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).
An authority on American music and musical theater, Norfolk native Rob Fisher spent four seasons leading the Coffee Club Orchestra for Garrison Keillor's American Radio Company. He has been a guest of virtually every major orchestra in the U.S. as conductor or pianist, and he has made numerous appearances on the Lyrics & Lyricists series at the 92nd Street Y. For his work as music director and conductor of the Tony-winning Encores! series at New York's City Center, he was presented the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Special Achievement.
Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
When Doyle Lawson was a youngster in East Tennessee, he couldn't wait for Saturday nights when he'd hear Bill Monroe on the Grand Ole Opry. At age 11, he taught himself to play the mandolin, and still in his teens, he got a job playing banjo with Jimmy Martin. He started Quicksilver in 1979. Last year, Doyle Lawson was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. A new album, Roads Well Traveled (Mountain Home), was released in March. The band: Jason Barie (fiddle), Dustin Pyrtle (guitar), Joe Dean (banjo), Josh Swift (dobro), and Corey Hensley (bass).
Howard Levy is perhaps best known for developing a fully chromatic harmonica style on a standard 10-hole diatonic instrument. Anyone who's ever picked up a little Hohner Marine Band can appreciate the feat. His musical adventures include journeys into jazz, pop, rock, Latin, classical, folk, blues, country, and more. Among his many recordings is Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica & Orchestra (Balkan Samba Records).
Missouri native and North Carolina transplant Joe Newberry has played music most of his life. Known for his powerful banjo work, he is also a prizewinning guitarist, fiddler, and singer. He plays with the string band Big Medicine, with Bruce Molsky and Rafe Stefanini as the Jumpsteady Boys, and in a duo with mandolinist Mike Compton. Live, Joe's 2012 recording with Compton, mines the brother duet music of the 1930s and '40s.
U.S. Fleet Forces Band
Established in 1945, the U.S. Fleet Forces Band is the musical representative for the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. The largest of the Navy's 11 Fleet Bands, this unit performs hundreds of engagements annually, providing musical support for ships, military bases, foreign dignitaries, and many community relations events. The band, under the direction of Lieutenant C.S. White, is staffed by some of the Navy's finest musicians.
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. Singing the music they love, these two have carved out a four-decade career that has taken them 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 released their first album. Their 22nd, These Old Dark Hills (Red House Records), came out last summer.
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.
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).