Saturday, June 20, 2015

Disney's Little Mermaid Wants Out of the Sea


A mermaid that wishes she was free of her water world and part of what is going on above the waves. That’s the story behind this Disney classic. “The Little Mermaid Jr.” musical is a special adaptation for young people and will be our annual visit for the young and young at heart from the Stage Theatre Company. Presented in Bigfork, it brings the magic adventure of an underwater world with Ariel, the little mermaid, and her friends. Adapted from the 2008 Broadway musical production it features both under and above water scenes creating a challenge for both actors and audience imaginations. “The Little Mermaid Jr.” will be on stage Friday through Sunday July 17 through 19 at The Edge Center. Performances are on Friday and Saturday 7PM and Sunday 2PM. Prices $10 for adults and $5 for children.


Arial’s journey from "under the sea" is full of challenges including defying her father, King Triton, making a “deal” with the evil sea witch Ursula and convincing Prince Eric that she is girl whose enchanting voice he has been hearing and seeking. Music accompanying her adventures include Oscar winning “Under the sea”, plus "Part of Your World," and "She's in Love." All this while Ursula bemoans those “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and Sebastian urges Eric to “Kiss the Girl.” You can see all of this done by a young cast from The Stages Treatre Company of Hopkins (above).


Artistic Director for Stages, Sandy Boren-Barrett, explained the production and introduces its star who plays Ariel by saying, “Tori Adams (Ariel) has been with Stages Theatre Company since she was ten years old. This is her 3rd production tour to Bigfork having performed in Seussical the musical and Willy Wonka at the Edge Center Theater.  Tori sings beautifully, and her portrayal of Ariel is so heartfelt, audiences will love her.  The Little Mermaid production design team has brought such unique artistry that allows audience members to truly feel Under The Sea…” Tori in rehearsals shown below.


Stages Theatre Company (STC) was founded in 1984 and since then has grown to become one of the largest professional theatres (below) for young audiences in the country. STC engages young artists with themes relevant to their lives and produces work which features young people in significant and meaningful roles. It annually serves more than 130,000 young people and their families.


"The Little Mermaid" is a famous fairy tale by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen that was first published in 1837.  It is about a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince. It’s a great love story adapted in various forms from Broadway musical to a classic Disney feature animated film.


We should keep in mind that, at one rime in the middle ages, mermaids were accepted as real seas creatures and were often represented on family coats of arms and were popular subjects in paintings and literature like the above painting by Edmund Dulac.


The story is about the love of a mermaid, Ariel and human prince Eric. In the story, Ariel saves Eric from drowning and subsequently wakes him up with a song.  She has such a beautiful haunting voice that her memory can’t leave him and he longs to hear it again and see Ariel. But nothing is that simple in a fairy tail. She longs for a life above out of the sea and being human, but she is a daughter of King Triton who will not allow it. It all get complicated, as love stories often do, with a villain, secret pact and a truly wonderful adventure. To see the story unfold you need to come to the Edge Center. For more about the fairy tail see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Mermaid


So come and see all the adventure, villains and friends of Ariel in Bigfork with “The Little Mermaid.” Performances are at The Edge Center on July 17 to the 19. Performances are Friday and Saturday 7PM and Sunday 2PM. Prices $10 for adults and $5 for children. Below see a couple of the photos from rehearsals going on right now.









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Friday, June 19, 2015

Sam Miltich Returns to Bigfork With Dutch Jazz Violinist Soloist Tim Kliphuis


“Tim Kliphuis with Sam Miltich and the Clearwater Hot Club” presenting a mix of gypsy jazz, folk music, American swing, and Latin music will be at the Edge Center in Bigfork on July 2nd. We have seen The Clearwater Hot Club trio of Sam Miltich, lead guitar, Mike Miller, drums and rhythm guitar, and Mathew Miltich, upright bass, but this time Sam brings some overseas talent in Tim Kliphuis. Sam and Tim met in Augsburg Germany with Tim coming to play with Minnesota-based with Sam’s Clearwater Hot Club based in Grand Rapids. The four-member group is touring the area and Bigfork is fortunate to be one of the performance locations. The performance is Thursday, July 2nd on The Edge Center stage at 7PM. Prices are $10 adults and $5 children.


For this performance the Clearwater Hot Club represent the group’s rhythm section featuring Tim as soloist. Through his work with Gypsy Jazz musicians worldwide, Tim Kliphuis is a sought after soloist. He maintains a busy touring schedule around the world incorporating his special style encompassing many genres of music.


 Tim is also an avid educator with his workshops featured at festivals, conservatories and summer classes in many parts of the world. Tim Kliphuis is professor of Jazz violin at the Conservatoire of Tilburg, Holland and holds the Jazz violin chair at Tilburg Conservatory. This is along with hosting the annual Grappelli-Django Camp in Holland in August each year.


Sam Miltich, a Gypsy Jazz guitarist by profession, is well known to the Edge and is returning. Sam (above) plays regularly as a soloist with his band “Sam Miltich and the Clearwater Hot Club.” Born and raised in Minnesota’s north woods Sam has musical interests beyond gypsy jazz including Brazilian choro, French musette, Eastern European tamburitza, and other forms of traditional folk music. Early, Sam’s musical interests included Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. He started playing music early in his life and by the age of 13, guitar became his instrument of choice. He toured widely in the U.S. and Europe with a variety of groups before “The Clearwater Hot Club.” Dutch violinist Kliphuis is but one of a variety of soloists with whom you will see and hear Sam playing.


From the Grand Rapids area Mike Miller (above) is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in voice, drumset, and guitar. Mike studied music most of his life with piano being first in his elementary years then percussion and voice in junior high with guitar in senior high. At studied music at Moorhead State University and St. Cloud State University and after taking two European tours with university choirs, Mike started playing music professionally. A rock ‘n’ roll specialist, Mike’s music was with groups in Minnesota, neighboring states and Alaska before coming home. His focus if now gypsy jazz on guitar and drumset. .


Bassist Matthew Miltich (above) is Sam’s father and comes from musical parents. His career as a jazz bassist began in earnest when his son began to perform professionally and asked Matthew to accompany him. Matthew has played jazz in a variety of venues, as far away as Japan, and as close as his hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  He’s performed in jazz clubs and toured with vocalists in Canada and from as far east in the U.S. as Eastport Maine, west as Puget Sound, in pubs and coffee houses and concert halls.  He holds four college degrees (two Bachelors degrees, two Masters degrees) in language, literature, and writing, but as a bassist is essentially self-taught.



In a Duluth News Tribune review of a Sam and Tiim CD a reviewer said, “Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis and Grand Rapids guitarist Sam Miltich sound just like a modern-day version of Stephane Grapelli and Django Reinhardt. They have it all: touch, tone, time, phrasing and note choices all in the exact tradition of the masters of Gypsy jazz. Plus, they do it without direct and overt copying. It's more like these two have this style so deeply imprinted in their blood and bones that it's second nature. It's not an affectation, not even an adopted mode.”


Tim Kliphuis

Clearwater Hot Club - Photo by Sally Hanson

So for a chance to see “Tim Kliphuis with Sam Miltich and the Clearwater Hot Club” presenting a mix of gypsy jazz, folk music, American swing, and Latin music come to the Edge Center in Bigfork on July 2nd. With the popular Clearwater Hot Club enhanced with the talents of the Dutch Soloist Tim Kliphuis this is sure to be an evening of wonderful entertainment. The performance is Thursday, July 2nd on The Edge Center stage at 7PM. Prices are $10 adults and $5 children.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

“Big Night at The Edge, with Kevin Kling and Aaron Gabriel”


Join Kevin Kling and Aaron Gabriel for an evening of stories and songs about Minnesota in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of The Edge Center.  The first act to ever be on stage at the Edge Center in Bigfork was Kevin Kling back in 2005. Kevin and Aaron will bring Kevin’s special brand of master story telling and commentary heard on NPR’s “All things Considered” along with Aaron’s award-winning composing talents and music. A good chance to see and hear a little bit of what the first Edge audience experienced enhanced with music from Aaron. Friday June 19th at 7PM.  Prices $10 adults, $5 children.


Kevin and Aaron have collaborated together for many years, most recently in Thailand with Minneapolis’ Interact Center.  This will be a rare opportunity to hear and see some of their favorite selections. Kevin is excited to be back at The Edge Center, 10 years after debuting his “Freezing Paradise” play there, which toured with the Guthrie in 2005.  And Aaron is glad to be performing again in his hometown. He was in Bigfork in 2010 when he directed an EdgeWild players production of “The Laramie Project” and again, as an actor, for a Patricia Feld production of “8 The Play”. Above Thailand Show where Keven and Aaron appeared recently.


Kevin Kling, named the Minneapolis Story Laureate in 2014, storyteller Kevin performs his stories nationally and internationally, often at the Guthrie Theater and the annual International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. Monologist and playwright Kevin Kling grew up in Osseo, Minnesota and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College.


He has performed his plays in Sweden, Sydney and Perth, Australia, Edinburgh, Scotland and in the Czech Republic.  His autobiographic piece "Home and Away" premiered at the Seattle Rep and moved to Second Stage Theater, off Broadway, under the direction of David Esbjornson, where it received a received a Drama Desk Award nomination.


His plays have been produced at The Goodman Theater, The Jungle Theater, the Denver Center Theater, Seattle Rep, the Cincinnati Playhouse, Interact, the Guthrie and regional theaters throughout the country.  He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, The Bush Foundation, and The Jerome Foundation.  He is a McDowell Fellow and has received the Whiting Award, the A.P. Anderson Award, the VSA Jeahny, and the Eric Peterson Award.


He appears often at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, is a commentator for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and has authored five books published by Borealis Books, The Dog Says How, Holiday Inn, Big Little Brother, Big Little Mother and On Stage with Kevin Kling.  His book, Come and Get It, was chosen as the 2012 Minnesota Center for Books Arts “Winter Book”.  Kevin has produced six storytelling CDs.  His website is:  www.kevinkling.com


Aaron Gabriel is an Ivy Award winner, composer and musician who recently released his first studio album, “Listen” a compilation of original musical theater songs from the past decade (available on iTunes and Amazon.com).  Last year, Mr. Gabriel composed the scores for Mixed Blood/Footprints Collective’s Vet’s Play Project, Interact Theater’s Ship of Fools, Theater Latte Da’s The End of September; Stages Theater Company’s Starry River of the Sky and Interact Thailand’s Song Of Songkran.(Aaron in Thailand below)


Other works include Madame Josette’s Naughty and Nice andSugar and Spice, By the Seat of Our Pants, Work of Heart, Hot Jazz at da Funky Butt, and Madame Majesta’s Miracle Medicine Show (Interact Theater); Owl Moon and Princess Academy (Stages Theater Company); A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Bug (Center Playhouse). Aaron has worked with theaters throughout the Twin Cities including Theater Latte Da, Guthrie Theater, Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Illusion Theater, Children's Theatre Company, Minnesota Opera, Nautilus Music Theater and Chicago Avenue Project. He is a graduate of Augsburg College in Minneapolis and Kings College in London. See more about Aaron at:  www.aarongabrielcomposer.com (Aaron shown below during a visit to Bigfork.)


For a chance to see the very first act at the Edge, Kevin Kling,  and a returning Bigfork resident, Aaron Gaberiel, Join them for an evening of stories and songs about Minnesota in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of The Edge Center.  Find out a little about what the first audience at the Edge heard and saw on stage back in 2005. It will be interesting and entertaining.  Friday June 19th at 7PM.  Prices $10 adults, $5 children.



Thursday, June 4, 2015

“With a View: Landscape Artists” at the Edge Gallery


When you think of landscape in art, out side natural settings come to mind that are typically easy to identify. Well the June exhibit at the Edge Canter in Bigfork twists the typical in both the expected views and underlying meanings.  With the variety of media featured in the exhibit “With a View: Landscape Artists”, you should expect the unexpected in both presentation and meaning. Works in glass, photography, drawing, and painting present how the artists showing view the outside world, sometimes for a just a particular time and place. It will be a new, and a challenging look at what we often see every day.  The gallery is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10AM to 4PM. There is an opening reception on Friday June 5th from 5PM to 7PM with a chance to meet the artists and share in refreshments.  The gallery exhibition and reception is free of charge.


One of the photographs in the exhibit by Jill Johnson titled “Headed Over,” also titled "Into the Mist," is of a misty landscape that is especially relevant to how one can view the outdoors at a particular moment in one’s life.  Jill says, “This was the last picture I took of Bob, my life partner.  But how could I have known at the time?  We were in New Orleans on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain walking along the levee.  Bob headed off into the mist to see what was on the other side of the levee.  Of course the significance to me is that he left me not long after that....off on his own, exploring the other side of the universe.”


Jill is one of nine invited artists that will not be the standard “old barn” scenes. Look at the above photograph by Jill titled, "On the Rise." Ever feel like this on some mornings? The emphasis is on the variety of ways that artists look at the outside world. There are two artists that present almost abstract views of the world certainly challenging the visitor’s concept of the outdoors. These artists are David Nyssen’s paintings, plus Jon Offutt’s glasswork.


David Nyssen says,  "My work is inspired by places, people, relationships, and interactions.  I use them to create spaces of self-reflection and introspection.  My process consists of allowing shapes and colors to happen organically while still maintaining some control by breaking things down to their simplest shapes and forms.  These pieces were inspired by a trip along the North Shore and the goal with these pieces is to capture the calm and relaxed nature of the scenery.


Then there is Aaron Squardroni who use a variety of techniques. He says about his above work thatit is, "This drawing is part of a series of work about the identity of the Kawishiwi river based on important aspects from its past present and future. The drawing scene here is representative of a possible future that relates to copper mining. In the image, you can see an aerial view of a tailings basin and a landscape view of a mining facility. To explore the story of the Mesabi Iron Range, I am creating a series of land portraits: drawings that convey a narrative of the land. These land portraits record a history of landmarks and sacred spaces based on traditional legends, government treaties, current disputes, and future visions. My intention is to create continuity where great changes have occurred in the landscape or are likely to occur in the future. I hope that the Mesabi Iron Range and its story can become part of the public consciousness in a way that influences the future of Minnesota's landscape."


Gene Madsen’s ("Wolf and Buck Deer" above ) meticulously detailed landscape paintings are more than what you see. They tell a story. Can you spot the wolf?


And then there are four photographers with each approaching landscape in a different way. Above is Audrey Johnson's creative framed approach to her photographs.  The camera gives an artist an instant view of nature, life, and abstract idea or concept that often goes away as fast as the shutter clicks. The resulting image can be as surprising to the artist as it is to the viewer.  That presents a wonderful tool and challenge unique to the medium.


Dave Swanson’s work (above tiitled "Cliff dwellers") includes nude figures in overpowering natural settings often in black and white. How did the model ever get up there?


Donna Anderson often catches unusual angles or views (above titled "Lightning Explosion"). She says,  "I have had a nearly lifelong interest in photography.  I was presented my first camera, a Kodak Brownie, at the age of ten and I have I been taking photographs ever since.   My goal is to capture those moments when you are struck by the “WOW-ness” of a scene, because you know things can change instantly and that it won't be the same in another blink of the eye."


Jill Johnson’s photos vary from close detail to expansive views. She says, "I love compositions that suggest going somewhere unrevealed like looking through a window or walking into the mist over the levee or taking granddaughter for a wagon ride (above titled "Good Grandpa") or flying off in early  morning. heading somewhere. If the photo encourages you to imagine that unrevealed place, I  consider it a success."


Audrey Johnson often works with reflective surfaces and weather conditions, but also shows a dept in human feelings. Her photographs above, titled "Ode to Howard Pitzen" is particularly significant to anyone knowing about the annual North Star Rodeo north of Effie.


Jon Offut's glass work ("furrows and Tree Lines" above) can best be described as fantastic. You will see several examples of his work in the show and all are "landscape" oriented.


So come and see what an artist might appreciate a view of “landscape” that you might not see or get a chance to experience. The exhibit is on display from June 4th to the 27th. The gallery is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10AM to 4PM. There is an opening reception on Friday June 5th from 5PM to 7PM with a chance to meet the artists and share in refreshments.  The gallery exhibition and reception is free of charge.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Monroe Crossing, Bluegrass Music, Bigfork, Great Combination


On June 12th a return visit of "Monroe Crossing" brings their special blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and great originals to Bigfork. Mixing styles, range of talent, and wide selection of music, the group shows the quality gained by years of experience and hard work. Named for legendary Bill Monroe, called the “Father of BlueGrass”, Monroe Crossing is a Minnesota-based group that performs throughout the United States and Canada with many professional awards and achievements to their credit. Whether it is a first time bluegrass introduction or an experienced bluegrass fan, the show will entertain and not disappoint. They will be on The Edge Center stage Friday, June 12th at 7PM.  Prices $10 adults and $5 children.


Monroe Crossing is the only full-time professional bluegrass band in the state. They earn their great reputation with well over 100 performances each year.  Even a Bluegrass “cruise” is planned for next year (below). The five band members include: Lisa Fuglie plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar plus lead and harmony vocals, David Robinson joined the band in 2012 at 18 years old and plays banjo, Derek Johnson, with the band since 2011 plays guitar and is lead and harmony vocals, Mark Anderson plays bass, is on vocals, and came to bluegrass after 20 years of bass and drums in “alternative” groups, plus Matt Thompson who plays mandolin, fiddle and sings baritone vocal. He came to love bluegrass from the master after a chance encounter with band’s namesake Bill Monroe.


There have been many honors for the band including a chance to showcase their talents at the 2007 International Bluegrass Association Convention. They were inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of fame in 2007, the only Bluegrass band ever nominated as “artist of the Year” by the Minnesota Music Academy, and took home awards for Female Vocalist, Guitar, Mandolin and Banjo at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s 25th Anniversary Awards Banquet.



The group has 14 disks out in their years together. The latest is “Because You Asked”, is a collection of popular requests recorded live throughout their years of constant touring with well over 1500 concert appearances to their credit..  Their success is not by accident, but by according to lead singer Lisa Fuglie, “It’s just plain hard work and dedication. We all share a love for bluegrass music and for performing on stage. We appreciate every audience, large or small, and understand that we’re there for them, not the other way around,” quoted from recent news release.



Eighteen year old David Robinson joined Monroe Crossing in 2012.  From a musical family, he developed an interest in folk music early.  Inspired by musician and storyteller David Holt, he taught himself how to play many different instruments, including harmonica, mandolin and guitar. David took up the banjo at the age of 14 and has stuck with it ever since.


Singer/guitarist Derek Johnson joined Monroe Crossing at the beginning of 2011. From Moorhead, Minnesota, he moved to Minneapolis in 1993 and, for many years, he performed in a variety of rock and roll bands. Around the "turn of the century" Derek discovered bluegrass music and there’s been no turning back.


Originally from Nigeria, Lisa Fuglie learned mandolin from an old Bill Monroe 78rpm record. Excelling on many stringed instruments, she plays fiddle, mandolin and guitar with Monroe Crossing.  She is an accomplished vocalist, prolific songwriter, solo performer, studio musician, and educator.  She received the 2000 Female Vocalist of the Year Award (in the Related Music category) from the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association.


Mark Anderson came to Bluegrass after twenty years of playing bass and drums in a series of "alternative" groups.  Nominated by the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association as 2000 Bassist of the Year in both the Bluegrass and the Related Music categories, he is one of the best Bluegrass bass players in the Midwest. Mark wrote "He Did Rise" on the band's second gospel project, "Into The Fire", and several other songs for Monroe Crossing. .


Matt Thompson is the band’s MC and arranger, is a superb singer, plus plays Mandolin and twin fiddle with the band.  He received the Minnesota Bluegrass & and Old-Time Music Association's Bluegrass Mandolin Player of the Year Award in 2000.


The band demonstrates the sound and versatility of all five instruments, how each contributes to the ensemble sound, “brother duet” and 3-part harmony as they relate to a simple chord.  Monroe Crossing’s paths crossed through the music of Bluegrass founder Bill Monroe so they like to say they had a “Monroe Crossing.”


From their Website here are some review comments of previous shows.

“Monroe Crossing strikes again. Each and every song keeps you wanting more. I can foresee many of your original songs becoming classics somewhere down the line.” — “Backroads Bluegrass,” KCBL Radio, Sacramento CA

“Everyone in the band is an absolute professional, and I’ve pointed other groups to you to say ‘this is how you do it right in the world of bluegrass.’ ” — Marty Scarbrough, KASU FM Program Director

“Everyone who came had the time of their life that evening. Your show was just incredible....one of the freshest and original groups I have experienced....I was just blown away.” — Bill Adams, Habitat For Humanity, Waldorf MD

“....This band understands and respects the musical principles laid down by Bill Monroe.... ‘Heartache & Stone’ represents their best effort to date....Arrangements are fresh and creative....All in all, it is an enjoyable project loaded with satisfaction.” — Louisville Music News


So, for an entertaining and surprising experience come and enjoy Monroe Crossing at the Edge Center in Bigfork MN. They will be on The Edge Center stage Friday, June 12th at 7PM.  Prices $10 adults and $5 children. And while you are in the building you can see an art exhibit in the Edge Center Gallery. It presents a wide variety of media with the current show titled “With a View: Landscape Artists.” It presents work of nine artists in glass, photography, drawing, and painting that shows selected works about how each view the outside world. So come early and enjoy it.