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Pioneer Previews: Bemidji Symphony Orchestra to open new season

Bemidji Symphony Orchestra will open its 2011-2012 season with "American Fun!" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at the Bemidji High School Auditorium.

The program will open with some traditional patriotic selections including Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," which will be conducted by this year's "Mystery Maestro." Then The Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome, a 12-piece classic rock horn band with vocalists, will join the BSO to produce a full-energy sound for classic rock, pop and soulful hits: Songs made popular by Chicago, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Ides of March back to the Commodes. All tickets are $10 and students ages K-12 will be admitted free. Advance sales are at Lueken's Village Foods North, Brigid's Cross Irish Pub, Art in the Park and at the door.

Art in the Park

Speaking of "Art in the Park," Bemidji's premiere summer art event will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July16, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 17, in the tree-lined Library Park on Bemidji Avenue two blocks north of Paul and Babe. The 44th annual festival will feature more than100 artists showcasing ceramics, wood furniture and accessories, jewelry, glass, paintings, sculpture, fabrics, weaving and much more. This year's event hosts more than 15 new vendors, delicious food and local art organizations sharing information about their upcoming programming.

Film screening

A screening of documentary "The Unreturned" and discussion with Director Nathan Fisher will begin at 7:30 p.m. today, July 13, at in the Wild Rose Theater, 501 Bemidji Ave. The film looks at the continuing middleclass Iraqi refugee disaster and portrays the lives of five displaced Iraqis from diverse ethnicities and religions. This event is being held in conjunction with the installation at the Fleur de Lis Gallery, "Navigating the Aftermath: The Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project." Co-sponsored by Bemidji Community Arts Center and Saarens Productions, this traveling art exhibit explores Iraq's present and future and addresses the question: "After eight years into an ongoing war in Iraq, where do we go from here?" This event is free and open to the public.

Comedy theater

"Lend Me a Tenor," a comedy written by Ken Ludwig ("Moon Over Buffalo" and "Crazy for You") is on stage at the historic Chief Theatre in downtown Bemidji. Director Zach Curtis has chosen some familiar actors such as Ari Hoptman, Karen Wiese Thompson, Ryan Parker Knox and Matthew Goinz to portray an emotional (Italian opera singer) Il Stupendo, his histrionic wife and the desperate general manager of the Cleveland Opera Company who enlists his assistant to go on stage because "the play must go on." Performances are at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, July 13-16. Tickets are $22 for adults, $15 for students and $20 for groups of 10 or more. Call box office at 751-7270 for tickets or on-line at This production is underwritten by Arrow Printing, Ken K Thompson Jewelry and Forestedge Winery. This activity is funded in whole or in part by a Region 2 Arts Council grant through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund passed by Minnesota voters on Nov. 4, 2008.

Long Lake Theater

"The Last Resort" by Norm Foster with a musical score by Leslie Arden is on stage until July 29 at the Long Lake Theater in Hubbard. A madcap mystery/comedy with on-the-run mob informant (Andy Browers), his FBI girlfriend (Sarah Bull) and twin sisters (Liz MacGregor) and the other assorted guests have the resort owner Freda Heitz (Nick Dahn) frantically busy. Director, Juliann Kjenaas, drama coach at Park Rapids High School, directed "Nunsense" and "The Kitchen Witches" at the theater in previous seasons. Gary Stennes serves as musical director and accompanist for this show. Performances will be at 3 p.m. Wednesdays until July 27 and at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday from July 13 until 29. Tickets are $16 for adults, $8 children (4-12). Box office number is 732-0099 or visit the website Reservations recommended, call 218-732-0099 or

Variety show

The Ice Box Radio Notebook will perform at 11 a.m. July 21 for Pioneer Days in Birchdale. The half-hour musical variety show featuring comedy skits about life in the Northland, with a few original songs thrown in by maestro Myron Hawrylak of Fort Frances, is timed to coincide with the serving of lunch, and right before the famed Tractor Parade. Using their new mobile broadband modem the IBRT tech team will beam the audio signal back to Sound Stages Radio which will broadcast the show live at Listeners who have iTunes can also find Sound Stages Radio in the radio section under the category, News/Talk Radio. Same-day radio coverage of the event will be featured on 91.9FM The Edge in International Falls at 7 p.m. July 21.

Loon Opera

Tickets are on sale now for Loon Opera Company production of Mozart's, "The Marriage of Figaro," sung in English, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 29 and 30, in Thompson Recital Hall of Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex, 14th Street and Birchmont Drive. Mozart's iconic opera "The Marriage of Figaro," a romantic comedy, which begins with Figaro and Susanna preparing for their wedding night, is considered one of Mozart's finest and funniest operas. Contact Abe Hunter at Loon Opera Company, 1007 Bemidji Ave., Bemidji, MN 56601 or 218-368-8805. Tickets are $25 for orchestra, $20 for balcony and $10 for partially obstructed view (first row of the balcony). This event is made possible in part by a grant from the Bemidji Area Arts Endowment, a component fund of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.

Choral concert

The Walker Area Foundation Chorale will hold its "Taste of Broadway III" fundraiser beginning at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, with a social hour and gourmet dinner. The 8 p.m. musical show will feature selections from Broadway shows and classic American tunes by the Walker Area Chorale with accompaniment by Wayne Hoff at the Northern Lights Casino. Tickets are $50 per person or $500 per table of 10. For reservations, call 218-547-2865.

Musical events

- Bemidji Area Church Musicians will present musicians Lois Simonson on piano and Deanna Murphy on cello at 12 noon today at the Evangelical Covenant Church, 5405 U.S. Highway 2 West (across from the Bemidji Theatre). A free will offering will be accepted in support of the music scholarships given each year. A luncheon will be served following the concert for a nominal cost.

- Hippies and Whiskey will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, July 15, to Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant, 317 Beltrami Ave. N.W., led by local musical artists Caleb, Ian and Adam, bring classic rock to a whole new level. The tightly woven group of four is catapulted by the Allman-esque quality infused in Caleb's voice.

- "Mudsong," a swamp tale sung in the blues, will be performed at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at the Cabin Coffeehouse and Cafe, 214 Third St. N.W., if it rains or if the state park shutdown continues. Craig Haugen, Peter Mc Donnell, Mary Overlie, Aaron Schnackenberg, Aaron Tank and Augusta Volstad will tell the story of "The Wizard of Oz" in the Northwoods with songs about the loon, duck, muskrat, otter and wolf, instead of the familiar Tin Man, etc. For a preview of the show, look at www.maryo.orgmudsong. This activity is made possible in part by a Region 2 Arts Council Individual Artist Grant with funding from the McKnight Foundation.

- Jake Jackson and Friends will perform at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant.

- Tickets are on sale now for the Bluegrass Band "Special Consensus," who will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 17, on the Marilyn Shutter County Stage at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds, U.S. Highway 71 N. This band has played to standing ovations at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., and recognized as one of the premiere groups in the country. This four-man acoustic band began performing in Chicago in 1975 and started national tours after the release of their first album in 1979. Their CD "35" was released in celebration of their 35 years of performing and recording by Compass Records in 2010. The seating is limited as the venue is intimate so pre-purchase of tickets is recommended. The $15 tickets are available now at Overbeeks Electronics, Kelsey's Jewelry and Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant or by calling 209-7884.


- Region 2 Arts Council will hold the following grant writing workshops Thursday, July 14, at the office, 426 Bemidji Ave.: 5-6:30 p.m., Individual Artist Grant and McKnight Career Development Fellowship; 6:30-7:30 p.m., Arts and Cultural Heritage Grant; and 7:30-8:30 p.m., Arts Project Grant and Community Arts Support Grant. All workshops are free, but registration is required at 751-5447 or 1-800-275-5447 or email

- "Summer Friend II" painting on a feather workshop will be held from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at Gallery North with Marion Caroline. Participants will finish painting a feather of a monarch butterfly hovering over a blooming thistle. The fee is $45 and all materials will be provided. Registration at Gallery North, 502 Third St. N.W., No prior experience is required.

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