Special Guests
Saturday, June 22, 2002

L to R: Mollie O'Brien, Garrison Keillor, Robin and Linda Williams


THE HOPEFUL GOSPEL QUARTET is a more diverse group than your standard gospel quartet: a Virginia couple who have nearly created their own musical genre, called Americana by the record industry, and who are both still in their first marriage; a Colorado blues, country, folk, R&B and jazz singer who fits both the 'belter' and the 'warbler' label; and a serious taller-than-average bass singer from Minnesota who has written humorous books and been nominated for numerous awards. None are cousins or siblings to any others. The Hopeful Gospel Quartet is: Robin and Linda Williams, Mollie O'Brien, and Garrison Keillor.

PETER OSTROUSHKO's latest album is Meeting on Southern Soil, with Norman Blake. There are eight previous, all beautiful and most interspersed with wry humor, with song titles such as Rumba de los Holsteins, Whalebone Feathers, B-O-R-S-C-H-T, Sluz Blues, Too Tight Polka, Corny Dog Ramble, and Puppy Belly Dance. The Pig's Eye Reel, and Unknowingly She walked With Grace Among Tall Men.

Asked how many albums, besides his own nine, that he had played on, he said: "Played on... well... Hard to say, exactly... five hundred is the number that comes to mind. It would be right around that..." He's currently working on a project of old live tracks of the Mando Boys, and he's also transcribing music of the great Irish fiddler John Dougherty to put in book form. He recently took a trip to Ireland, particularly to County Donegal and to the archives in Dublin, to track down his works; said he liked Ireland a lot more than he expected to.

MARK THOMSEN has a reputation as one of the country's leading lyric tenors and has starred in the opera houses of New York, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Washington, New Orleans and Houston, as well as on the European continent. During the 1999-2000 season, he returned to the New York City Opera to sing the title role in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito. In the summer of this season, he'll be heard as Ernesto in Don Pasquale at the Crested Butte (Colorado) Festival. His upcoming engagements include working in Toledo and Indianapolis performing in La Traviata and La Boheme.

He has twice won the Pavarotti Award in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is accompanied tonight by Sonja Thompson.

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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