s family and sing the familiar songs “Hello Young Lovers” and “Getting to Know You,” under the musical direction of Karen Bradley. Director Mary Knox Johnson, known for her elaborate sets and costumes, will not disappoint in this production based on Margaret Landon’s 1944 novel, “Anna and the King of Siam,” taken from the memoirs of Anna Leonowers. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children (17 and younger) and are on sale now at Shannon’s Art and Soul and Iverson’s Corner Drug in downtown Bemidji and Ken K. Thompson at the mall.


The Watermark Arts Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.for their annual holiday open house and ornament sale.

First City Writers Bloc (Louane Beyer, Joanna Dymond, Deborah Jensen, Jeanette Lukowski and Cecelia Wattles McKeig) will hold a special holiday book signing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Book World in downtown Bemidji.

TUBACHRISTMAS will be performed at 1 p.m. at the Paul Bunyan Mall.

The Bemidji State University chapter of the National Association for Music Educators will present a special holiday concert at 3 p.m. in Thompson Recital Hall at Bangsberg Fine and Performing Arts Complex, Fourteenth Street and Birchmont Drive. Special guest musicians will be students from the middle school.

Fundraiser to Save the Bemidji Carnegie Library from 2 to 3:30 p.m at First Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, Ninth Street and Bemidji Avenue. Local author and historian Cecelia Wattles McKeig will share stories about Bemidji’s history with musical entertainment, refreshments and door prizes. Tickets are $20 in advance at City Hall or the Chamber of Commerce and $25 at the door.

Bemidji Community Theater in collaboration with the Paul Bunyan Playhouse will present Rogers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Chief Theater, 314 Beltrami Ave. NW.


Beltrami History Center features artwork from the artists of Gallery North and their new installation, “Trails Through Time,” an exhibit that showcases county history from the time of glacial recession to the mid-20th century. The winter hours, now through the end of March, are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays or by appointment for group visits and research by calling 444-3376.

Neilson Place presents “Walking Through Nature” by Maureen O’Brien continuing through February. Neilson Place is located on the Sanford WoodsEdge campus, 1000 Anne St. NW.

Upcoming Events

The Bemidji Chorale will be holding its 34th annual winter concert Dec. 8 and it will be at a new location this year, Calvary Lutheran Church, with director Patricia Mason and accompanist Wayne Hoff. The program will feature John Rutter’s “Gloria” with brass, organ and timpani. BSU professors of music, baritone Cory Renbarger and cellist Patrick Riley will join the chorale in Ralph William’s “Fantasia on Christmas Carols.” Mason’s penchant for choosing a varied program is given full sway this year with violinist Melanie Hanson in a solo “fiddle tune.” Director Sutton Steward’s Walker School Choir will be singing as guests of the chorale. The concerts will begin at 3 and 7 p.m. at 2508 Washington Ave, SE and is open to the public at no cost. This activity is funded as part of the Legacy Amendment. A free will offering will be accepted by members of the chorale after the concert.

Bemidji Symphony Orchestra’s annual Holiday Celebrations and Messiah Sing-Along at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 in the main auditorium of Bemidji High School.