May 14, 2011

State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

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Elvin Bishop

Bluesman Elvin Bishop was a founding member of the groundbreaking Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He went solo in 1968, moved from Chicago to the Bay Area, and continued a music career that's now into its fifth decade. His twenty-some albums include 2008's Grammy-nominated The Blues Rolls On and Raisin' Hell Revue (Delta Groove Music), to be released next week. Joining Bishop tonight are Finis Tasby (vocals) and Bob Welch (guitar).

Concordia University St. Paul Handbell Ensemble

The Concordia University St. Paul Handbell Ensemble began in Concordia's music department in the 1980s. The group of 13 student ringers earn academic credit for this course. They perform for Concordia's daily chapel services and in the annual Christmas concert, as well as the occasional off-campus appearance. Professor Carolynne Mathis has been the director of the ensemble since 1998. Tonight's performers: Brittany Arlow, Hayley Bahnemann, Josiah Bode, Alyssa Burdett, Krista Hasse, Sarah Jensen, Mark Langton, Jacob Larson, Meri Pearson, Cassandra Penny, Erin Rudolph, Leah Timm, and Alexander Wright. On percussion: Andrew Eckhardt, Nikolai Gibbons, and Christine Mennicke.

Jearlyn Steele

Jearlyn Steele grew up in Indiana and first sang with her siblings (as The Steele Children). After she left home and moved to Minnesota, one by one the rest of the Steele kids followed. They started singing together again as The Steeles, and now music is the family business. Jearlyn also hosts Steele Talkin', a Sunday-night radio show that originates on WCCO in Minneapolis and is heard in some 30 states nationwide. Jearlyn Steele Sings Songs from A Prairie Home Companion is her most recent CD.

Women's Vocal Ensemble of the St. Olaf Choir

The Women's Vocal Ensemble of the St. Olaf Choir performs with the same choral excellence and artistry listeners have come to expect since the choir's founding in 1912 by F. Melius Christiansen, a pioneer of a cappella choral singing in America. Based at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, the full 75-voice St. Olaf Choir has appeared in major concert halls from New York City to Los Angeles, Scandinavia to China. Among their recordings is Great Hymns of Faith (St. Olaf Records). Conductor: Sigrid Johnson. Singers: Stephanie Abbas, Amanda Balgaard, Cassie Bogh, Katie Burk, Maggie Burk, Rachel Dahlen, and Annie Deering. Iselin Donaldson, Meg Granum, Laura Kyle, Elizabeth Rollins, and Kate Swee.

Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor was born in Anoka, graduated from the University of Minnesota ('66), and lives in St. Paul. He is the author of numerous books, including Life Among the Lutherans (Augsburg Books) and Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance (Viking), and the editor of several anthologies of poetry, including Good Poems: American Places (Viking).

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. Keyboard player, composer and improviser in any style, he also writes all the script themes and underscores. His latest CD is So Near and Dear to Me.

Chet Atkins called Pat Donohue (guitar) one of the greatest fingerpickers 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.

Andy Stein (violin, saxophone) has far-flung musical leanings: He was a founding member of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen; he collaborated with Garrison Keillor to create the opera Mr. and Mrs. Olson; and he has recorded with dozens of artists, from Itzhak Perlman to Nellie McKay.

Tim Russell

One minute he's mild-mannered Tim Russell; the next he's George Bush or Julia Child or Barack Obama. We've yet to stump this man of many voices. In other roles, Tim played the part of Al, the stage manager, in the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion and a detective in the Coen brothers' A Serious Man.

Sue Scott

On APHC, Sue Scott plays everything from ditzy teenagers to Guy Noir stunners to leathery crones who've smoked one pack of Camel straights too many. The Tucson, Arizona, native is well known for her extensive commercial and voice-over work on radio and television, as well as movie and stage roles.

Tom Keith

Is that water dripping? Footsteps coming this way? Car tires spinning on an icy driveway? Nope — it's sound effects wizard Tom Keith. With vocal gymnastics and a variety of props, Tom has worked his magic on APHC since the mid-1970s. Starting out as a board operator at Minnesota Public Radio, Tom never expected that his career would take such a turn.

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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