Special Guests
Saturday, April 22, 2000


FRIFOT brings together three of the most colorful characters on the Swedish scene, all of them with deep roots in the tradition. The group was formed in 1987 and since then, thanks to their successful tours both in Sweden and abroad, they have won a large following beyond just the normal folk circles. Together they create powerfully contemporary music that gives new life to the old traditions without losing touch with the thoughts, feelings and expressions of our own day. Frifot pronouced (FREE FOT) is Per Gudmundson (fiddle and bagpipe), Ale Möller (mandola, hammered dulcimer, flutes), and Lena Willemark (vocals and fiddle).

Rob Fisher

ROB FISHER is known to longtime listeners of "A Prairie Home Companion" for his 1989-1993 tenure as music director and as conductor of the Coffee Club Orchestra, which he formed for the program. Fisher grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, where he started playing the piano at age 6. He went on to earn a botany degree at Duke University before giving himself to music. Fisher went from pianist to assistant conductor at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut and made his first major New York appearances as a conductor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s concert revivals of the Gershwin musicals "Of Thee I Sing" and "Let Them Eat Cake." He has since conducted many musicals on Broadway and on tour, including "Me and My Girl" with Tim Curry, "A Threepenny Opera" with Sting, and the recent smash hit, "Chicago." As a pianist, he has played solo performances with orchestras around the country, and has played the music of George Gershwin at Carnegie Hall and at concert halls across the U.S. and around the world. Fisher has conducted City Center’s Encores! series from its inception in 1994.

Vern Sutton

VERN SUTTON appeared on the first broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" and was a regular guest for over a decade. He first met Garrison Keillor when he was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota and Keillor was an undergrad. Sutton went on to direct the opera program at the University of Minnesota for over 30 years, and served as director of the University’s School of Music for eight years. In addition to his work on campus, he has directed plays, operas and musicals all over the Midwest, including a 1993 tour of Aaron Copland’s "The Tender Land," which was performed on seven midwestern working farms. As a singer and actor, Sutton has appeared with many of the major midwestern orchestras, opera companies, and musical groups, as well as with the BBC, the New Opera Theatre of New York, the Wolf Trap Festival, and others. Sutton has sung the premieres of 17 operas, nine song cycles, and three oratorios, and he recently released a new CD, "The Best of Vern Sutton," on the 10,000 Lakes label.

Members of tonight’s BROADWAY CHORUS are: Sopranos: Susan Derry, Rachel Coloff, Jamie Baer, Margaret Shafer; Altos: Ann Kittredge, Beth McVey, Julie Johnson, Vanessa Ayers; Tenors: Dale Hensley, Tony Capone, Colm Fitzmaurice, Joseph Webster; Baritones: John Halmi, Keith Spencer, Carson Church, Bob Osborne.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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