“Love Songs and Arias” at the Hampton Inn and Third Thursday Events in Park Rapids

When Maestro Fulton Gallagher started the fund raising events for the Lake Bemidji Opera Company a few years ago, many of us were excited about having opera nights in Bemidji. This past summer a new venture, The Loon Opera, under the direction of one of Gallagher’s protégé’s Abe Hunter played to full houses with their all Menotti program. Obviously Gallagher knew what he was doing when he re-started opera in Bemidji along with his faithful cadre of singers, musicians and administrative duties of Nancy.

Although many of the young singers like Matt Goinz have gone on to seek their fortunes and further studies, some of the favorites have remained or returned to the area. A returning singer is soprano Sara Wabrowetz, a Duluth native who “loves it here in Bemidji.” Sara will be joined by Julia Lamon, Linda Wagner, and Mark Christensen whose dramatic rendering of romantic arias and Broadway songs are legendary. Joining the group this year is Josef Schlemper, a nuanced Sinatra interpreter, who over-filled the house (Headwaters School of Music and the Arts) when he held a 20th birthday concert.

This year the Gallaghers have turned over the whole “kit and caboodle” to  Abe Hunter. The Third Annual Love Songs and Arias” will be held at the Hampton Inn and Suites on Friday, February 11, 2001. The evening will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. to be followed by dinner and program at 7 p.m. The menu will begin with a champagne toast followed by an Insalate Verde. For the second course there is a choice of Coq au Vin or Beef Tenderloin in a red wine sauce. A decadent chocolate dessert with coffee will complete the meal. All this and first class entertainment for a $50 ticket and the proceeds will be going to the 2011 summer season of The Loon Opera Co.

Please make your reservations early as this event sells out quickly. For reservations and information, call Abe Hunter (218) 368-8805.

If you like First Friday events in Bemidji, how about driving a bit to the Park Rapids Third Thursday events? Officially named the Arts Downtown Park Rapids Series, it celebrates the revitalization and renovations almost completed in downtown Park Rapids. This Thursday, January 20, The Northern Light Wind Quintet will be playing at the Bella Caffe at 118 Third St. W in Park Rapids. Call 218-732-7625 for directions. Deane Johnson, a clarinet player for the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra will be appearing with the group from 5 to 5:30 and 6 to 6:30 p.m. Fran Gack will entertain from 5:30 to 6 and 6:30 to 7 p.m. at The Good Life Cafe on Main Street where a collection of watercolors on loan from the North Country Museum of Arts remain on display.

These events are designed to bring audiences to see and hear visual artists, musicians, writers and other artists in businesses in downtown Park Rapids on the Third Thursday of the month year round. The public is invited to attend and encouraged to make a free will donation to the artists. Contact Lu Ann Hurd-Lof at 652-4081, luann47@gmail.com.

This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008

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