Versatile soprano Maria Jette can sing dozens of operatic roles. She also performs pop songs, chamber music, oratorio, and show tunes. She has appeared with orchestras nationwide, including the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Minnesota Orchestra. She is a frequent collaborator with VocalEssence and a regular guest at the Oregon Festival of American Music. Among her recordings is In Our Little Paradise: Songs of P.G. Wodehouse, with pianist/accordionist Dan Chouinard.
Midwinter Tuba Quintet
Our Midwinter Tuba Quintet brings together five of the Twin Cities' top players of low-brass instruments. Ralph Hepola is principal tuba with the Minnesota Opera. His interest in opera has led to performances of 66 different operas in 89 productions in the U.S. and Europe. Nick Adragna has been principal tuba with the 338th Army Band in Livonia, Michigan. In 2011, he joined the Copper Street Brass Quintet in Minneapolis. Tom Ashworth (euphonium) is Professor of Trombone at the University of Minnesota. He has also served on the faculty at the Canberra (Australia) School of Music and at the University of Kansas. For 26 years, Dave Werden was the euphonium soloist with the U.S. Coast Guard Band. Since moving to Minnesota, he has performed with Symphonia (America's premier large tuba/euphonium ensemble), the Minnesota Orchestra, the Sheldon Theater Brass Band, and other organizations. Mike Forbes was a member of the U.S. Army Band, "Pershing's Own." He is principal tuba with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and founder of the Sotto Voce Quartet, a world-class tuba/euphonium group.
Run Boy Run
Flagged by Paste Magazine as one of "10 Arizona bands you should listen to now," old-time and bluegrass group Run Boy Run has been gathering fans throughout the West (and beyond) since they first teamed up at the University of Arizona in 2009. Winners of the 2011 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest, their sound includes captivating three-part female harmony and masterful fiddle work by a two-time Arizona State Fiddle Champion. Run Boy Run is Matt Rolland (fiddle, guitar), Grace Rolland (cello), Bekah Sandoval (fiddle), Jen Sandoval (mandolin), and Jesse Allen (bass).
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 and Vicksburg Blues (a collaboration with Butch Thompson) are the most recent of Pat's 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.
Richard Kriehn is principal second violin for the Washington/Idaho Symphony. But it's not all classical all the time; he is equally at home playing bluegrass fiddle and mandolin. He was a member of the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and the bluegrass group 1946.
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."
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).