Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Nautilus Music-Theater in Concert" in Bigfork

The Edge Center in Bigfork, Minnesota presents "Nautilus Music-Theater in Concert" on June 28th showcasing innovative songs by a new generation of composers and writers.  This special event presents excerpts from some of Nautilus' most popular new musicals and operas, featuring performances by very talented professionals. Of special local interest will be a selection of songs composed by Aaron Gabriel.   And to provide a bit of historical context, the concert will also include a few songs from the great American songbook.  Date June 28. Time 7 PM. Prices $10 adults and $5 for children.

The "Nautilus Music-Theater in Concert" feature wonderful performances by singer-actors Christina Baldwin, Joel Liestman, Jennifer Baldwin Peden and Max Wojtanowicz accompanied by pianists Jill Dawe and Jerry Rubino. All have participated in Nautilus’ professional development programs, including their monthly works-in-progress, Rough Cuts series.

Christina Baldwin was seen in Nautilus’ SISTER STORIES and their Solo Performance Series, and has sung with Theatre de la Jeune Lune and the Ordway Center.

Joel Liestman recently appeared in Nautilus’ THE VIEW FROM HERE and visited Bigfork last year with I AM ANNE FRANK.

Jennifer Baldwin Peden starred in Nautilus’ recent production of JOAN OF ARC, and has performed with the Guthrie Theater and the Minnesota Orchestra.

Max Wojtanowicz was featured in Nautilus’ CAROUSEL, and will appear in next season’s ORDINARY DAYS.

The Edge Center is no stranger to Nautilus.  Just last year they made two visits to Bigfork.  First was “Alice Unwrapped” and later “I Am Anne Frank.” Nautilus works year-round with writers, composers, performers, and directors to make new operas and other kinds of music-theater, and to explore existing work in innovative ways.

About The Edge Center, Nautilus’ Artist Director Ben Krywosz said. "We are delighted to be returning to the Edge Center in Bigfork. The audiences here are always so gracious and enthusiastic. We really enjoyed bringing in our productions of “I am Anne Frank” and “Alice Unwrapped” last year. This special concert presentation gives us the opportunity to share highlights of our other music-theater pieces with some of the most exciting performers from the Twin Cities. This show promises to be one of the most unforgettable musical-theatrical experiences seen and heard on The Edge Center stage.”

Nautilus’ full productions of such works as “Answered Prayers”, “Man of La Mancha”, “Joan of Arc” and many others (including the Ivey Award-winning “Sister Stories”, and “I am Anne Frank”) have been enthusiastically received by critics and audiences alike. Critics from the STAR TRIBUNE to OPERA NEWS to the IVEY AWARDS say “Known for their astonishing story telling ability and unique approach to music-theater, Nautilus has created a fascinating and important body of work for over twenty years, greatly contributing to the quality and diversity of new American theater...”

This touring activity is made possible, in part, by the Minnesota State Arts Board through the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

This is an opportunity to see a special performance by special artists.  Their talents combined with a venue designed by a team of theatre building experts incorporating sound enhancement features such as "acoustic clouds" to bounce sound, and a series of acoustic absorbers.  The result is an acoustic "jewel box" of a theatre that famous actors and well-traveled musicians love to play in and that audiences love to listen inside of!  Come, see, and hear for yourselves.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Disney's Aladdin Is Coming To Bigfork

For the fifth time the Stages Theatre Company of Hopkins Minnesota is bring one of its productions to The Edge Center In Bigfork.  This year it is going to be “Aladdin Jr.” and will be in Bigfork on Friday July 19, Saturday July 20 at 7PM and Sunday July 21 at 2PM. Stages has not even opened this show in their home theatre in Hopkins yet. That will happen later this month, so right now they are in the middle of rehearsals, set building, costume designing and everything else it takes to put on a musical production.  We are going to track the progress of this event from rehearsals through their opening day with a pictorial diary of the activities.  These rehearsal pictures are coming through the courtesy of the Stages' staff and are greatly appreciated.

Just in case you have not heard much about "Aladdin Jr." before,  it is a fun musical journey that is an adaptation of the Aladdin folktale brought to the screen in the Disney animated film "Aladdin".. The story and the music follow the original film with songs that will be remembered and enjoyed.  Anyone who saw the Disney movie or are familiar with this Arabian Nights tale can certainly enjoy this light and entertaining play performed by the young talent of the Stages organization.  Here is what Stages has to say:


“Stages Theatre Company's Production of Disney's Aladdin Jr.---Soar away on a magic carpet ride of nonstop thrills and fun in the most spectacular musical adventure of all time! Take a magical carpet ride with Stages Theatre Company this summer when Princess Jasmine, Genie and Aladdin embark on an adventure filled with magic and mayhem. The Academy award-winning score includes favorite songs like “A Whole New World,” “One Jump Ahead” and “A Friend Like Me.” Come discover the lavish journey that awaits your favorite characters. Stages Theatre Company’s production of Disney's Aladdin Jr. is entertaining for all ages…”

Mark Friday July 19, Saturday July 20 at 7PM and Sunday July 21 at 2PM on your calendar for a visit to The Edge Center Theater in Bigfork to see a very entertaining play by the young talent presented by the Stages Theatre Company of Hopkins Minnesota.  This will be the fifth time they will bring their magic to Bigfork.  If you have seen any of their previous shows, you know it will be a good one and, if you haven’t yet done so, come and see why The Edge Center keeps bringing them back.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Concert in Bigfork - Featuring the One Voice Mixed Chorus

One Voice Mixed Chorus—Minnesota's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and straight allies chorus—celebrates the finale of its 25th anniversary season with Minnesota Voices.  It is a concert celebrating all things Minnesota--from the State Fair, lumberjacks and folk-songs to music on a stick!  A performance of Minnesota Voices takes place at The Edge Center in Bigfork on June 22 at 7:00 pm. Tickets for this nationally recognized chorus are pay what you can. There will be a community picnic before the show at 5:00 PM at the Veterans Memorial park next to the fire hall, or if the weather is not cooperating, in the commons area of the Bigfork school.

Minnesota Voices features songs by Minnesota composers from Bob Dylan, Libby Larsen, Abbie Betinis and Rene Clausen to Prince and Semisonic! Minnesota’s international roots are highlighted in Ruth McKenzie’s setting of Kalavala, including her toe-tapping Give us Room to Roar and heart-wrenching Oi Dai.  In keeping with One Voice tradition, the concert includes many light touches including Ann Reed's State Fair Song and Benjamin Britten's Lumberjack Chorus performed in true One Voice style with live lumberjacks, flannel-wear and saws.  The concert also includes “music-on-a-stick”—sing-along moments for the audience with lyrics printed on souvenir fans.

A centerpiece of Minnesota Voices is By the Fireside, a composition commissioned by One Voice and the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. The composition by Christopher Gable, explores connections between issues of AIDS in North America and Africa.  In describing the work, Gable states, “I wanted to honor that history and all the great strides we’ve made, but to keep people from growing complacent. I also wanted to pay homage to what’s happening in Africa. It’s at the forefront of the battle with AIDS—that’s where this fight will be won or lost.”  He goes on to explain the significance of fire and light in the composition, noting “there is the wonderful tradition of fireside storytelling in Africa, where the elders share their acquired wisdom to future generations, that really spoke to me. I loved this image of community and heritage.”  Near the work’s end, he also draws on the Latin text “Lux Aeterna” from the Requiem mass, a prayer that asks for the recently deceased to be blessed by Heaven’s eternal light.  By the Fireside was originally scored for chorus, baritone solo, orchestra and an African drum ensemble. One Voice’s June concerts will feature the premiere of the chamber version scored for chorus, piano, oboe and cello. Artistic Director Jane Ramseyer Miller shown below with composer Christopher Gable.

Cellist Scott Lykins and oboist Steve Hummerickhouse are featured in By the Fireside and will also perform throughout the concert. “I wanted to integrate these fine players into many elements of the concert and especially programmed music that includes oboe and cello,” explains Ramseyer Miller.  “These two instruments have such a rich and beautiful color that is well-suited with the voice so I also re-arranged several accompaniments to incorporate them.” One of these is a choral setting of the familiar “Goin’ Home” melody from Dvorak’s New World Symphony which Ramseyer Miller, shown below with part of the chorus, arranged for chorus, piano, oboe and cello.

Minnesota Voices takes the audience on a Minnesota journey of hilarity, beauty, nostalgia and reflection with a wide variety of musical genres for young and old and every music-lover in between. “What's special about this concert,” says singer, Alan Warrior, “is the juxtaposition of the familiar with the unexpected. Whether it's the fond memories of our state fair, the celebration of our choral heritage so warmly and lovingly displayed in O My Luve's Like a Red Red Rose, or the surprising and exotic beauty of Oi Dai and Naalah (those are from...Minnesota?!), This music speaks to a Minnesota that's big enough for everyone, which to me, has always been the subtext of our mission, our devotion to building community and creating social change.”

Besides Bigfork, the One Voice Mixed Chorus’ tour goes to Bemidji and Little Falls.  It is funded in part by an Arts Touring grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders. Additional information is available at:

Minnesota Voices is presented at the Edge Center for the Arts in Bigfork (stage shown above). The chorus is expected to be joined by a number of local singers. So come to Bigfork on the June 22, join us for a very special event at The Edge Center, and come early for the picnic.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Southern Gospel Music at The Edge Center in Bigfork Tim Probst & friends…The Master's Men Quartet

Tim Probst, along with The Master’s Men quartet, will provide inspiring sounds of old and new gospel music at The Edge Center in Bigfork on June 15.  It will be a wonderful evening of solo and quartet renditions of Southern Gospel music that will certainly warm the heart and soul. Both Tim Probst and the quartet have local roots and have been singing gospel music for years. Tim Probst, now singing and recording in Nashvile, started locally, and the Master’s Men Quartet, located in International Falls, bring a Northern Minnesota influence to their programs. Date June 15th.  Time 7PM.  Prices $10 adults and $5 children.

Southern Gospel artist Tim Probst, singer, songwriter, and quartet man started college at Bemidji State Univ. with a music major and toured Europe with the BSU concert choir. He finished college with a degree from the U of M School of Forestry.  He moved “back home” to Marcell with wife Jeanne and son Luke and worked for his dad at the Marcell Mill from 1979 to 1988.

He spent 13 years as a Koochiching County Forester in Littlefork, MN. During that time, he started a quartet at the Littlefork Baptist Church and sang with a men barbershop group, The Northern Timbers, in International Falls.

Tim and his family relocated in Nashville in 2005, where he sings and writes Gospel music, in addition to singing baritone with Wings of Faith quartet in churches across TN, KY, AL, NC. Jim is presently recording with Producer Tony Ray Jones at Backwoods Studio in Nashville. He will have albums for sale at the concert and his music is currently on, Facebook and soon on Backwoods Studio, Nashville, TN.

Southern Gospel music has a long history dating from just after the end of the Civil war.  Even though the genre has a generally considered start date of 1910, this style of music can be traced back several decades before then.  According to Wikipedia,  “The date of Southern Gospel's establishment as a distinct genre is generally considered to be 1910, the year the first professional quartet was formed for the purpose of selling songbooks for the James D. Vaughan Music Publishing Company…)  But the genre existed long before as evidenced…in the work of Charles Davis Tillman (1861–1943), who popularized ‘The Old Time Religion’, wrote ‘Life's Railway to Heaven’ and published 22 songbooks.” Read more at:

The Tim Probst song list for Bigfork:

1. So High
2. I Believe
3. Answer Man…words & music, Tim Probst -  2013
4. He Came to Me…words & music, Squire Parsons - 1980
5. It’s Not What’s Over the Door…words & music, Squire Parsons - 1990
6. Quiet Moments…words & music, Tim Probst - 2013
7. Working on the Building
8. Master of the sea…words & music, Squire Parsons - 1975
9. By and By
10. Step Back…words & music, Tim Probst - 2013
11. Peace in the Valley
12. Never too Late…words & music, Tim Probst - 2013
13. He knows What I Need
14. The Truth…words & music, Tim Probst - 2013
15. From the Cross…words & music, Tim Probst 2013
16. Great Revival…words & music, Tim Probst - 2013
17. Get Home Before Dark…words & music, Tim Probst - 2013
18. The Battle Soon Will be Over…words & music, Tim Probst - 2013
19. I Call it Home- words & music, Squire Parsons…1990

It is hard to overstate the importance of quartet harmonies to Southern Gospel music.  According to Wikipedia, it is sometimes called “quartet music” by its fans “…because of the originally all-male, tenor-lead-baritone-bass quartet make-up. Early quartets were typically either a cappella or accompanied only by piano or guitar…” Read more at:

The Master’s Men quartet been singing Southern Gospel music together for about 8 years. They met in church, all wanted to sing, and the four had the necessary voices for a quartet. They have diverse backgrounds: the bass singer Mike Carney is a chiropractor, the baritone singer Earl Sneller is an electrician, the lead singer Kevin Skifstad, is a retired papermaker, and the tenor, Ken Shoberg is a Boise millwright.

They have no recordings yet and typically perform at Christmas parties, Valentine’s Day parties, retirement villas, the Music in the Park in Int’l. Falls, the Backus Hooked on Talent, and the Bigfork Wilderness Days.

The Master’s Men Quartet song list for Bigfork follows:

1. Between The Cross & Heaven... Performed by Ernie Haase  & Signature Sound (EH&SS)By William Gaither 1975
2. He Made A Change...Performed by Ernie Haase  & Signature Sound (EH&SS)By Ernie Haase & Joel Lindsey 1998
3. He Touched Me...Performed By The Gaither Vocal Band (GVB) By William Gaither 1963
4. Star Spangled Banner...Performed By The Gaither Vocal Band By Francis Scott Key. Francis who wrote the poem that was set to the music written by John Stafford Smith.
5. He Took The Hill... Performed By The Proclaimers Quartet
6. I Thirst...Performed by Ernie Haase  & Signature Sound (EH&SS) By Beverly Lowry 1993
7. Stand By Me...Performed by Ernie Haase  & Signature Sound (EH&SS) Music Unknown
8. Search Me Lord...Performed By The Gaither Vocal Band (GVB) By Thomas Dorsey 1948
9. Swing Down Chariot...Performed By The Gaither Vocal Band (GVB) Traditional Spiritual

This is promising to be a great evening of gospel music by singers with experience and talent, all of whom come from Northern Minnesoata.  They not only share their love of gospel music, but have a desire to use their talents for the glory of God.  Talent, desire, and purpose make for a good combination. And they all recognize the joy music can give to others.

The Edge Center by itself will enhance the listening experience. Besides having seats that are very comfortable, it was designed by a team of theatre building experts including a renowned “acoustician” who designed two "acoustic clouds" to bounce sound, a series of acoustic absorbers, and made recommendations about all of the wall and seating materials.  The result is an acoustic "jewel box" of a theatre that famous actors and well-traveled musicians love to play in and that audiences love to listen inside of!  Come to Bigfork on June 15th and hear for yourself .