Archived Story

Is your heart in the arts this February?

Published 10:02am Friday, February 1, 2013

Column: Eye on the Arts, by Brock Besse

February not only brings us the promise of love, but also the gift of music and the arts in Albert Lea.

Our community is busting at the seams with talent and many wonderful events for everyone to attend.

In continuation with the newest addition of the live feed from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City comes Meet the Met — a pre-opera discussion, held at 12:15 p.m. Feb. 15 at Prairie Wind Coffee. This half-hour discussion will give history, synopsis and introduce the singers for “The Met: Live in HD” transmission on Feb. 16 at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

The opera is Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” a story of passion, love, hatred and loyalty. The opera begins at noon. Tickets are available at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center when the box office is open on Thursdays, online through Albert Lea Community Theater, the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau or prior to the opera. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and $18 if you hold a Civic Music season ticket or ACT season tickets.

Check out for clips and interviews from the opera.

There is an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Austin Area Art Center. Eighteen Albert Lea artists are displaying art at the Austin Area Art Center. The title of the gallery show is “On the Road to Austin.” The exhibit opened Wednesday and will continue through Feb. 24. There will be various mediums to enjoy, and you can meet the artists at the open house. The Austin Art Center is at the Oak Park Mall. Its phone number is 507-433-8451. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

At both 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, the Eagles tribute band Hotel California will perform at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $2o and are available at the box office and online.

On Feb. 14, 15, 16 and 20, 21, 22 and 23, ACT will perform “Sherlock Holmes: Final Adventure” directed by Jerry Girton at 7:30 p.m. at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $15 and are available at the box office and online.

Salem Lutheran Church will host Lenten recitals this year at 12:15 p.m. Thursdays. These half-hour recitals feature members of the Southeast Minnesota American Guild of Organists. The first recital will be Feb. 21 with guest organist Rosalie Alcoser from Rochester.

Eileen Nelson Ness will perform Feb. 28. Recitals will continue in March.

First Lutheran Church will host its annual Lenten recital series each Wednesday during Lent from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. There is no charge to attend these half-hour recitals, and attendees are welcome to bring a sack lunch if desired.

Brenda Ludtke will begin our series on Feb. 13. Violinist Orrie Jirele will perform Feb. 20, and organist Neal Erickson will perform Feb. 27. There will be future recitals through March 27.

There will be an upcoming Albert Lea Civic Music concert on Valentine’s Day. The Thuringer Salonquintett is a chamber music ensemble committed to the wonderful central European tradition of light and entertaining music.

Their program transcends the notions of classical and popular music and combines their impeccable, spontaneous musicality with fun and innovative programming. The concert is held at the Albert Lea High School auditorium and begins at 7:30 p.m. You must have a season ticket to attend this concert. Season tickets can be purchased prior to the concert.

A Valentine murder mystery dinner theater will be held at the Lighthouse Event Center at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and Feb. 16. Tickets are $25 each, and reservations can be made by calling 373-3144.

The Lighthouse Event Center will host the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 Tickets can be purchased at Marshall Street Music. For more information, visit

Treat yourself and a loved one to a night out, and enjoy the arts in Albert Lea this February!

Brock Besse is the music director at First Lutheran Church.