The Durango Children's Chorale
The Durango Children's Chorale was founded by current director Diane Van Den Berg and is now in its 15th consecutive season. Today's choir is made up of more than two dozen singers, ranging in age from eight to 16. The Chorale rehearses weekly, makes frequent Four Corner-region appearances, and occasionally tours. Recently, the organization performed in Telluride, Colorado; the Washington National Cathedral; and three live concerts in Durango with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. The Children's Chorale is a project of the Durango Choral Society. Appearing on today's program are Molly Alderton, Allison Barker, Mary Baty, Morgan Bond, Megan Cassidy, Micaela Cooley, Maria Creech, David Fisher, Taylor Fleming-Henning, Anne Gillis, Alta Graham, Jeffrey Graves, Laurie Hakes, Meredith Haspel, Scotty Howard, Veronique Jarrel-King, Kelly Kennedy, Piper Kuntz, Sam Martinez, Rachel Priest, Lucy Richards, Ellie Rosten, Laura Rosten, Jason Scruggs, Madde Stager, Crystal Stein, John Wagner, and John Pennington (percussion).
The Haunted Windchimes
Since The Haunted Windchimes formed in 2006, their sound — drawing from traditional folk and American roots — has attracted fans of every age, in the mountain West and beyond. "You know you're doing something right when three-year-olds are singing along," jests one of the members of this Pueblo, Colorado-based quintet. Their current CD, Live at the Western Jubilee, is on Blank-Tape Records. The band: Inaiah Lujan (guitar), Chela Lujan (banjo), Desirae Garcia (ukulele), Mike Clark (guitar, mandolin, harmonica, fiddle, squeezebox), and Sean Fanning (bass).
The Hot Club of Cowtown
You can't keep a good band down. Hot Club of Cowtown, the Austin, Texas-based hot jazz/Western swing trio that formed in the mid-1990s is back after a two-year hiatus — and they are still wowing fans wherever they go. Fiddler Elana James, guitarist Whit Smith and bassist Jake Erwin have taken their music worldwide and even did a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of the Caucasus, including Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan (the first American band to tour there). A retrospective album, The Best of the Hot Club of Cowtown (Shout! Factory Records), is just out, and a new studio CD of original material is slated for release in early 2009.
Robin and Linda Williams
"Individually their voices can melt cheese, and in duet they can do all-purpose welding," Garrison Keillor has said of Robin and Linda Williams. For decades, this these two have spent the lion's share of their time on the road, charming audiences worldwide and playing venues from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. They first showcased their robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time, and acoustic country on A Prairie Home Companion in 1975, the same year they recorded their first album. This year, they released their 21st, Stonewall Country, songs from their musical about Stonewall Jackson.
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).