Northwest Minnesota Takes Center Stage

By Erica Wacker

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Performing arts abound in Minnesota, and it’s not just the Twin Cities venues that have audiences cheering. In the northwest part of the state, orchestras, choirs, theater groups and concert halls have a full calendar of impressive performances lined up this fall. Whether you’re headed to Bemidji, Moorhead or Thief River Falls, consider adding a live show to your must-see list.

All Genres of Music

Bemidji Symphony Orchestra.jpgMusic fans will have their pick of performances in various genres throughout the region this fall. The Bemidji Symphony Orchestra (pictured at right) starts its season on Oct. 5 with “Bach, Rach and Bolero,” starring guest pianist Andreas Klein. On Nov. 9, “Flute, Fantasy and Fun!” is a world-premiere collaboration between composer Tod Machover and Grammy-nominated flutist Carol Wincenc.

Northeast of Moorhead in Ulen, the Top Hat Theatre brings performers from Minnesota and beyond to the auditorium at Ulen-Hitterdal Public School. This fall’s lineup features the young and talented Sawtooth Bluegrass Band from Wabasha (Sept. 13), local Celtic group Ring of Kerry (Oct. 11) and the lively Boston Brass quintet (Nov. 10).

Further north, Roseau and Thief River Falls both host annual concert series that include two performances in the fall. This year, the Northern Lights Concert Association presents a cappella group Six Appeal on Sept. 25 and contemporary singer/pianist Tony DeSare on Nov. 6, both at the Roseau High School Theater. At Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls, hear gypsy jazz and standards from Harmonious Wail on Oct. 5 and female trio American Tapestry on Nov. 24 as part of the Thief River Falls Concert Series.

For two days of fun, the Roots on the Red festival is a family-friendly celebration of Americana, bluegrass and folk music held at Moorhead’s Bluestem Amphitheater (Sept. 6-7). Acts include Jeremy Messersmith, Mike Doughty, and headliners Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin.

Other upcoming concerts in the region include Christian artist Mark Schultz (Sept. 19) and Amy Grant (Oct. 22) at Bemidji’s Sanford Center, and the Twin Forks Chorus at East Grand Forks Senior High School (Nov. 2).

Dramas, Comedies & Musicals

Several area theater groups are gearing up for their fall shows, including Jasper’s Theater in Park Rapids, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. On the first three Saturdays in September, the “Best of Jasper’s” variety show combines music, magic, comedy and dance. The Dan Brekke Band closes out the season on Sept. 27.

theatre_OpeningNight_01.pngThe Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes has 10 performances between now and Thanksgiving, ranging from musical acts to dance troupes to kids shows. Highlights include “Curious George” on Oct. 9, “Broadway Songbook on Tour” from St. Paul’s Ordway Center on Oct. 25, and one-man show “Accidental Hero” on Nov. 20.

Back in Bemidji, the Bemidji Community Theater is staging two classic tales at The Historic Chief Theater. “On Golden Pond,” based on the award-winning film starring Henry and Jane Fonda and Katharine Hepburn, is playing Sept. 19-21. The beloved musical “Fiddler on the Roof” is Nov. 14-16 and 21-23.

Take the kids to the Minnesota Folklore Theater in Walker for “Bring Warm Clothes” on Oct. 9-12, based on the best-selling book about the state’s history. The theater also hosts an interactive holiday lunch on Thanksgiving weekend.

Find more music and theater performances in our Events calendar.