What fun it was to sit in on a rehearsal of “Side by Side by Sondheim” and more on the quilt show this Saturday.

Sunday afternoon I had the opportunity to drop in at a rehearsal for the upcoming musical “Side by Side by Sondheim” and stayed until the very end. I must admit to being a bit prejudiced because Sondheim is my favorite lyricist and composer. Sondheim’s lyrics are poetry set to music; all the emotions and insights that a good poem should convey are there. Only a person with as much heartbreak and heart mending life events could pen these lyrics. Each song is a story in itself, beginning to end; one can cheer on, sympathize with, connect with, understand, or become a participant in the story.

DeeJay Arens, Alison Cease and Emily Quanrud rehearse "You Could Drive A Person Crazy."

It was also fun watching Steve Saari direct the show, blond curls flopping this way and that as he danced around the room. The score of the show includes songs that are well known (“Gotta Have a Gimmick”) with the unlikely and very funny trio of Julie Quantrud, Vicki Stenerson and Kevin Cease to the lesser known “Another 100 People” sensitively sung and acted by Alison Cease. I think that’s the key, all of the songs were sung and acted by the ensemble, there isn’t an empty moment. Giving away too much information and the desire to whet the appetite are conflicting ideas but I need to spotlight at least two performers.

Julie Kaiser hasn’t been seen on stage in Bemidji since Patsy Cline and that was almost a year ago. A member of the ensemble, she also sings a tug-at your heart strings duet with Vicki Wangberg and a solo, “Losing My Mind” from “Follies”—an absolutely stunning piece. Here’s where acting comes to play, the physical movements and facial expressions were sensitively done.

A newcomer to the Bemidji stage is Mike Lamon who moved here with his wife, Julia, last spring. A graduate of Concordia, he was in a few opera choruses in Moorhead and said that he missed singing. Mike works with Vicki Stenerson at the Social Security Office and she invited him to audition for the show. That’s the teaser; you’ll have to attend the show to hear his voice which was trained at Concordia. Yes, he is that good!

Wayne Huff once again shows his mastery of music and accompaniment. He is professional in every way and the Bemidji theater companies are so lucky to have him.

It is unfair to mention only a few players but there’s only so much space and I promised not to give away all the secrets. Get there, you won’t regret spending the evening or the very audience friendly ticket price. Again, 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the Wild Rose Theater, 501 Bemidji Ave. Top ticket price, $10—what a bargain! Want to call Steve or DeeJay of Saarens Productions? Their number is 218-616-0337.

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“I, of course, believe that quilting is an age old, beautiful form of artistic creativity and seeing them in natural light outdoors is amazing,” promises Bonnie Lundorff.

The upcoming out door quilt show this Saturday at Willow Wood Market, south of town on CR 9 will have more than just quilts. There will be many high craft vendors on site and Lakeland Public TV will be there to video a segment for the upcoming “Common Ground” season.

Jeff Olson, who may be accessed through his website olsonironworks.com, is a blacksmith by trade and an artist by avocation. He will be there to demonstrate his jewelry and smithing techniques. Another artist with natural materials such as twigs and vines is Jo Meyer who will also be on hand to demonstrate how to’s.

Funky Junk Market will be handled by Pam Hudson of Grandma’s Attic, Kathy Fauth of Checked Past Antiques of Grand Rapids, and Harriet Cafaro and Gina Walters, two women well known for their antique expertise. They will have a tent of their own to display treasures and junk, you know the drill, “One person’s junk is another person’s treasure.”

The event will happen rain or shine and is open to the public for free. If you decide to eat lunch (Wild Rice Soup and desserts), the proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Bemidji. There will be other vendors on site as well with handmade soaps, wool mittens, jewelry, fall produce bittersweet vines and much more.

The show will open at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m., the directions are easy. Go south on Rt. 71 to CR 9, turn right and the event is ¼ mile on the left. That’s all she wrote folks, thanks for reading.

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