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Pioneer Previews: Bemidji officially opens the holiday season this Friday

Bemidji Night We Light Celebration will begin with the First City of Lights parade at 6 p.m. Friday on Beltrami Avenue. Area businesses will be open and some will be offering hot chocolate and other refreshments for sale to the parade goers. The arrival of Santa Claus and the horse drawn sleigh will signal the on-switch for the lighting of trees and on some downtown businesses. Hardy on-lookers will be well supplied with chairs, blankets, and lots of enthusiasm for this yearly event.

Tuba Christmas

TubaChristmas 2011 will mark the 38th year of brass players getting together to play traditional Christmas music at 2 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Paul Bunyan Mall. In more than 250 cities across the U.S. and scattered European cities, tuba and euphonium players will play a concert of music of traditional Christmas Carols especially arranged for the first concert by American composer Alec Wilder. Call the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts (444 5606) to register by Nov. 30. The only rehearsal will be at 10 a.m. Dec. 3 at HSMA, 519 Minnesota Ave. The participation fee is $5 and players are encouraged to decorate their instruments with a holiday theme.


-- "Fruitcakes" written by Julian Wiles will be on stage at 7 p.m. Dec. 1-3 and Dec. 8-10 and 2 p.m. Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11 at Longlake Theater in Hubbard. A family show about a 12-year old runaway boy who finds a place in the hearts of the "nuttier than fruitcakes" residents of a small town at Christmastime. Tickets are $14 adults, $7 ages 4-12 and free for lap sit children; groups of 15 or more are $12.50 per adult. Ticket reservations at or buy directly at Beagle Books in Park Rapids.

-- "It's A Wonderful Life" written by James W. Rodgers and directed by Bridget Stomberg will be presented at 7:29 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4 at the Old School Center, Kelliher. There will be pre-show music starting at 7 p.m., Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and senior citizens and free for pre-school and under. Kelliher FCCLA will be selling cookies, bars and cider for a free will donation.

Musical Events

--Brigid's Cross Irish Pub will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, there will not be an Open Stage.

"PLUS ONE" with Robin O'Reilly and Dennis Paradise will be performing at 6 p.m. today at the Cabin Coffee House and Café. O'Reilly a Bemidji High School graduate sings a crisp soprano to Paradise's smooth baritone in a mix of original material and folk songs. This event is free and open to the public.

--Lance Benson and Mark Bauer will be performing after the parade at Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant. The kitchen will close at 9 p.m. for food service.

--The WoodPicks will be in concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the historic Chief Theater in downtown Bemidji. All tickets will be sold at the door for $10.

Gallery installations

Students home for the holiday, tourists and residents, please try to see some of the exhibits at all the installations. For a complete list of venues, see Sunday's Pioneer Previews online at


-- Shadowbox Theatre Class with Margaret Burger. Tell a story with "Shadowbox Theatre," an imaginative toy theatre form that awakens in the dark of winter. Create cardboard characters, props, and scenery to move and talk your shadows to life! Classes are from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and 14 and from 10:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 3, 10 and 17. Each workshop is $5 per person for ages seven and up; sign up a few classes or a series by calling HSMA at 444-5606 or stop by to register in person.

-- Acrylic Painting workshop with Scott Fadness at 10 a.m. at the Frohn Town Hall (4.0 miles east of the former Honda Yamaha on Roosevelt Road SE) Students will learn the fundamentals of acrylic painting from composition to color. For information and a materials list call 444-9933. Class fee is $100 and class size will be limited.

-- "Winter Wonderland" at 1 p.m. Dec 17 at Gallery North with Marion Reil. Students will paint a watercolor winter nature scene of their choosing or a study will be provided. Participants will paint a winter landscape "playing with snow" using a variety of watercolor methods. Students will complete and mat a 16-inch by 20-inch picture. Class fee is $45. All materials are provided. Registrations taken at Gallery North. No experience necessary.

Grant deadline

The deadline for the Community Arts Support Grant is quickly approaching. Open to any arts organizations, these grants are two-year awards that help provide some measure of funding stability for arts organizations so that their energy can be better focused on increasing the quality and availability of the arts to their communities. Organizations can qualify to apply for up to $6,000 in funds based on their annual expenses. This grant will not be given again for another two years. Applications are available at the Region 2 Arts Council Office, 426 Bemidji Avenue, Bemidji, MN 56601 and are also available for download from http//


-- Tickets for "A Christmas Carol" by Chris Blackwood and Piers Robinson based on the novel by Charles Dickens are on sale now. A production of the Paul Bunyan Playhouse and Bemidji Community Theater, this new interpretation of the classic tale will feature Charles Dickens (Mark Christensen) as the story teller. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 11. Tickets are $6 for children and $12 for adults at Iverson Corner Drug and Ken K. Thompson Jewelry at the Mall. A non-perishable food donation for the Bemidji Food Shelf brought to the theater the day of performance will get a $1 refund on a ticket. This activity is made possible, in part, by a grant provided by the Region 2 Arts Council through funding from the Minnesota State Legislature.

-- Tickets for Bemidji State University's 43rd Annual Madrigal Dinners are on sale at the Madrigal Dinner Box Office in Bangsberg, second floor of Bangsberg. The box office hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. All tickets are $36 each. Performances are at 7 p.m. Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 and a 5 p.m. performance Dec. 4 in the Beaux Arts Ballroom in Upper Hobson Memorial Union on the campus of BSU, Birchmont Drive. Tickets are available only through advanced sale and can also be purchased by mail (Madrigal Tickets, Department of Music, 1500 Birchmont Dr.NE.#16, Bemidji, MN 56601) and include $2 for postage and handling.

Upcoming events

-- "Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz" will be topic of a book reading by its author Coyne Steven Sanders from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Fleur de Lis Gallery.

-- Traditional Blue Grass, Gospel and country music concert by the Roggenkamps from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Bemidji Public Library. Free and open to the public of all ages.

-- The Bemidji Chorale under the direction of Patricia Mason and accompanied by Wayne Hoff will give its 33rd annual Christmas Concert at 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 4 in First Lutheran Church.

-- Schoolcraft Learning Community will present its Winter Concert at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at Bemidji High School. The concert is free and open to the public. This activity is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council through funding from the Minnesota State Legislature.

-- "Messiah Holiday Concert" will begin at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at B.H.S. with singers from local choral groups and community members. Regular ticket prices apply.

-- "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier will be the next reading for the book discussions at noon Dec. 5 and 7 p.m. Dec. 8. Extra copies of the book are available at the Bemidji Public Library.