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Christmas in Bemidji 3.0: ‘Northwoods Winter’ CD features local artists

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Don Zieman2 / 8
Sonny Johnson3 / 8
Greg Gaston4 / 8
Corey Medina, left, and Gary Broste5 / 8
Eric Sundeen6 / 8
Sarah Sundeen7 / 8
Lance Benson8 / 8

BEMIDJI—How would Santa and Mrs. Claus handle retirement, and what would happen to the reindeer?

That's what Caige Jambor contemplated as he wrote a song for "Northwoods Winter: Christmas in Bemidji, Volume III" a CD project that raises money for scholarships provided to young aspiring musicians.

Jambor's song, "The Last Christmas," is one of 12 tracks on the new CD. He will perform it and also serve as emcee at the CD release concert Saturday, Dec. 1, at Headwaters Music & Arts in downtown Bemidji.

"The Last Christmas" sounds rather ominous, but Jambor says the song carries a positive message without being too serious.

"I listened to a few Christmas compilations," he said, "and one thing I noticed that it's usually a lot of classic Christmas cover songs. So I kind of wanted to something a little different. You know, Santa Claus is an old man. What would happen if he and Mrs. Claus put in for retirement, and where would the reindeer go? Just kind of a satirical take. I didn't want to scare any kids about Santa Claus retiring, so I put kind of a positive spin on the end as well."

The ending lyrics include: "Even with Santa living like every day is summer, we still have love and kindness we can give to each other."

Jambor also had to do some interesting research on Santa's reindeer.

"It's the first time I ever had to look up the gender of the reindeer," he said. "There's a website for that. I wanted it to be kind of light and bubbly so I put a light, upbeat melody to it. Make it a happy song."

Caige JamborJambor, 26, is a 2011 graduate of Bemidji High School and a 2014 graduate of BSU. He is a teacher at Schoolcraft Learning Community charter school and a social and emotional learning specialist at Peacemaker Resources. He recently released his self-produced CD, "Caige," and performs regularly in the Bemidji area.

The release concert will feature performances by a selection of artists off the album. Emceed by Jambor with Dan Will, the lineup will include Kristi Miller with Miriam Tell; Sonny Johnson with Josh Jones and Aidan Anderson; John Henningsgaard with Doyle Turner; and Lance Benson.

The event also includes a silent auction, appetizers and a cash bar courtesy of Brigid's Pub.

Proceeds from the event and CD sales will go to the Headwaters Music & Arts scholarship program.

"The list of performers on the docket for that evening is fantastic," Jambor said. "It's a great slice of Bemidji talent. If you can do what you love to do and have that impact people beyond your scope, that's the American dream. To have people play and perform music to help other people play and perform music, that's kind of an awesome full cycle."

The CD was produced by Troy Foss, owner of Supple Studios in Bemidji, with help from Lance Benson. Artwork for the project was done by Diamond Knispel, art program coordinator and art instructor at Headwaters.

"Everybody donates their time and talent to the project," Foss said. "It's artists helping future artists."

Tricia Andrews, executive director at Headwaters, said the CD project is the organization's largest fundraiser.

"It's important to us that the event and the CD launch concert kind of go together," Andrew said. "It supports our music scholarship programs. We have a few different ways that we offer scholarships, with reduced fees, tax credit loan program or sibling discounts. We use it in a variety of ways.

"The performers volunteered their time and talent for the CD, and it's the same for the concert," Andrews added. "It's a bit of a celebration. We try to treat them well and acknowledge their contributions. But in reality they are just giving again by performing. It's a pretty special night."

Here's a list of the songs and performers from the CD in the order they appear:

1. "Santa Claus is Back in Town." Performed by Sonny Johnson of Bemidji, who played every instrument on the track.

2. "The Last Christmas." Written and performed by Caige Jambor.

3. "O Come, All Ye Faithful." Performed by Jarrod Norvold, a worship leader from Walker.

4. "We Three Kings." An all-percussion piece performed by husband and wife Eric and Sarah Sundeen of Bemidji.

5. "Home for Christmas." Written and performed by Lance Benson of Bemidji.

6. "Christmas in the Country." Written and performed by Franklin Mullen of Red Lake, Ontario.

7. "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire). Performed by Donna Gaston, Greg Gaston, Pat Riley, Steve Konecne and Dan Will.

8. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Performed by the Bemidji Jazz Quartet: Greg Gaston, Pat Riley, Steve Konecne and Daniel Nelson.

9. "In the Bleak Midwinter." Performed by Kristi Miller, Miriam Tell and Kate Tesar of Bemidji.

10. "O Holy Night." Performed by Andrew Weems and Evan Gerbracht of Bagley.

11. "Chromium Sky." Written by Don Zieman of Bemidji, performed by Zieman, Doyle Turner, Ken Nichols and John Henningsgaard.

12. "Joseph's Lament." Written by Corey Medina of Bemidji, performed by Medina, Gary Broste and Eric Sundeen.

If you go:

What: Northwoods Winter CD Release Concert

When: Saturday, Dec. 1. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., music starts at 8.

Where: Headwaters Music & Arts. 519 Minnesota Ave. NW

Cost: $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Available by phone at (218) 444-5606 or online at headwatersmusicandarts.org