More arts in August than meets the eye

Published 8:44 am Thursday, July 28, 2011

Column: Eileen Nelson Ness, Eye on the Arts

Welcome to the August edition of “Eye on the Arts” around Albert Lea. Usually we think of August being the lazy days of summer with not much going on, but there are arts happening in Albert Lea! Of course, we kick off August with the Freeborn County Fair with great Grandstand entertainment in the evenings Aug. 2-7. Don’t forget the local entertainment at Entertainment Square and at the Fairlane Building each day too. Check the schedules listed in the paper and fair book.

Eileen Nelson Ness

Here is what is happening around town following the fair.

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The Albert Lea Art Center, 224 S. Broadway Ave., from Aug. 9 to Sept. 17 presents “Broadway Previews: The Art Center’s Permanent Collection on Display.” On Thursday, Aug. 11, from 10 a.m. to noon, the Art Center will offer “Experience Creativity: A Summer Kids’ Class.” There is a limit of 10 participants, $5 for materials. Call the Art Center to register at 507-373-5665.

On Thursday, Aug. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m., the Art Center will have an open house. Many of these works on display will be auctioned at the second annual Celebrating the Arts & Artists event at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club on Oct. 21. There is no admission fee.

On Thursday, Aug. 18, the Art Center offers its monthly lecture series at 7 p.m., with no admission fee. Nancy Vanderwaerdt speaks on the topic “Dream Circles for All Ages.”

The Freeborn County Historical Museum has its annual Echoes from the Past: A Journey into History. It is a cemetery walk, slated for Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at Graceland Cemetery. The rain location will be at the museum. Admission is $5, children under 11 are free. Re-enactors tell stories of the lives of four people who lived and were part of the history of Freeborn County. Refreshments follow the presentations.

There will be a special interactive participation play and performance of “Dorothy & the Wizard of Oz” on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 27 at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Marian Ross Performing Arts Center, 147 N. Broadway Ave. in Albert Lea. This enchanting participation play is geared especially for children and the young at heart. This is a great way to introduce children to the theater. While this performance is not like the movie, children in the audience may oil the tin man, stuff the scarecrow, become the trees in the forest, hide Dorothy, hold Toto and hug the Cowardly Lion.

You will be treated to local and familiar faces in the lead roles.

Dorothy: Lisa Sturtz

The Cowardly Lion: Linda Opstad

The Tin Man: Loyal Leas

The Scarecrow: Roxanne Irons

The Good Witch: Sue Jorgensen;

The Bad Witch: Nancy Hockenberry

The Wizard: Well, you will just have to come to find out.

Toto, of course, will be played by Toto!

Tickets are $8 and are for general seating and must be purchased for the specific day and time. Included in the ticket price is a raffle for three drawings at each performance and each person will receive a large red Dorothy shoe cookie as a take home treat. Tickets are available at Ben’s Floral & Frame Designs, Doyle’s Hallmark and Celebrations.

This production is sponsored by the Albert B Cuppage Charitable Foundation and presented by PEO, Chapter CV. PEO, a Philanthropic Educational Organization, promotes education opportunities for women. It has six philanthropies that include Cottey College, a two-year women’s college in Missouri and five other programs that provide grants, loans and scholarships for women in higher education locally, nationally and internationally. The proceeds from the performances go to these scholarships for women.

Coming soon is the annual kickoff for the Civic Music Series Aug. 30-Sept. 9. Again this year the Civic Music Association has outdone themselves with a lineup of great concerts for the best bargain in town. Here are the dates and the artists for the 2011-2012 season:

Oct. 2: Metales M5 Mexican Brass (a mix of the shenanigans of the Blues Brothers and seriousness of the Canadian Brass)

Oct. 18: Street Corner Symphony (exciting new male a cappella sextet, runners-up in the TV show “Sing Off”)

Feb. 17: Bottom Line Duo (only bass and cello duo in the world, blending classics and pops)

March 27: Ilya Yakushev (Gold medal winner of the 2005 World Piano Competition)

April 23: Red Head Express (Old-time, gospel, bluegrass and country, family fun with the Walker clan).

Ticket prices are the same as last year: adult $40; student high school age and under $10, and family of two adults and children high school age and under at home $85. Watch the Tribune closer to the kickoff dates for where to purchase tickets. You must purchase a season ticket as no individual tickets are sold for these concerts. What a bargain! Where else can you go to hear world-class entertainment for $8 a ticket? Right here in Albert Lea, that’s where!

Eileen Nelson Ness is music director at the United Methodist Church, director of the Albert Lea Cantori and freelance musician in the Albert Lea area.