Upcoming events including Loon Opera, Pecha Kucha, Bemidji Area Symphony Orchestra concert and comments on


Abe Hunter has taken the lead in producing the first two productions of The Loon Opera Company with its debut coming next Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26 at the Wild Rose Theater. Hunter is well known in the Bemidji community for his serious study and virtuosity on the music scene: collaborative artist by accompanying many classical singers at BSU, musical director for BSU musicals, solo concerts, playing jazz at Sparkling Waters Restaurant to name a few of his ventures. Fulton Gallagher, the Impresario for the Opera Night Galas for the past few years, has been mentoring Hunter and showcasing his talents for all of the galas as pianist and musical director.
Now his student will be conducting and producing two short operas by American composer Gian Carlo Menotti—although Menotti retained his Italian citizenship, he became an American citizen. Most of the singers were just heard at the Italian Opera Night in early June. Local audiences will be glad to hear that Karissa Korbel will be singing and Sarah Bull will join the cast. This will be the farewell Bemidji performance for tenor Dallas Dubke who is finishing his internship at a local Lutheran church the end of June. There will be a preview article next week after the rehearsal interviews and photos will also be posted on the blog. You can contact Abe Hunter at 368-8805 to make a reservation or for more information. More information about the operas will be added within a few days as more research needs to be done first!


Another new addition to the arts/social scene in Bemidji will be the first Pecha Kucha Night at the Cabin Coffeehouse and Café tomorrow night, Thursday, June 17. The movement also called “PKN” or “20×20” was started in Tokyo—hence the Japanese name pronounced peh’-cha koo-cha—as a way for concise presentation formats. Microsoft PowerPoint is used to project images on a screen for 20 seconds during which time each presenter speaks for 20 seconds. The event is usually informal and should be fun, fast-paced and perhaps inspiring. The speakers for this week are jewelry artist Jennifer Anderson, restaurant owner Noemi Aylesworth, photographer Trish Barthorpe, funeral home director and actor Kevin Cease, public speaker and author John Eggers, designer Erik Evensen, outdoor sports enthusiast Mark Morrissey, public speaker Kimberle Nagle, graphic designer and PKN co-sponsor Samantha Nienow and chiropractor and model airplane enthusiast David Wold. Admission to the 6:30 start is free and refreshments will be available for purchase. This could turn out to be an ongoing event in Bemidji with enough audience and speaker support.


Author Jim Proebstle spoke to an appreciative audience yesterday at the Bemidji Public Library about his novel, “In the Absence of Honor.” The book is a fiction piece set in northern Minnesota simply because of Proebstle’s long history of coming to Minnesota from Canton, Ohio for a summer vacation. His grandfather worked in Cass Lake and his father lived there until he went to college and then returned during the summer with his family. Proebstle said that he always enjoyed writing and when this short story started to get longer, he decided to turn it into a novel which took him six years to complete because he could only write about two hours a day—after or before office hours. Proebstle said he worked on a computer, tucked away in a quiet corner at his local library. It was interesting to learn that he used the Meyers-Briggs personality inventory to build his characters which kept helped him to construct characters that acted and reacted within the inventory restraints. He did admit that once a story really gets going it’s the characters that take the story where it needs to go—that seems to be a universal comment by authors of fiction.


Looking ahead, the Bemidji Public Library book discussion will be on “Water Witches” by Chris Bohjalian who will join the discussion via conference call during the noontime book club meeting on Tuesday, July 6. The other meeting of the book club will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 8. I checked the library Monday and all of the available books are out. It is usually better to read a book before attending the discussion but when an author will be available for questions by the readers, it can give a good indication of the type of book and whether or not you will want to read it in the future.

Don’t forget about the Bemidji Area Community Orchestra concert this Father’s Day, Sunday, June 20. The 7 p.m. start will either be on the lawn in front of Baker Park or at Bangsberg Fine and Performing Arts Complex depending upon the weather. Tuba Jim Thompson told me that they will be playing some marches and a medley from “Victory at Sea.”