Friday, July 25, 2014

Tribute Concert Headlining “Spider” John Koerner at the Edge

The “traditional American folk and country blues musician, rhythmic guitarist, song-crafter, singer, and humorist” Spider John Koerner will bring his talents to the Edge Center in Bigfork this month for a tribute concert to Marshall Oelmann who passed away last year. Marshall acted, sang, and helped direct at the Edge as only part of a career that included managing at KAXE, the stage managing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and hosting many a Jug Band Boogie here in MN.  John was a friend of Marshall’s for decades.  The concert will also include many of Marshall’s other musician friends.  Saturday August 16 at 7PM. Price $10 adults, $5 children.

John Koerner has a musical style based on the old blues masters and traditional songs.  He was born in 1938 and became part of the folk history in 1958. He helped shape American country blues and folk music throughout his career. Much of his music is still available on CD, some of which dates back to the 1960s. With a career that brought John to stages around the US and Europe and influenced a generation of performers, his is a wonderful talent to pay tribute to Marshall.  In his career, he has appeared as a guest on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, NPR, and this summer opened for Bonnie Raitt.

From Bob Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles, Volume One:
"With my newly learned repertoire, I then went further up the street and dropped into the Ten O'Clock Scholar, a Beat coffeehouse. I was looking for players with kindred spirits. The first guy I met in Minneapolis like me was sitting around in there. It was John Koerner and he also had an acoustic guitar with him. Koerner was tall and thin with a look of perpetual amusement on his face. We hit it off right away. ... When he spoke he was soft spoken, but when he sang he became a field holler shouter. Koerner was an exciting singer, and we began playing a lot together."

"Alone among the young blues revivalists, Koerner had a sound that was completely idiosyncratic and personal. From the first guitar riff, there was never any doubt about who was playing. Today the material has changed but the sound is intact...spare and funky, with lots of open spaces between oddly placed notes, all of it held together with his impeccable timing."—Blueswire

Above two quotes from John’s web site.  Read more at:

Marshall’s decades in entertaining included both program director and on-air talent as M. M. Buck at KAXE following his work at the folk festivals. His deep voice and large presence made him a natural for being on stage at the Edge Center.

He performed many roles and sang a large variety of music.  Throughout his work at the Edge he wanted to play the role of Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”.  He got his chance for this physically demanding role and went into training for six months. To many visitors to the Edge theatre, he will be always remembered in that role.  Many will also remember Marshall as the owner/operator of The Neighborhood Tavern in Effie.

For a live look at Marshall doing “his Fiddler thing” at the Edge click this link:

Scott Hall from KAXE calls Marshall a “Renaissance Radio Guy, which is to say he was very versatile. He could host any format with intelligence, humor and a common touch…”

Michael Goldberg also from KAXE saysl, "Marshall was a volunteer at KAXE. In 1985, when the interim manager walked off the job. He became a full time volunteer, devoting himself to keeping the station on the air thru rough times. In July 85 he became Program Director, and led the stations broadcast service in that capacity till 1993. He was the 'anchor' man in more ways than one. On the air he made every listener feel welcome and confident. Off the air, he brought out the talents of KAXE listeners and helped them bring those talents to the listeners by teaching them to become radio producers and hosts. After he left the stations staff, he continued to volunteer for any years, sharing his knowledge of music and the people of the region".

This tribute show coming to the Edge will be unique. With the talents of Spider John Koerner plus some other musical friends, there is sure to be a very wide variety of sounds to enjoy.  The grand finale of the show will get all the musicians back on stage and encourage audience participation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Twist in the Show From the “Northern Lights Trio” in Bigfork

This is the sixth year for the Piano Bar concert at the Edge Center in Bigfork. And each year there is something new coming from the “Northern Lights Trio”.  This year will be no exception. The first half of the show will be filled with the smooth sounds of old standards you don’t get to hear as often anymore.  It will be the same format that brings in great audiences every year.  The second half of the show will bring you a different sound designed to maybe get you a little more excited to even do some dancing in the pit. It will be a surprise, so you have to show up to find out what going to happen. Whatever it is you can be sure it will please and entertain you. Saturday August 9 at 7PM. Price $10 adults, $5 children.

With Ron Olsen playing keyboard including the Edge Yamaha and possibly more, Jerry Hagen on bass, and Ron’s brother, Don Olsen, on percussion instruments, the group keeps busy. You also may hear a washtub bass, washboard and accordion.  Ron is a retired bar and supper club entertainer, Jerry’s musical background goes back to the 1960s as a rock-n-roller, and Don’s first music was playing in the Olsen Family band at six years old. With those musical backgrounds, they have an amazing amount of experience totally over 150 years to share with you.

According to Ron, “With my time playing in venues where you have to provide a reason for an otherwise busy audience to listen, I learned that keeping a show ‘fresh’ is really important. That is why each year at the Edge we try to provide a new sound and ideas in our show.  We have been successful, and sincerely appreciate the turnouts we get.  And we plan on doing our best to keep it that way. This year’s ‘surprise’ second half will definitely be different for those who know our music. For those who have not seen our show before, we invite you to try it and let us do our best to entertain you.”

For three retired guys they keep very busy with music. “The Northern Lights Trio” entertains at a number of venues around the area including the Grand Rapids Showboat event last year and again this year. Ron, after decades of professional playing, is the most "retired" of the group and plays music on a more limited basis.

 Jerry’s start in the 1960’s included playing in the original “Pretenders” band and he never got enough music after retiring.  Jerry is heard around the area anywhere and anytime that he gets a chance to play.

Don spends part of his year out of state; he escapes for the winter to Arizona and plays with the Jan Garber Orchestra, which specializes in original charts from "The Idol of the Airways" back in the 30's and 40s.

For these three performers, playing with the trio is a great chance to reunite and enjoy audiences, have fun and play some music together.

The date and time for the Edge concert is Saturday August 9 at 7PM.  The prices are $10 adults and $5 children.  If you have heard them before we invite you to come for another excellent evening of music, laughs and something different.  If you have never been to one of these concerts, please come and find out why they keep packing the house year after year. They claim to be retired, but they play like they have over a century of experience. And that’s hard to match.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

“The Wiz” Musical in Bigfork at the Edge Center

“The Wiz” musical will be at the Edge Center in Bigfork July 18th through 20th. This modern take of  The Wizard of Oz story brings 1970s music alive and bright. Produced by The Stages Company from Hopkins, it is one of the annual young people musicals they bring to Bigfork. It opened in Hopkins last Friday for a 42 performance run. So why not “Ease on Down the Road” to Bigfork and see why it won seven Tony Awards back in the 70s? Pictures being worth a 1000 words, read the rest of this to see a bunch from the performance. Maybe even tempt you enough to visit the Edge in Bigfork? Friday and Saturday 7PM. Sunday 2PM. $10 adults $5 for children.

Artistic Director Sandy Boren-Barrett says, “We at Stages have been wanting to do a production of The Wiz for awhile…It is all of the things that you love about the original Dorothy story, but it’s in a more urban and modern setting…I think that the tornado is really beautifully done in this in that it's a ballet.”

Some of the actors comments. Andrew Moy of Plymouth who plays the Cowardly Lion says, “It's a very fun journey that they all go through, there's a lot of obstacles in the way, but its overall a fun journey for them,” Isabella Huerta who plays Dorothy says, “The songs are great and the dances are great, the acting is great…In the end she really learns about how important her family is to her and how she wants to be back home so badly.” Quotes from:

All photos by Bruce Challgren.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tenth Annual Juried Art Show at The Edge Gallery in Bigfork

The Art Gallery in Bigfork has its annual juried art show July 10th through August 16th this year. As in the past, every show has a different look and feel for the visitor.  That is because a different juror selects the exhibited art each year. This year is no exception, and you will find The Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork packed with the wonderful work of a wide variety of artists. This year’s juror, Lori Forshee-Donnay, chose seven artists whose work is new to juried exhibit in Bigfork. You will find paintings, photographs, blown glass, sculptures, and more. A total of 24 artists are part of the juried show. The Artists’ reception is on Friday, July 11 from 5:00 to 7:00. You can come and see the exhibit during normal gallery hours and during performances in the Edge Theatre. The Gallery is open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  Admission is no charge.

Juror Lori Forshee-Donnay is Executive Director of the Watermark Art Center (former Bemidji Community Art Center) in Bemidji, MN, where she is responsible for viewing artwork and evaluating artists in preparation for jury into the art center gallery and shop, the annual art fair, Art in the Park, and national juried ceramics competition and exhibit It’s Only Clay.

The new artists to the Edge Gallery are painters Jane Latimer, Paula Lichke, David Nyssen and Jan Stenson, photographer Jeff Poenix, carver Jim Lutgen and printmaker John McCoy.  Other artists that been in Art on the Edge before include photographers Elizabeth Blair, Randal Caton, Catherine Hanson, Audrey Johnson, Jill Johnson, Tim Lamey, and David Swanson.  Returning painters are Gene Madsen, Scott Rollenhagen, Nyle La Grange, and Sandra Thompson.  Jon Offutt’s blown glass, Denise Martin’s felted figure and Susan Gilbert’s aluminum sculpture are in the three-dimensional category.  Drawing examples extend from Aaron Squadroni’s grey tones in graphite pencil to David Richter’s intense colors done in colored and watercolor pencils to Robert Biaggio’s wood burned and oil color enhanced drawings.  Altogether 40 works of art from the 24 artists are part of the Tenth Annual Juried Exhibit.

Kocian’s Family Market is sponsoring the Best of Show Award, and Northland Dental and First State Bank of Bigfork are the funders for the two Awards of Excellence.  Bigfork Valley Hospital sponsors the People’s Choice Award. The People’s choice award is always a favorite at the show because it is the guests chance to voice an opinion as to what is the best art.  In many ways that makes it special. You can vote on your people’s choice winner all day on July 10th and up until 6PM July 11th at the reception.  Come to the reception for a chance to meet some of the artists, share in the snacks and see the exhibit. Friday, July 11th from 5PM to 7PM.