February’s cultural fabrics

Question for a February cultural column: What do fabric and culture enjoy together? Answer: If and when you use your imagination, quite a bit. For example, when, on Feb. 2 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Taube Museum of Art, 2 N. Main, you can have, at the museum’s annual fundraiser, “Soup It Up”, soup that slides down like silk; veggie soup that, like wool, keeps you warm on a frigid day; or oriental rice soup like a tapestry. These three, plus four other soups that you can sample, will be ladled out to you by smiling representatives of six of Minot’s popular restaurants – plus a special concoction created by one of the museum’s members.

Added to the soups will be Marketplace Food’s freshly cut Italian bread and a variety of desserts, thanks to some of the museum’s talented dessert-makers. There will be, of course, coffee.

Strolling guitarist Leonard Haabak will help the soups go down while you enjoy the chatter of a room full of Taube supporters. There will be myriad silent auction goodies to bid on and the museum’s gift shop in which to shop. Minot State University ceramics students will have an array of their works of art for sale too, with the proceeds to go to the Ceramics Scholarship Fund, according to Linda Olson, who heads up the MSU Ceramics Department.

Nancy Walker, the Taube’s executive director, tips you off to the fact that if you are among the first 200 who slurp up soup on Feb. 2, you can return home with a for-real ceramic bowl. She also adds that, if you are a member of the Taube or an MSU student, you can soup it up for $12, and if you are not a member, $16 will be your cost. It just might be smart to join the hundreds that brag about their memberships. Children 8 and under may slurp soup for $8.

Late bargain flash! You can slurp your soup for half-price if you become a member before Feb. 2, “Soup It Up” day.

Now that you have supported the Taube by slurping soup, why not do something for yourself? Uncork your creative side, and with imagination, create a masterpiece when you spend two hours with Judy Bell, a well-known Minot artist.

In the series “Paint the Town Red,” the Taube will be offering five classes with five of Minot’s talented artists during this five-month painting experience, beginning Feb. 19 and continuing through June 20. Judy and the other artists will take you step-by-step once a month on your journey to a possible masterpiece. It will cost you $35 a class for an experience with a real live artist. The canvas and all necessary equipment toward its creation will be provided. “Sit, Sip and Create” on Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. Call 838-4445 for more information. Surprise yourself!

If you want to have an absolutely fabulous, one-of-a-kind February night

with 34-plus handsome, talented vocalists and an assortment of instrumentalists. Add in Lyn Jensen, the lone female at the piano, and they will be ready, willing and definitely able to accommodate you. The all-masculine Minot Heritage Singers promise yet another of their popular Variety Shows at The Vegas Motel in two separate sections beginning Feb. 14 and continuing Feb. 15 and 16. The second section will be Feb. 23-25. As always, you will hear and be amazed when you listen to top-of-the-line local soloists and ensembles, as they sing some of your favorite songs. And you will laugh when some of these same men turn comedic, with monologues and skits which have been carefully screened, according to expert screener Don Andrews. Don adds that during the evening it is suggested that you should spend some time buying.

Mark Schnabel, one of the fabrically cultured houndstoothers, says that besides the top-of-the-line music and skits, you are assured of hot food, hot and cold beverages, and for a miniscule amount of extra money, a luscious dessert. Bonus will be the exchange during the night of friendly chatter. It will cost you $20 for this variety show, and since there has always been a demand for tickets, it is suggested that you call the right now for yours at 833-6585. Fabrically, houndstooth and some scattered well-embroidered French knots will be your rewards celebrating this February’s Valentine’s Day.

An evening, of romance, chiffon and lace await you on Feb. 15, when you are at Minot’s Grand International Inn. On that night at 7:30 p.m., Western Plains Opera Company promises you a top-of-the-line soiree of operatic and popular songs, performed by top-of-the-line vocalists. Among the vocalists you will hear is Chad Armstrong, an MSU graduate, who returns to Minot after a successful career throughout Italy and the U.S. Also appearing will be soprano Kari Paludan, returning to Minot for the fourth time.

A third vocalist will also appear, New Jersey mezzo-soprano Sara Petrocelli, who was named district winner in the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and is also a studio artist with the Tulsa Opera. Local artists round out the evening’s musical cast. Dianna Anderson will accompany the vocalists. Ken Bowles, executive director, suggests leaving your opera glasses at home but bringing $20 for this fabulous February soiree.

Sunday, Feb. 17, at 4 p.m., Ann Nicole Nelson Hall be the stage as the experienced baton of Minot’s well-loved and respected band director Gordon Troxel, as he conducts North Dakota’s only brass band, “Brass Band of Minot.” Fabrically, you will see bright, shiny satin and hear rich, plush velvet tones. Troxel has accumulated a reputation of putting together programs varied enough to please all ages. This February afternoon concert promises again to be special. As always, there is no admission, but welcomed will be your generous free will offering for Minot’s Brass Band and its genial conductor.

Fabrically, patchwork would aptly describe the opening scenes of MSU’s comedic stage production “Bus Stop,” Feb. 19-23 in the Aleshire Theater at 7:30 p.m. Huddled together at a bus stop because of a blizzard, the characters spend time together with a lot of conversation, which eventually develops into a romantic venture. Rough and tough, buckskin-attired Bo and sweet young lady Cherie, with dreams of clothed organdy and lace, become an item when after the blizzard, the bus took off. What happened next you can discover when you are in the Aleshire in February.

Rich, luxurious, vibrant brocade can aptly describe what you will hear Feb. 24 when you listen to the Minot Chamber Chorale perform the ambitious J.S. Bach production of “Magnificat.” This number shows the vocal talent that Minot and the surrounding area has learned to enjoy and appreciate for many years. On the Sunday in February, one long dedicated member’s voice will have been stilled. Connie Brigg’s lifelong partner, Dr. Brian, will be forever remembered for his faithfulness and talents. There will be no charge for this vibrant Sunday concert. As always, petite, gifted Audrey Hugelen, pianist, will accompany the chorale. For more information call 858-3185.

Totally different from a long list of performances brought to the Ann Nicole Nelson stage will be Redhead Express and the Walker Family, performers from Alaska, as part of the International Artists Series on Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. If ever a fabric described this family production, it just has to be gingham, and variety well describes what you will hear. Gospel, country, Irish and Bluegrass combine for an evening which also includes vocal and instrumental numbers that are guaranteed to keep you warm like an igloo. It will be a family affair where the Alaskans play chillin’ music to warm up a cold February night.

Although the Mouse River Players stage in the Arlene Theater will not be occupied by seasoned actors and actresses until May of this year, the theater will be busy, beginning Feb. 9 at 9 a.m. Holly Eidsness, well-known thespian and teacher, will welcome second- and third-graders who really want to, in the future, take their places on stage. At the end of six weeks this group will perform “The Miller, Son and the Donkey” from “Aesop’s (Oh, So Slightly) Updated Fables.”

Introductory classes for fourth-graders and up will learn theater tactics from Holly from 10:45 to noon. The cost of the classes is $5 per class or $25 for all six. This group will perform “Country Mouse and the City Mouse,” from “Aesop’s (Oh, So Slightly) Updated Fables.” What a way to spend Saturday hours, learning what will help them take a real live stage as actors or actresses!

Fabrically, what results from participation in these classes could be described as quilted. Each participant becomes a piece of the theatrical quilt, thanks to the experience of Eidsness. Advanced classes will be held in April and the Mouse River Players will host the children’s show, “Aesop’s (Oh, So, Slightly) Updated Fables” in August. Contact Holly at mrp@midco.net.

And do have an unforgettable culturally fabrical February!

(Arlene Saugstad is a freelance writer. She lives in Minot.)