September Comes Rushing At Us in the Arts

by Sam Black


    Living in Duluth, we are surrounded by all aspects of the arts, week in and week out. Art exhibits, stage plays & musicals, poetry readings, chamber music, orchestral concerts, opera, dance come flowing at us like we were some major metropolitan center. We do hover at the northern access to Interstate 35, but (fortunately) we have not attracted hundreds of thousands of ticket buyers to move alongside Lake Superior. That’s what I did, so I don’t completely understand those who don’t follow my example.

A time for new beginnings
    I certainly do enjoy the opportunity to attend and to create arts events throughout the year, then turn around and write about them. About three weeks out of every year turns up blank, however. This has been one of those weeks. Our local colleges have started classes, but not performances. The public schools start this very week, so we will have more performances in about seven weeks or so. The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra will start up soon, along with Matinee Musicale, and all the theater companies will have new productions within the month.

   I did listen to my young friend David Packa share an hour’s worth of fine piano music by Claude Debussy this past Thursday over at Duluth Congregational Church on E. Superior. Live Music @ One happens every Thursday of the year out there. Of course, Pride activities were strong this past weekend all over the area, and now we settle into a busy week of arts in motion. 

Local recitals this coming weekend

   Over at UMD, soprano Alice Pierce will be joined by pianist Tracy Lipke-Perry at Weber Music Hall (7:30 pm on Friday the 8th) for the first faculty recital of the year. Then on the weekend, two new series start up in the center of Duluth. 
The Second Saturday Organ Series begins at 2pm on September 9 with an organ recital by Elaine Fox Mann, currently playing at Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, WI. The Felgemaker organ at the Sacred Heart Music Center on W. 4th Street is a lovely piece of 1898 history, recently improved and restored this very summer.  While there is no stated admission, donations for the ongoing repairs of the Felgemaker are happily accepted.

   On Sunday, September 10, the Sunday Recital Series at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum on E. 1st Street begins with a young singer from the Twin Cities, Jennifer LeDoux. She will sing music by Aaron Copland and Jocelyn Hagen, composers who are fascinated by the fields and prairies of the central United States. The recital begins at 3pm Sunday, and yours truly will happily join her from the piano bench. Again, no stated admission, but donations to the Karpeles series are greatly encouraged.

Two very special festivals in Duluth and Cloquet

   Meanwhile, the 24th Annual Lake Superior Harvest Festival is open from 10am until 4pm at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. Rain or shine, come for the food sampling, the music, and the crafts. Free parking, free admission, with new information from many sources.
On Saturday afternoon, the County Seat Theater Co. (now in Cloquet) is celebrating its 30th Anniversary from 5:30 until 7pm at the Encore Performing Arts Center just off I-35 and Hwy 33 in Cloquet. Come share in the celebration, followed at 7pm by the Northeast Timberland Band in a rousing tribute to 30 years of entertainment at the County Seat.

   As this column unfolded, the lack of performances did not create any difficulty for a word search. The arts are always in motion in our region, and the fall season will quickly spring into life before you finish reading this edition of The Reader Duluth.