Members of tonight's Broadway Chorus are: Sopranos: Susan Derry, Rachel Coloff, Jamie Baer, Margaret Shafer; Altos: Ann Kittredge, Beth McVey, Julie Johnson, Vanessa Ayers; Tenors: Dale Hensley, Tony Capone, Colm Fitzmaurice, Joseph Webster; Baritones: John Halmi, Keith Spencer, Carson Church, Bob Osborne.
Sam Bush made his recording debut, Poor Richards Almanac, when he was 17, after holding title as the National Junior Fiddle Champion for three consecutive years. When he was 19 he founded New Grass Revival (NGR), a band that combined a variety of music styles like rock, pop, reggae, jazz, country and bluegrass for 18 years. NGR released ten albums and disbanded on New Year's Eve in 1989 by opening for the Grateful Dead. After NGR, Bush led Emmylou Harris' Grammy-winning Nash Ramblers for five years. Bush, who plays the mandolin, fiddle and guitar, has recorded on albums by Lyle Lovett, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Left Over Salmon and many others, and he has released three solo records. Bush's latest release is Ice Caps: Peaks of Telluride and he looks forward to touring with his band this fall to promote it.
Bob Edwards first went on the air as National Public Radio's first newscaster in 1974, and in 1979 helped launch Morning Edition, which became the most listened-to program in public radio. Edwards hosted the show for twenty-five years, conducting over 20,000 interviews and winning numerous awards, including an Edward R. Murrow Award and a George Foster Peabody Award. Edwards is currently a senior correspondent for NPR news.
St. Paul native and jazz pianist Dave Frishberg is known for his wry lyrics and memorable melodies. Four of his albums have earned Grammy nominations. And his songs have been performed by some of America's finest voices, including Rosemary Clooney and Michael Feinstein. Frishberg's genius is apparent to anyone who grew up in the '70s hearing his Schoolhouse Rock segments, including the popular "I'm Just a Bill." He was raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, attended journalism school at the University of Minnesota and then moved to the East Coast. He spent the '60s in New York City, playing in the rhythm section of jazz greats—Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Ben Webster, and Gene Krupa—and accompanying singers such as Carmen McRae. In 1971, Frishberg moved to Los Angeles, where he became a sought-after studio musician, recording with Susannah McCorkle, Manhattan Transfer, Herb Alpert, Bill Berry's L.A. Band, and others. He now resides here in Portland. His most recent vocal CD is Where You At (Sterling). His instrumental recordings, including Dave Frishberg: By Himself, are found on the Arbors Jazz label.
Donald Hall writes poetry and prose. He was born in Hamden, Connecticut, attended Philips Exeter, Harvard University, and Oxford. After graduation from Oxford, Hall was awarded fellowships at Stanford University (1953-54) and at Harvard (1954-57). It was during that time that his first book of poetry, Exiles and Marriages (1955) was published. From 1957 to 1975, he taught at the University of Michigan. In 1975, he and his wife, writer Jane Kenyon, moved to his ancestral farm at Eagle Pond in Wilmot, New Hampshire. His nearly two dozen books of prose include String Too Short To Be Saved (1961), reminiscences of youthful summers spent at Eagle Pond Farm. New Hampshire named Hall its Poet Laureate in 1984, a title he held until 1989. He has been honored with many literary awards and citations, including the Caldecott Medal in 1980 for a children's book, Ox-Cart Man, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1989 for a book of poetry, The One Day. Hall and Kenyon were the subject of Bill Moyers' public-television program, A Life Together, in 1993. In 1995, Kenyon died of leukemia. Hall's latest book of poetry, The Old Life (Houghton Mifflin), is a collection of four poems: the title poem is an autobiographical account of Hall's life from his earliest childhood memories to Kenyon's death. Hall's most recent juvenile books are When Willard Met Babe Ruth, a story of a 12-year-old boy who meets Babe Ruth, and Old Home Day, which traces the growth of a New Hampshire village from pre-history to the bicentennial of its founding.
Louisville's own Brigid Kaelin is a songwriter, accordionist, pianist, and master of the musical saw. She spent several years in New York earning a degree from New York University, during which time she sang with an Irish band and dabbled as a cabaret performer. After college, she worked as a television producer at the documentary division of CBS. But she missed home and family, so she returned to Kentucky and began singing in bars around her hometown. Now known for clever lyrics and sense of humor, she has toured the world performing her own brand of original music. Her recordings include her debut album, Keep Your Secrets, and West 28th Street, a reference to one of the four breweries that once operated in Louisville.
Vern Sutton appeared on the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion and was a regular guest for over a decade. He first met Garrison Keillor when he was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota and Keillor was an undergrad. Sutton went on to direct the opera program at the University of Minnesota for over 30 years, and served as director of the University's School of Music for eight years. In addition to his work on campus, he has directed plays, operas and musicals all over the Midwest, including a 1993 tour of Aaron Copland's The Tender Land, which was performed on seven midwestern working farms. As a singer and actor, Sutton has appeared with many of the major midwestern orchestras, opera companies, and musical groups, as well as with the BBC, the New Opera Theatre of New York, the Wolf Trap Festival, and others. Sutton has sung the premieres of 17 operas, nine song cycles, and three oratorios, and he recently released a new CD, The Best of Vern Sutton, on the 10,000 Lakes label.
VocalEssence with Philip Brunelle
Founded by Philip Brunelle in 1969 under the name Plymouth Music Series, VocalEssence is recognized internationally for innovative exploration of music for voices and instruments. Each year the organization, under Brunelle's direction, presents a series of concerts featuring the 120-voice VocalEssence Chorus and the 32-voice Ensemble Singers along with soloists and instrumentalists. VocalEssence has received the ASCAP/ Chorus America Award for adventurous programming of contemporary music an unprecedented five times, and was awarded the Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence. Their latest recordings are Over the River & Through the Woods, a live concert celebration of Thanksgiving, and Hymn to Potatoes, a compilation of choral skits and bits from their appearances on A Prairie Home Companion. In December of 2005, Philip Brunelle was recognized for his outstanding service to British music and culture by being named an Honorary Member of Order of the British Empire.
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, and Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny (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.
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.
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).