Patt Rall Column: Two top choices for today

The two choices for today are both musical and family friendly. The first choice is the Bemidji Community Theater production of "Hello, Dolly" at 2 p.m. at the historic Chief Theater in downtown Bemidji. The other first choice is the Bemidji Symp...

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The two choices for today are both musical and family friendly.

The first choice is the Bemidji Community Theater production of "Hello, Dolly" at 2 p.m. at the historic Chief Theater in downtown Bemidji. The other first choice is the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra's, third concert of the season, "Passionate Journeys" at 3 p.m. in the Bemidji High School Performing Arts Center. The difference between the two is simply the time they begin. The only way to see both of them is to get tickets for next Sunday's matinee of "Hello, Dolly" if you choose the symphony.

The Bemidji Symphony Orchestra is bringing back rock violinist Aaron Meyer and guitarist Tim Ellis return for a rocking good time when the Celtic, rock and jazz musicians heat up the stage. The duo will also perform their interpretation of the beloved "Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky. Individual concert tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 62 and older, $10 for college students with a valid ID, K-12 students admitted free.

"Hello, Dolly," a production of Bemidji Community Theater, will begin at 2 p.m. today for the first of two Sunday matinees. Tickets for this family friendly musical will be on sale at the door starting at 1 p.m.: $6 for children and $12 for adults. For information on tickets, call 755-8942 and leave a message, your call will be returned. As is the reputation of BCT's lavish productions, this show will not disappoint. The set as constructed by Dwayne Johnson, consists of three complete scenes mounted on a large revolve. The picture in Thursday's Pioneer showed the inside of Horace Vandergelder's hardware store in Yonkers. The musical direction by Karen Bradley with accompaniment by Wayne Hoff is top-notch as always, bringing to the stage accomplished singers such as Julie Kaiser, Charles (Chuck) Deeter, Mary Anderson, Kari Grace, Steven Mayer, Mikaela Weshoff, Jeffrey Willis and Joe Vene in leading roles. Marilyn Hood from Bagley, noted for her directorial successes at Bagley High School, is in the ensemble and doing a yeoman's job at costuming. Once again, I am amazed by the professional look of the whole production albeit accomplished by community members, for example Sophie Warrick, a junior at BHS is the director's intern and is also the youth advisor on the BCT board. Mary Knox Johnson, the director, has once again pulled together a disparate group of experienced actors and youth into a cohesive troupe. Well done, Mary!

Some of the performances of the 47th annual Madrigal Dinners with the Bemidji Choir are close to sold out, so said Bradley Logan, professor of vocal music at BSU. The cast is already chosen and the beggars, maidens, servants, wandering minstrels, and Royal Court will be ready to regale the guests in music and song. The cost of a ticket is $38 and well worth the price for a feast from the Royal kitchen and the production, which includes a masque (play). Tickets are on sale now for the performances on Dec. 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12, contact the ticket office at (218) 755-3406 for further information or you can send in your order to Madrigal Tickets, Dept. of Music, 1500 Birchmont Dr. NE No. 16, Bemidji 56601-2699.


Signed copies of Marley Kaul's book, "Letters to Isabella," are on sale at Watermark Art Center's shop for $30. The color prints in the book are excellent and collector worthy. When you are at the gallery, don't miss out on this year's national functional ceramic exhibit, "It's Only Clay." It is exceptional this year and well worth the effort to get there and possibly purchase a piece. The installation will be up until Dec. 22. Stocking stuffer gifts will be for sale shortly at the gallery along with their fine selection of artwork from local artisans.

And last, but certainly not least, is a review of the jazz musicians of the past as portrayed by members of Jazz Atavist and special guests. Last Friday night, to an appreciative audience, we got to see and hear the likes of famous jazz musicians. Eric Gustafson, piano, played in the styles of Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck; complete with glasses and attire. The second member of the trio, Patrick Riley, plucked the strings of his double bass in the style of Ray Brown and Eugene Wright, with his own jazz interpretation. Percussionist Fred Kiesel replicated the rhythms of Ed Thigpen. Dan Nelson, guitarist, strummed Joe Pass and Chamin Correa, a young Mexican musician. Josh May, featured trumpeter, stood in for Miles Davis in "Four." "Take Five" was interpreted by Frank Olson and Greg Gaston in the style of saxophonist Paul Desmond and drummer Joe Morello. Joao Gilberto (George McConnell) sang to the "Girl from Ipanema" in Portuguese to a soft spoken, soft singing Jennifer Olson.

Whatever you do in the future, be sure to see a performance of Jazz Atavist for they are precise in their music and setting. They started the concert with early jazz musicians set in a supper club with a shimmering gold background and round tables with twin chairs; reminiscent of the famous Copacabana in Manhattan. The musicians dressed in tuxedos for the beginning numbers including "Cotton Tail," "Easy Listening Blues," "It Ain't Necessarily So" and "Who Can I Turn To?" The off-stage announcer Mark Christensen filled the time it took for the group to change into sport coats and finally just shirts. I especially enjoyed Riley's black suspenders over his dark merlot shirt; I think it was merlot. Did I get your enthusiasm up for the next performance of this ensemble? I hope so because it will be an event not to be missed for it was well-researched and performed by seasoned musicians.

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