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. The trio's debut album, Shout Sister Shout, was recorded with Rob Fisher live at the Virginia Arts Festival and released earlier this year.
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.
Growing up in rural Maine, Heather Masse sang hymns and folk songs around home with her family. Now based in New York, this New England Conservatory of Music alum is a one-third of the Juno Award-winning Canadian trio The Wailin' Jennys. Lock My Heart, her recording with piano legend Dick Hyman, came out earlier this year on Red House Records.
Songwriter and vocalist Aoife O'Donovan grew up in a musical family in Newton, Massachusetts. In her teens, she took an interest in the American folk tradition, and she spent her summers in Ireland, studying music and dance. After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music, she formed the progressive bluegrass band Crooked Still and the trio Sometymes Why. Her debut solo album, Fossils, was released earlier this year on the Yep Roc label.
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 O, What A Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound (Grove Press), and the editor of several anthologies of poetry, including Good Poems: American Places (Viking).
The Saturday Night Band
Keyboardist, composer, and arranger Richard Dworsky is music director for A Prairie Home Companion. He has also accompanied Garrison Keillor on U.S. and European concert tours and has collaborated with numerous other performers, including Al Jarreau and singer/actress Kristin Chenoweth. Among his many CDs is So Near and Dear to Me (Prairie Home Productions).
When Richard Kriehn turned 10, his mom bought him a mandolin; at 19, he'd won the Buck White International Mandolin Contest. He went on to play with the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and bluegrass group 1946. On the classical side, he has performed with numerous orchestras and was principal second violin for the Washington/Idaho Symphony.
Guitarist Dean Magraw studied at the University of Minnesota and the Berklee School of Music in Boston. His first recording, 1994's Broken Silence, won the NAIRD award for Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year. Dean has since turned out a bunch of dazzling albums, including his latest, Reservoir (Acoustic Music Records), a collaboration with Sándor Szabó.
Mentions of drummer Ray Marchica are invariably peppered with words like "diverse," "versatile." and "respected." He has performed or recorded with everyone from Liza Minnelli to Little Richard; on Broadway, he's been the drummer for shows like Damn Yankees, A Chorus Line, and currently, Mamma Mia. His albums are In the Ring and A Different View, both on the Sons of Sound label.
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.
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).