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Pioneer Previews: MPR seeks young classical musicians

Minnesota Public Radio is seeking young classical musicians; vocalists, instrumental soloists and small ensembles for the "Minnesota Varsity."

The program will accept recordings from young artists, ages 14 to 18 for a pre-screening by the classical MPR staff, and 15 to 20 will be chosen to work with a professional recording engineer to produce a high-quality recording. The recording will be played for a panel of celebrity judges including Nicholas McGegan (Saint Paul chamber Orchestra), Sarah Hicks (Minnesota Orchestra), John Birge, Brian Newhouse and Steve Staruch (Classical MPR) and others not yet named. The judges will choose five performers for the Showcase Round and they will be asked to perform live at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul April 17. For all requirements and information, check online at beginning Jan 3. The timeframe for submitting the recordings is Jan. 3 to Feb. 15. Minnesota Varsity is made possible, in part, by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Jazz concert

"Jingle Jazz I" will begin at 7:30 p.m. today, Dec. 8, in Thompson Recital Hall of the Bangsberg Fine and Performing Arts Complex on the campus of Bemidji State University, Birchmont Drive and 14th Street Northeast.

Book discussion

Photographer Aaron W. Hautala will speak on his new book, "The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition," as written by Michael Nordskog, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, at the Cabin Coffee House, 214 Third St. N.W. There is no admission charge.

TV series

Common Ground, a magazine show which demonstrates the creative process of various artists living in this region, will air at 7 p.m. Thursdays on Lakeland Public TV. Featured this week is Nisswa Stämman, a Scandinavian Music Festival that focuses on celebrating Scandinavian culture to reconnect the area with its roots. Dean Davis of Bemidji makes birch bark crafts. Plus, stroll through the streets of Walker for a lesson in history. The shows will be repeated at 6 p.m. Sundays and at 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays, following the initial broadcast. Videos of past shows are also available on line at Click on Common Ground for past episodes. This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2008.

Vocal performance

Friday Nite Hippie Hour with the seven women singing group, Baba Yaga, will play from 8-11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at Brigid's Cross Irish Pub, 317 Beltrami Ave. N.W. For more information about the show, please see Staff Blogs on the home page of and scroll down to Bemidji Arts News or

Comedy club

The Hampton Inn and Suites will again offer a comedy club in the South Shore Conference Center Friday, Dec. 10, featuring headliner Tim Harmston for two "Comedy for a Cause" shows that will again benefit the United Way of Bemidji Area. Shows will be at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday with a cash bar available. Tickets are $15, with $5 from each ticket going to the United Way. For tickets, stop by the United Way office, 201 Third St. N.W. on the second floor of the Wells Fargo building, or the Hampton Inn, 1019 Paul Bunyan Drive S., or call the United Way at 444-8929 or the Hampton at 333-4499.

Standard comedy shows have three comedians: a headliner, a feature act and an emcee. The opener for the show will be Ben San Del, a former newspaper reporter and humor columnist in Crookston and Mankato, Minn., who performs at comedy clubs and colleges throughout the Midwest. San Del won the Funniest Person in the Twin Cities contest in 2006 and is popular in the Twin Cities comedy and theater scene. With a mix of intellectual humor and playfully immature wit, he lampoons today's "self-help" culture. In August, his play "A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex" was the fifth best-selling performance out of 169 shows in the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

The headliner for the show will be Tim Harmston, who won Acme Comedy Company's Funniest Person in the Twin Cities contest. He won a Silver Nail award at the 2008 Rooftop Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colorado and performed at the 2009 Great American Comedy Festival at the Johnny Carson Theater. His TV appearances have included NBC's "Last Comic Standing," Comedy Central's "Live at Gotham" and "The Bob and Tom Show" on WGN. Harmston goes from whimsical to satirical to abstract in a blend of stories, observations and one-liners. His topics range from sports to politics to growing up in Wisconsin.

Folk music

Timberline with Kari Munson and John Essig will be playing and singing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Farmers' Market in the old Burger King building on Paul Bunyan Drive.

Library program

Santa Claus is coming to town at our local Bemidji Public Library from 10:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11. Santa will tell stories and listen to wishes from area children. This event is free and open to the public.

Christmas concert

Community Christmas Concert will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, in Thompson Recital Hall.

Schoolcraft concert

Schoolcraft Learning Community Winter Concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13, at Bemidji High School. The public is invited to the concert which will showcase the choirs, orchestras and French programs. Admission is free. This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council through funding from the Minnesota State Legislature.

Open house events

- Towley Woodworking 2nd Annual Holiday Open House will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, and continue through the weekend until Dec. 12. Kathy and Dave Towley invite the public to their open house for refreshments, good company and an array of hand-tooled wooden items. Take U.S. 71 South for 3 miles, turn right onto North Plantagenet Road (Beltrami County Road 2) and drive 5.9 miles to 50088 County Road 29 or just follow the signs.

- Jewelry artist Monica Hansmeyer and fabric artist MaryTherese Peterson will hold their fourth annual "Holiday Time Sale," from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 10, at 1006 Beltrami Ave. N.W. (periwinkle blue house). The public is invited for some sips, snacks, and handmade art while listening to local musicians playing on and off throughout the day.

- "Cookies by the Pound," a fundraiser at Blackduck History and Art Center, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11. There will be a large variety of specialty goodies and the public is invited to view the historic displays and gift shop and the Tin Pan Art gALLEry. The center is located in downtown Blackduck.

Stocking stuffers

The Paul Bunyan Playhouse is offering stocking stuffers of a gift certificate for the coming 2011 summer season: "Forever Plaid," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Lend Me a Tenor," "21A" by Kevin Kling and "The Full Monty." To receive the gift certificate, send a $100 check per person to the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, 314 Beltrami Ave. NW or email them at

Holiday shows

Tickets are on sale now for holiday shows in Bemidji, Akeley and Hubbard.

- "A Christmas Carol" at the Historic Chief Theater in downtown Bemidji. Director Greg Gasman has taken favorite scenes from seven previous productions and written a version of the original play with a new twist. Based upon the original story by Charles Dickens, Gasman and his players have twisted this "yarn" into an original tapestry with stories, music and singing on stage and in the audience. A family show that is suitable for all ages is a collaboration among Bemidji Community Theater, KG Entertainment and the Paul Bunyan Playhouse. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 10 and 11. Tickets are $10 general admission and $8 for seniors and students and are available now at Harmony Natural Food Co-op, The Wild Hare Bistro, Brigid's Irish Cross Pub and at the door. For more information about the play and a listing of the actors, please see Staff Blogs on home page of Bemidji and scroll down to Bemidji Arts News or

- The Minnesota Folklore Theater in Akeley will have on stage a Victorian living room and the story of "The Night Before Christmas," an original script written by artistic director Fred Rogers. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and at 3 p.m. Saturdays and runs at 7:30 p.m. from Dec. 9 through Dec. 18. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for children and may be reserved on-line at or call 652-2666. The theater is located in downtown Akeley at 6 Broad Street E. For more information about the play, please see Staff Blogs on home page of Bemidji and scroll down to Bemidji Arts News or

- Long Lake Theater in Hubbard (south of Park Rapids) will welcome "Ole and Lena's -It's a Wonderful Life," Minnesota's favorite Scandinavian couple. Ole's dreams of escaping a small, northern Minnesota town and pursuing adventure in the wild Midwest are repeatedly quashed. On Christmas Eve, Ole's guardian angel descends to save him from despair and remind him that this is, after all, a wonderful life. Performances are Dec. 9-12 and tickets are $14 for adults, $7 for children 4-12 and $12.50 for groups. Call 218-732-0099 or e-mail at They will reply with a confirmation of your reservation. For directions to the theater, see website

- Tickets for the 42nd Annual Bemidji State University Madrigal Dinner are on sale now. This event which heralds in the Yuletide season with final performances at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10 and 11, in the Beaux Arts Ballroom of the Hobson Memorial Union. The $35 admission prices includes a five course dinner, a Renaissance royal court in an English castle, the king's players, minstrels, trouvères, cellar keepers and beggars. Tickets are only sold through advanced sales and may be purchased in person at the box office located on the second floor of Bangsberg Hall. The hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

- "When Super Grover loses his superness, Sesame Street needs a hero! Never fear, Elmo and his team of Healthy Heroes are here. Teaching lessons of healthy habits through song and dance, Elmo, Abby Cadabby and your favorite Sesame Street friends will explore exercise, nutrition, sleep/energy and hygiene - all in a quest to put the "super" back in Super Grover. It's Elmo's Healthy Heroes to the rescue!" The new event center will welcome Grover and his friends this December: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 28, and 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 29, The Sanford Center, 1111 Event Center Drive N.E. Tickets are $11, $15 and $20. A limited number of $25 Gold Circle seats and $45 Sunny Seats (premium seat location and a pre-show meet-and-greet with two of the Sesame Street Live friends) are also available. A facility fee of $1 will be added to all ticket prices. Additional fees and discounts may apply. For more information, call 218-441-4000. To charge tickets by phone, please call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. Tickets may also be purchased online at For information online, please visit New information on group ticket prices for the children's matinee at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, daycare/school groups of more than 10 are $9 per ticket. Groups of more than 10 save $3 per ticket for all other performances. These discount prices exclude Gold Circle and Sunny Seats and includes a $1 facility fee.


- Marion Caroline will teach a class in Painting a Winter Cardinal on a real game farm feather. The Class will be held at Gallery North from 1-4pm. Saturday, Dec 18. All materials will be provided, and students will complete and frame a cardinal painted on a feather. The class fee is $45 with a $5 discount given to pre-paid registrations. For more information call 218-333-6880 or e-mail

- Arts Workshop funds are available from Region 2 Arts Council. The "No-Risk" Workshops" are coordinated through R2AC who will assist with registration and other aspects of the program. "No Risk" means there is no financial risk to the applicant. The workshop must focus on learning experiences for adult learners and be open to the public. Any group that wants to bring in an artist to do a workshop is eligible, as are regional artists who wish to present a workshop themselves. Proposals are considered on an ongoing basis but funds are limited. Please contact staff of Region 2 Arts Council at 751-45447 or 1-800-275-5447 or e-mail

Art exhibits

- Bad Cat Creations Gallery and Gifts, featured artist for December is Malisa VanMaasdam and her exhibit, "Water, Wood and Wire," a collection of sculptural pieces created from drift wood from Lake Michigan combined with wire and watercolor mono-prints. Bad Cat Creations is a boutique featuring the work of more than 50 artists in fine art and craft and is located at 315 Irvine Ave N.W.

- Bemidji Community Art Center features selected works from "It's Only Clay -2010," a national juried ceramics competition focusing on functional ceramics. Some of the works will be available for purchase and on display through Dec. 18. This activity is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council through funding from the McKnight Foundation. Shop 426 has a wide selection of fine art and craft items in their holiday boutique. Visit the Art Center and Shop 426 at 426 Bemidji Ave N. or at or contact them at (218) 444-7570 or at Hours are noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday.

- Beltrami County Historical Society in conjunction with Gallery North presents "Winter Wonderland" until the end of December. The History Center is located at 130 Minnesota Avenue S.W. in the historic James J. Hill Great Northern Depot. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Saturday. For more information 219-444-3376 or

- Bemidji Public Library has on display for December, "Art in Childcare," 100 pictures from children ages 2-6 from 20 local child care providers. The library is located at 509 America Ave. N.W. and is open Monday-Saturday.

- Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant invites the public to view the bright floral watercolors of Angela Shogren for December. The pub is open at 11 a.m. Monday-Saturday.

- Cabin Coffee House and Café welcomes Jane Carlstrom and her exhibit, "Works in Wood and Wire," a collection of sculptural pieces created with natural fibers and fabrics, and recycled/up cycled fabrics. There are also kits developed by Carlstrom for different skill levels to explore handiwork. Also on display and for sale are paintings and cards by Audrey Merschman. Located at 214 Third Street, the Cabin is open seven days a week.

- Dunn Bros Coffee presents Nora Peterson and her collection of watercolors and defined-line work. Also on display are ceramic pieces by Josh Boock. Featured wines of the month have been added to the menu. Dunn Bros is open seven days a week at 501 Paul Bunyan Drive S. Call (218) 444-5252 or visit

- Gallery North will showcase featured artist R.J. Cummings of Detroit Lakes for December. Cummings specializes in scenic oil paintings and graphic design and is well known in the Lakes area as an accomplished artist and on occasions teaches scenic oil painting classes. The annual Christmas boutique is open and features a large variety of unique and affordable holiday items. The Gallery website at features member artists, artwork and information on upcoming events. The gallery is located 502 Third St. N.W.

- Glazed & Amused - Paint your Own Pottery Studio located at 311 Third St. N.W. has a window display featuring beautiful ceramic pieces painted by the customers. Walk-in painters are welcome. For more information call 333-6880 or e-mail

- Fleur de Lis Gallery located in the Wild Rose Theater, 501 Bemidji Ave., invites you to view two pictures by comedienne Phyllis Diller and the mixed media, watercolors, oil pastels, pottery and photography. The gallery also carries books from local and regional authors and CDs from local and regional musicians. The gallery is open from 2-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday, during events and by appointment.

- Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 522 America Ave. N.W., welcomes Malisa VanMaasdam for December. Malisa's drawings focus on the human figure and explore the many facets of human nature. The exhibit is open on Sundays and by appointment, 751-9654.

- Lueken's Village Foods North will showcase the work of Maureen O'Brian and her impressions of the importance of nature to the human spirit in her paintings at the gallery on the hall next to the conference room.

- North Country Health Services Art Committee presents a group exhibition entitled, "Pathways - The Art of Bemidji State University," by art students of Natalia Himmirska. The works includes a variety of techniques and media and will show a spectrum from realistic to abstract by students in all levels of experience. This special display will be up November-January for the pleasure of residents, families, staff and the community at large. Artwork will be for sale and a price list will be provided at the reception desk. The Bistro at WoodsEdge is featuring new gift items by Dave and Kathy Towley, local artisans known for their fine craft wood turnings (bowls, plates, platters, pots, and vessels) in a variety of wood with a mineral oil and beeswax finish which is food safe. The Towley's woodwork will be on display and for sale through February. The Bistro at WoodsEdge is located just inside the front entryway to Neilson Place at WoodsEdge, on the North Country Health Services Senior Living Campus, 1000 Anne St. NW. For more information, e-mail

- Wild Hare Coffee House and Bistro, 523 Minnesota Ave. N.W., welcomes Timothy Brockman and his work, "Forest Quilts: Patterns in Boxes and Boards," a collection of cutting boards and boxes that focus on the visual delight of utilitarian wooden art objects for the month of December. The coffee house is open six days a week, closed on Sunday.

- Headwaters School of Music and the Arts, 519 Minnesota Ave. N.W., has on display works of watercolor artist Judy Selby.

- Tutto Bene, 300 Beltrami Ave. N.W., a restaurant and art gallery, has an ongoing display of new art work by Michael De Witt, Jane Freeman, Terry Honstead, Beverlee Olson, Mary Therese Peterson, Judy Selby, Pat Shough (Sillimandi) Michael Thomas Sunnarborg and MaryBeth Vaudrin for viewing pleasure and sale. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and is closed on Sunday.

- Tourist Information Center, 300 Bemidji Ave. by the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe, has a map and information on the pieces included in the Bemidji Sculpture Walk.

Upcoming events

- Dec. 18, 10:30 a.m., Anne Dune, an Anishinaabe elder and story teller, at the Blackduck Public Library, downtown Blackduck.

- Dec. 18, Christmas "Blast from the Past" including a visit from Santa Claus, movie at the Blackduck Theatre and a sleigh ride. Fundraiser for the Blackduck History and Art Center.

- Dec. 18, 7-10 p.m., Timberline at Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant.

- Jan. 7, 7 p.m., Anton Treuer will speak on his new book, "The Assassination of Hole in the Day."

- Jan. 8, 6-10 p.m., Timberline at the Solway Bar and Grill.

- Brigid's Cross Irish Pub hosts Katie Corning from 7:30-9:30 p.m. every Wednesday.

- Brigid's Cross Irish Pub hosts Open Stage, 8-11:30 p.m. every Thursday. Call 444-0567 for more information.

- Pelican Railroad, 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. every Wednesday at the Backyard BBQ, 119 Third Str. N.W.

- Northern Artist Association meets at 12:30 p.m. the third Monday of the month at the Eagles Club. The public is invited to attend. For information call 759-2952.

- Headwaters Basketmakers Guild meets on third Saturday of the month, contact

Announcements of arts and entertainment events may be sent to the Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56619-0455 or e-mailed to