The Fitzgerald Theater
Saint Paul, MN«archive page
With his quick wit and astounding virtuosity, guitarist Leo Kottke has amassed a huge and loyal following over his four-decade career. He made his recording debut in 1969: 12-String Blues, recorded live at the Scholar Coffee House in Minneapolis. Then came major-label releases Mudlark and the seminal 6- and 12-String Guitar, which has been reissued on CD three times since it first came out in the early 1970s. "My music is maybe hard to categorize," he allows. "It doesn't fit conveniently into the bins at record stores. I don't rise and fall with trends. It's been great that way." Among his recent albums are Try and Stop Me and Sixty Six Steps, a collaboration with bassist Mike Gordon of Phish.
Metropolitan Opera tenor Raúl Melo has sung principal roles with major opera companies worldwide. He made his Met debut during the 2005–2006 season as the Duke in Rigoletto. Other recent performances include the roles of Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) and Cavaradossi (Tosca) with the New York City Opera, the tenor soloist in the Verdi Requiem with Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and Alvaro in Verdi's La Forza del Destino at the Český Krumlov International Music Festival in the Czech Republic.
VocalEssence Ensemble Singers with Philip Brunelle, Artistic Director
The Oxford Times (UK) wrote, "VocalEssence have a blend that could and should be the envy of every choir in the business." Since 1991, the acclaimed VocalEssence Ensemble Singers the 32-voice core of the full VocalEssence Chorus, 130 voices in all have toured extensively. Under the direction of founder Philip Brunelle, the Minneapolis-based group is featured on two CDs with Garrison Keillor: Over the River & Through the Woods and Hymn to Potatoes, both on VocalEssence Records. Charles Kemper is at the piano.
Andra Suchy spent her childhood on a farm near Mandan, North Dakota, the daughter of two talented singers. By the time she was in grade school, she was traveling around, doing concerts and festivals with her family. These days, she sings with several groups in the Twin Cities area including the all-girl trio The Dollys. She also works as a back-up singer and as a jingle singer on commercials for White Castle, Target, and more. Andra's solo CD is called Patchwork Story.
The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band
The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band is led by A Prairie Home Companion music director Richard Dworsky. A masterful keyboard player, composer, and improviser in any style, he writes all the script themes and underscores, and he has accompanied guests from James Taylor to Renée Fleming. His latest CD is So Near and Dear to Me.
Chet Atkins called Pat Donohue (guitar) one of the greatest finger pickers in the world today. And he writes songs too recorded by Suzy Bogguss, Kenny Rogers and others. Freewayman (Bluesky Records) is the most recent of Pat's nine albums.
Gary Raynor (bass) has performed with the Count Basie band, Sammy Davis Jr. with whom he toured for several years and the Minnesota Klezmer Band. He teaches jazz bass at the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul.
Peter Johnson (percussion) has played klezmer music with Doc Severinsen and jazz with Dave Brubeck. He was a drummer for The Manhattan Transfer and for Gene Pitney. He has toured the world, but he always comes back to home base: Saint Paul.
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).