Special Guests
Saturday, May 17, 2003

Stephanie Davis

STEPHANIE DAVIS is a fourth-generation Montanan who spent several years fine-tuning her singing and songwriting skills in Nashville, and having her songs recorded by artists like Garth Brooks, Roger Whittaker, Martina McBride and Shelby Lynn. Davis not only sings and writes music, she also plays multiple instruments and has released two self-produced albums, River of No Return and I'm Pullin' Through, on her own label, Recluse Records. Davis has worked with her friend Garth Brooks and his touring band on several occasions and in 1994 she opened all of his shows for the year. Davis often appears at festivals, cowboy poetry gatherings and concerts throughout the west and later this year she will be touring in Chile and Ireland. Davis has plans to release another album later this year and is currently working on an illustrated story-poem book called The Icy Blue Norther.

Jorja Fleezanis

JORJA FLEEZANIS began studying violin with Ara Zerounian while she was attending public school in Detroit, her hometown. She went on to study at the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music before she joined the Chicago Symphony at age 23. Since then, Fleezanis has been a member of several chamber music groups, including the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra where she was concertmaster, and the San Francisco Symphony where she was associate concertmaster. Fleezanis has performed at such prestigious events as the Cabrillo Festival, the Chester Summer Festival, the Minnesota Orchestra's Viennese Sommerfest and she has been featured on MPR's popular chamber music program Saint Paul Sunday. Fleezanis has been the concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra since September 1989 and is also a member of the University of Minnesota faculty, where she teaches violin, conducts courses in orchestral and concertmaster training and leads sectional rehearsals.

VocalEssence with Philip Brunelle

The VocalEssence Ensemble Singers are a group of 26-voice singers who are chosen for their musicianship, vocal qualities and flexibility in singing many styles of music. Since the group was formed in 1991, the Ensemble Singers have toured Europe three times. In 1994, they were the first professional American chorus to perform at the Internationale Orgelwoche Nürnberg. In 1997, they were the first professional U.S. chorus chosen to sing at the prestigious Prague Spring Festival. The VocalEssence Ensemble Singers have made many recordings, including three volumes of music by African American composers and Dominick Argento: An American Romantic. They are directed by conductor and founder Philip Brunelle. The members of VocalEssence are: Sopranos: Kathleen Hanson, Lori Lewis, Margaret Lanning Sabin, Dara Kirchofner Scholz, Andrea Schussler, Ruth Speigel, and Linda Zelig. Altos: Katie Crawford, Nina Heebink ,Barbara Kastens, Karen Lovgren Kennedy, Marita Link, and Jaime Nelson. Tenors: Kevin Bailey, Robert Griffin, Curt Hopmann, Mark Larsen, Thomas Larson, and Kurtis Parlin. Basses: Christopher Brunelle, Steve Burger, Ryan French, James Ramlet, and Robert C. Smith. Tonight, VocalEssence is joined by the Singers from the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, who will be performing selections from the opera Olav Tryggvason, begun by Edvard Grieg and Bjornstjerne Bjornson in 1873 and completed, 130 years later, by Ragnar Soderling and Knut Jorgen Moe. Several selections from this opera will be performed by the singers, who will be joined by 16 members of VocalEssence. Philip Brunelle will conduct this group, and they will be performing at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The singers are: Knut Moe, Trond Moe, Nini Ritzau, and Ingebjorg Kosmo. They’ll be accompanied by pianist Tore Dingstad.

DAN NEWTON, a.k.a. "Daddy Squeeze," has been a Twin Cities resident since 1987. After studying folklore and music at the University of Nebraska he traveled extensively in the British Isles and across the U.S., learning whatever he could about regional music and food. Dan now resides in St. Paul where he maintains his life-long fascination with all things spicy, pungent food, French Roast coffee, dark beer, Jug-band, Cajun Gypsy, and Cumbia music, and unbelievable stories. He collects hot sauce, enjoys playing baseball, and watching Betty Boop cartoons with his son, Walker. Dan spends most his time playing accordion with his group, the "Café Accordion Orchestra," performing the repertoire of the popular Parisian dance bands of the 1920s and 30s, Musette orchestras. He also performs regularly with country blues singer and guitarist Dr. John Walker as "Daddy Squeeze and the Doctor," and with the bands Jumbo Ya Ya, Guys Can Talk, dotCombo, and Art Carnage. He has appeared on recordings by Prudence Johnson, the Proclaimers, Peter Ostroushko, Son Volt, and Neal & Leandra. Dan released his 7th CD, La Vie Musette, in 2002.

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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