The DiGiallonardo Sisters
The DiGiallonardo Sisters — Daniela, Nadia, and Christine — started singing together when they were kids Brooklyn. They still call Brooklyn home, and they still love stacking up those three-part harmonies. Now, Daniela teaches social studies at Brooklyn's Mark Twain Intermediate School for the Gifted & Talented; Nadia is a pianist, composer, arranger, and singer; and Christine is a singer and actor whose credits include Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare in the Park Festival).
A recognized authority on American music and musical theater, Rob Fisher spent four seasons leading the Coffee Club Orchestra for Garrison Keillor's American Radio Company. He is creator and artistic director of the annual Lyrics and Lyricist series at the 92nd Street Y. For his work as music director and conductor of the Tony Award-winning Encores! series at New York's City Center, he was presented the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Special Achievement. As guest artist, he has led major symphony orchestras coast to coast.
Joel Grey got his start at the age of 10 in the Cleveland Playhouse production of On Borrowed Time. Since then, this actor, singer, dancer, director, and Broadway legend has chalked up credits that include George M!, Goodtime Charley, Chicago, and Wicked, as well as his Tony- and Oscar-winning portrayal of the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret. He is currently appearing as Moonface Martin in Anything Goes at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
The Klezmer Conservatory Band
Since its formation by Hankus Netsky in 1980, the Boston-based Klezmer Conservatory Band has kept toes tapping at concerts, wedding receptions, and bar and bat mitzvah celebrations. In 1994, the band performed with Joel Grey in his recreation of Mickey Katz's Borscht Capades, and they appeared with Itzhak Perlman in a 1995 PBS special called In the Fiddler's House. KCB's many recordings include Oy Chanukah! (Rounder). The band: Robin Miller (flute), Jim Guttmann (bass), Aaron Alexander (drums), Mark Hamilton (trombone), Mark Berney (cornet), Ilene Stahl (clarinet), Pete Rushefsky (tsimbl), Hankus Netsky (piano).
Violin virtuoso and conductor Itzhak Perlman is treasured by audiences around the globe. Winner of four Emmy Awards and 15 Grammys, he has performed in the world's great concert halls, not to mention playing jazz with Oscar Peterson, klezmer with groups like the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and Beethoven's Minuet in G with a tuba-tooting Muppet on Sesame Street. Perlman's latest album is Mendelssohn: Piano Trios (Sony Classics), a collaboration with Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma. Piano: John Root.
Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
Gillian Welch grew up in Los Angeles, where her musical parents wrote for The Carol Burnett Show. In the early 1990s, she met Dave Rawlings at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, while the two were students waiting to audition for the country-band class. Over the past two decades, they have carved out a highly successful career, including Welch's new Grammy-nominated album, The Harrow & The Harvest (Acony Records).
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 Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance (Viking) and A Christmas Blizzard (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. Nobody's Fault (Bluesky Records) is the most recent of Pat's 10 albums.
Gary Raynor (bass) has performed with the Count Basie band and Sammy Davis Jr., with whom he toured for several years. He was first call for dozens of touring Broadway shows, including the first presentation of The Lion King. Gary teaches 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.
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.
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.
Sound effects man Fred Newman is an actor, writer, musician, and sound designer for film and TV. He is author of the book (and CD/CD-ROM) MouthSounds. Fred admits that, growing up, he was unceremoniously removed from several classrooms, "once by my bottom lip."
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).