Sunday, August 18, 2013

Front Porch with Built-in Music at The Edge In Bigfork

The front porch will be on stage and the music will be from John Perkins on August 24th.  It will be the fifth visit by the local song writer/performer this year.  All the music will be his and all the proceeds will go to The Edge Center. He calls his music style “Americana/folk” and it celebrates life in the north woods along with exploring personal feelings and life challenges. Musicians from Effie and Deer River playing bass, washboard, tambourine, and a Cajon drum box will join him on stage plus his wife playing spoons and doing a little clogging. The Edge Center in Bigfork Saturday August 24.  Show time 7PM. Admission $10 adults $5 children.

John (shown above with his wife Sandy) says, “I hope the audience will feel like they are sitting in the front yard of a typical home.” The stage set will be a front porch and the first song will be a new one, "My Front Porch." The musicians  from Deer River play bass, washboard, tambourine and bass player is Jerry Hagen from Effie.

Last year it was a campsite on stage (above), this year a front porch…next year?  John Perkins, shown below in an earlier Edge performance, started playing the guitar in the 1960s and wrote his first song, “Cabin in the Woods,” in 1999. He splits his time between his summer cabin in northern Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest and his winter home just south of Asheville, North Carolina.

John Perkins says about writing, “Everyone approaches his craft a little differently, but it all comes down to ‘WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.’...everyone has a song...For some it’s literally music and for others it’s playing of one’s non-musical talents: kindness, caring, mentoring and so on."

About the music, John continues,  “many of them have historical underpinnings specific to Northern Minnesota.  ‘Albert and Ester’ is the story of homesteaders right here on the shores of Sand lake where I live. Below is 1939  photos of Little Sand lake school with its eight students and teacher.

There where were lots of other early arrivals on Sand Lake including Albert and Ester. For instance, William and Mary Schultz homesteaded on Sand lake in 1906/1907, got the first teacher in the area by enrolling Native Americans along with three of their children and also founded the Lakewood lodge.

Guests arrived in Deer River by train where Albert met them by horse and buggy for the two day trip to the lodge (vintage photo above). The lodge is still going strong.  Above photo of the lodge in 1925 from the Lakewood Lodge web site.

John's song, ‘Whitewater Slim’, is the story of a real logger who worked the forests along the Littlefork river from Itasca county to the lumber mills in International Falls. Above image is of loggers typical to the early 1900s era of the Littlefork river with log "rafts" carrying men and material down the Littlefork to the Rainy river and then on to International Falls.

Another of John's songs is "Chief Busticoggan". It is a story of possible gold buried by a colorful Obijwa who lived his life along the Bigfork river.  Pictured above is Busticoggan in the front of the canoe, who it is said was paid in gold for timber and, after his death, the gold was never found.  It might be buried somewhere in Itasca county.

According to John, “ Some songs are just fun. ‘Sugar Tree' always makes me smile. Every time I sing it, I can almost taste the Maple syrup my neighbor makes every spring.” Maple syrup gathering was a tradition of Native Americans (above) before European settlements with uses including the preparation of venison.  They were the first groups known to harvest the delicacy and it all started in the north east part of North America making both maple syrup and maple candy.  They celebrated the Sugar Moon (first full moon in the spring) with a Maple Dance.  The sweet syrup replaced the salt spicing tradition in European cooking.

For this performance Effie’s Jerry Hagen is once more on bass on The Edge Center stage.  Jerry has been part of the music around the area for years. He regularly contributes to The Edge Center events in addition to playing whenever and wherever his smooth or rock-n-roll sounds are needed.

All are invited to a great evening of local music and fun on Saturday, August 24th at The Edge Center in Bigfork.  The Edge Center theatre was built just for such occasions with acoustics professionally designed, comfortable seating and a special visual treat always available on display in the attached art gallery.

This month you can enjoy “en plein air” works by Derek Davis primarily done in watercolors and oil expressing his passion for scenes found in nature and our lives as we live them the out-of-doors.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Auditions Auditions Auditions

Auditions for a play at The Edge Center in Bigfork will be on August 19 and 20 4:30 to 7:00PM. The play is “The House of Bernarda Alba” written by Federico Garcia Lorca in 1936 and is this poet’s most performed play. The story is about women living under the iron fist of the family matriarch, Bernarda, and is set in Spain in the original. An updated version done in London’s Almeida Theater moves the play setting from rural Spain in the 1930’s to rural Iran right after the revolution in Iran in 1988.  The Almeida’s setting is the one being performed in Bigfork later this year.

There is a need for 10 women for speaking roles and twenty women for non-speaking roles. The EdgeWild Players invite anyone who would like a chance to be in the play to try out…especially if you’ve toyed with the idea of being onstage and would just like to see what it like without having to say a word.  The finished play will be performed on November 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but the auditions are coming Monday and Tuesday, so please come and see what is going on. Above cast and Shohreh Aghdashloo (Bernarda Alba). Photo Johan Persson

To find out what this is all about here are nine questions answered by Patricia Feld (above), who is the Director of this play and the Artistic Director for The Edge Center.

What is a brief history of this play and its change to a modern setting?

“As said earlier, Federico Garcia Lorca wrote this play in 1936, completing, what has been called his rural trilogy.  “Blood Wedding” and “Yerma” were the other two in the group, but this one is his most performed work.  Emily Mann adapted the play in 2012 to a modern setting of contemporary Iran. The new version lets audiences appreciate and sympathize with oppression even within a household.  The play’s powerful dialogue translates well over the years to still move an audience’s emotions. The revised play opened in London’s Almeida Theatre last year.” Below Vintage photo of Minerva Mena in La casa de Bernarda Alba.

Why is this production being done at The Edge Center?

“After doing a comedy last November last year and again in April of this year, I felt that the audience could appreciate a drama that examines universal themes of honor, status, secrecy, freedom and passion. In this story of a family, we are also seeing the story of a state where power is held not shared, where individuals are ruled not respected, where change is too threatening to contemplate.”

What does it provide to the community?

“Our community’s audiences will have the opportunity to experience the power of the dramatic art to excite the mind, challenge stereotypes, and enrich our hearts.”

What will the performers bring away from the experience?

“Our community’s artists will interpret a great work of world literature, immerse themselves in a foreign culture, and act, design, build and run a high quality theatre experience.”

Why should they want to participate?

“Doing community theatre is one of the best ways to have fun with like-minded people.  It is a team sport with cooperation and collaboration not competition. And for the 20 women with non-speaking roles, it’s a great way to “get their feet wet” in community theatre (costumes, lights, make-up, six rehearsals, three performances (plus a great cast and crew party!)”

What will the challenges be?

“This will be the first play done at The Edge that involves the actors improvising during rehearsals in order to get the Alba family’s shared “back story”.  These are the incidents that every family has and affects their future interactions.”  Below Asmina Daniel (Amina). Photo Johan Persson

How successful has the new version been elsewhere?

“The Edge Center will be the first Minnesota production of this play to use the modern day Iranian setting. It might even be the first in the U.S.  I’m trying to find out.”

Who are the characters in the play?

“Needed are ten speaking roles and twenty non-speaking.  Ten women needed to play the speaking roles are for Bernarda age 60; her mother age 80; her daughter’s ages 39, 30, 27, 24, & 20; two maids 50 & 60; and Farzaneh, a neighbor around 50.  Non-speaking roles: what are we looking for in candidates?  They have to women of ANY age!  And they don’t have to audition.  Just call me 218-743-3118. They’re on stage for one scene, very early on, and they can go home after their scene has rehearsed or been performed if they wish.  They are also welcome to stay and watch the rest.  And of course they get to come to the Cast and Crew and Significant Others Potluck at my house after the last show!” Below Amanda Hale (Elmira), Seline Hizli (Anahita), Sarah Solemani (Maryam) and Pandora Colin (Asieh). Photo Johan Persson.

How much of a time commitment will be necessary for the various characters?

“We plan our rehearsals around the work, school, and family lives of the actors until “tech week.” There will be 6 techs in the final 8 days before the opening, and all the actors need to rehearse the whole show together then. There will be a full run through, and each rehearsal will add another technical element; props, set, lights, costumes, make-up and a final dress rehearsal.” Below Shohreh Aghdashloo (Bernarda Alba) and cast Photo Johan Persson

So, if all of this has piqued your interest, why not show up during one of the auditions and see what is going on?

Monday, August 5, 2013

You Might Help Pick the Songs...Big Band Music with a Frank Sinatra Style

“The Northern Lights Trio” will be at The Edge Center in Bigfork for the fifth time and will bring special guest Bill Heide. This time they bring a Big Band sound and music reminiscent of Frank Sinarta.  During the intermission, this year's guests might even get a chance to help pick some songs.  This year listeners of all ages can enjoy the  “old standards” from this trio of piano, bass and drums plus the added vocal talents of the special guest, who might make you think that Sinatra has made one more “comeback”. Come and hear why on Saturday August 10 at 7PM. Price $10 adults, $5.00 children.

Ron Olsen will still be at the keyboard of The Edge Center’s Yamaha grand piano, but the show will be a different kind of performance.  Ron says, “we like to go out on the intermission to ‘mix with the crowd’ to take some requests from attendees and maybe play some of these when we return to the stage.”

Ron says, “We will open with Hogie Carmichel's Stardust as this has turned into kind of a tradition for us”. From then on the show will be something that is different from most performances at the Edge. “We plan to stick with the big band genre as much as possible, but may thrown in some C&W tunes and some more recent tunes to add a little variety.” But for those who want to  “trip the light fantastic” there will still be room.

Most of the songs picked for the performance are from a list of 500 greatest big band era music.  You won’t hear the 500, but some you might hear include:

“Stardust”... Artie Shaw performance in 1940 (above)

“Ain’t Misbehaven”…goes back to Fats Waller 1929 (above)

“Someone to Watch Over Me”…goes back to Eddy Condon in 1940 (above)

“Sunny Side of the Street”…goes back to Tommy Dorsey 1944

“Moon Glow”…Joe Venuti and his Orchestra in 1933 image above from:

“All of Me”… First performed by Belle Baker over the radio ( Bella shown above with another of her special songs) and "All of ME " was recorded in December 1931 by Ruth Etting

“It had to be You”…was performed by Ruth Etting (above) in the 1936 short film Melody in May and was first published in 1924

And here are some more songs you might hear plus lots more:

“Just in Time”
“Fly Me to the Moon”
“Lover Come Back to Me”
“Fool Rush in”
“On the Street Where you Live”
“It’s a Wonderful World”

After decades as a bar and supper club performer, Ron is as smooth as silk on his piano or accordion.  Ron adds that, “Bill Heide does a fantastic Sinatra, and he is a blast to accompany on the keyboard.” Add to that sound, the bass and drums from Jerry Hagen and Don Olsen and you get an evening of music that will make you want to come back for more.

Bill Heide, shown above in rehearsal, is the guest singer for the evening, and specializes in Big Band songs and those of Frank Sinatra. Bill says he has been singing all of his life starting with a Christmas Pageant when he was in grade school.  He is a Spring Lake resident where his father opened a store 100 years ago this year. With six decades worth of singing since coming back to Spring Lake after WWII, he has won many contests but says he never made a dime doing the singing he loves.

Bill sings Sinartra songs because Frank sang exactly in his key so it feels so natural.  Image of  Frank Sinatra above.  Bill will open with “All of Me”, and his performance will include “Nice and Easy”,  “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” plus more.

The group’s bass player, Jerry Hagen, who is now an Effie resident, was playing rock-n-roll back in the 1960s and never lost his love for music.  He plays for numerous musical events in the area and is often part of the music for many Edge Center activities.  His switch from rock-n-roll to a smoother genre for this event is seamless as it sounds.

You might say Don Olsen could relate to the piano player. He is Ron’s brother. They started a musical history sixty years ago when they played together in the “Olsen Family Orchestra” when Don was 5 and Ron 10.  That provides lots of practice time and they still enjoy the music.  The Edge performance might even give you a chance to hear Don play the “washtub bass”. Don’t know what that is? Come and find out.

The above photo is of the group at an earlier Edge Performance. And with this year’s show moving to a new sound...big band...Sinatra style with Bill Heide, the evening promises to be a fun trip to an earlier time where life was slower and maybe less complicated. We invite you to try this event at the Edge and we believe you will not be disappointed.

And, if you like the sounds of the Northern Lights Trio you might watch for them at other venues in the area. They all love their music and will play when given right opportunity.  Such an opportunity was at a recent Showboat event in Grand Rapids shown below.  Good weather, the open air and great music...what a nice combination.