Monday, November 21, 2011

Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus Holiday Concert in Bigfork

A December 18th holiday music special by the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus will warm your spirits free of charge at 2PM at The Edge Center in Bigfork. In addition to traditional holiday favorites the audience can expect to hear from a wide selection of musical styles. This fourth annual performance is in appreciation to the center’s supporters of the theater and gallery.

The following photo is of the current chorus

In their 56th year of existence, the group’s mission is to bring good music and joy to their audiences while providing a place, and setting, for a group of men to share their love of singing. They practice weekly under the leadership of Eileen Grosland, are accompanied by Bonnie Kangas, and invite all like-minded men to join with them. The chorus is in the Minnesota Musical Hall of Fame and enjoys the support, through their performances, of communities in several states and Canada.

After a modest beginning in 1953, the chorus was officially organized in 1955. There were 13 original members under its first director Betty Kauppi, and were unofficially knows as Betty’s Boys. In 1956, officers were elected and named the Grand Rapids Male Chorus. By 1957 there were thirty members. The chorus has had four official names over the years. In additional to the original, it was named the Arion Male Chorus, then Blanden Male Chorus, and currently the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus to reflect its membership being beyond the city of Grand Rapids.

In 1959 the group joined the Associated Male Choruses of America (AMCA), and in November 1994, the Chorus was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame with such stars as Judy Garland and Bob Dylan.

The following photos are of the induction poster with the wrong photo in it, and of the chorus about the time of its induction.

The Chorus is a non-profit organization and usually performs 12 or more times each year for charitable fund-raisers, scholarship drives, civic gatherings, religious organizations, and senior homes throughout the state. They also have performed in Wisconsin, North Dakota and Canada.

A special spring Concert, performed at the Rief Auditorium in Grand Rapids, is the only one with an admission charge used to help sustain operational costs for the next year. They participate in an annual "BIG SING" where all the choruses in the AMCA come together at the location of one of our member choruses and perform as a single chorus. This incredible event is usually about 400 male voices strong. Last spring it was in Grand Rapids.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Art and Theater Gift Card from The Edge Center

If you have a difficult person for whom to find a gift, a gift card is often the best answer. It's not that you don't try to find a gift, but there is always that unknown "will they like it" to consider. The Edge Center in Bigfork is offering gift cards for the first time ever this year for just that situation. The cards have no expiration date and can be used for theater events and items for sale in the gallery. The Edge Center gift cards are on sale at the gallery Thursday through Saturday from 10AM to 4PM. Stop by and you may even find that special gift at the annual holiday sale going until December 10th. Be sure to check out the hand-decorated wreaths.

Keep in mind that if your hard-to-buy-for friend or relative likes theaters or art galleries, a gift card is a chance for them to pick out what they can most likely use. If that friend or relative talks about going to The Edge Center theater or gallery, but never quite makes it, here is a way to give them a nudge. If they are the sort of person who just has everything they need, a gift card always works. And, if you want to take them to the theater as your guest, but you know they won't let you pay, here is a way to take them as a guest and you get to pay as a bonus.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fruit Cake…no, Grandpa Ties…no, Surprises…yes

You want buying a holiday gift to be easy and fun. Yes, for some it can be easy and fun from a store with thousands of the same thing as last year. But maybe you can make it even more fun from a special place with unique treasures made by artisans with a love of their crafts. That can be easy too because The Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork has been transformed by volunteers, not elves, into a place for finding something different this year for those special people in your lives. Try it and you make like the feeling. The 7th annual gift show is open November 3rd through December 10th on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday each week from 10Am to 4PM.

The chaos of set-up turned the gallery into a place where jewelry, pottery, wood turned bowls, wood furniture, North Woods decorations, jams and jellies, knitted items, quilted purses and potholders, and so much more can be found. For the first time, there are fresh wreaths with a hand-decorated touch and even gift cards for upcoming theater performances or future gallery purchases.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New York in Bigfork

The Park Theater classic movie series presents ON THE TOWN with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinartra and Ann Miller at The Edge Center in Bigfork November 10 at 6:30 PM free of charge. ON THE TOWN, filmed in New York in the late 1940s is one of the best musicals of the period and provides award winning music, dancing and comedy. Over the fall and Winter months you can get out of the weather, warm your spirits and learn some interesting movie history once a month by seeing a great classic and hearing about it with an informative and informal discussion.

If you would like a chance to see New York was in the late 1940s and learn some interesting movie history, ON THE TOWN (1949) is famous as the first movie musical to be filmed on location there. The film explores a great city showing some of its famous landmarks and hidden treasures. Gene Kelly, Ann Miller and Vera Ellen, who is considered the movie’s best woman dancer, keep the tempo high and Frank Sinatra’s singing adds to the mix. By the way the movie won numerous awards including an Academy Award. The movie takes three energetic sailors on a 24 hour leave seeking romance through one of the best productions Hollywood offered during a time great performances by great talent.

From the following parts of the original movie review published by the New York Times and written by Bosley Crowther on December 9, 1949, you can see it was predicted to be one of the industry’s best and it was. “The Music Hall pulled the wrappings off its Christmas show yesterday and revealed a delightful entertainment for all ages, sexes and seasonal moods. It is Metro's crackling screen version of the musical, "On the Town," and a more appropriate all-purpose Yuletide picture would be hard to fashion or find. Gaiety, rhythm, humor and a good, wholesome dash of light romance have been artfully blended together in this bright Technicolored comedy. The holidays should be nicer for having "On the Town" around...”

“From the moment the picture opens, in the actual Brooklyn Navy Yard, with the three sailors cutting off for New York, the whole thing precipitately moves, with song, dance, comedy and romance ingeniously interwoven and performed. With Mr. Kelly playing the role of the principal tar, the excellence of the masculine dancing is immediately guaranteed. And with Vera-Ellen playing the little Manhattanite whom he meets—Miss Turnstile, the Subway Cinderella—his vis-a-vis is assured.”

“These two are deliciously coupled in the singing and dancing of ‘Main Street’ and a new Leonard Bernstein ballet number. ‘A Day in New York.’ As another of the tars, Frank Sinatra finds his soul-mate and comedy relief in Betty Garrett, who plays a taxi driver with an obvious Sinatra yen. Together they comically warble the familiar ‘Come Up to My Place,’ ‘You're Awful’ (a phrase of endearment!) and join jovially in ‘Prehistoric Man.’ This latter is a new item which has been neatly contrived for Ann Miller and giggly Jules Munshin, who comprise the third duo. Assisted further by Florence Bates and Alice Pearce in lesser roles, these six very spirited young people have great fun from ‘On the Town.’ And so do we…”