New features at NOTSTOCK

If you’ve ever wondered what a song by Radiohead or Outkast would sound like with an orchestral-type arrangement, then the Portland Cello Project might be something worth checking out at this year’s MSU NOTSTOCK festival.

MSU NOTSTOCK, a four-day celebration of the arts that Minot State University holds every year, will kick off Tuesday with a concert by the Portland Cello Project. The festival continues through Saturday on the MSU campus. All events are open to the public.

Laurie Geller, one of the organizers of the festival and MSU Honors program director, said NOTSTOCK is a live celebration of the arts.

“It’s very participatory so that the arts aren’t just viewed, but also interacted with,” Geller said.

New at NOTSTOCK this year will be the Portland Cello Project, a group of cello players and sometimes other instrumentalists who play pieces of music not normally heard coming from a cello. Possessing an 800-song repertoire, no two shows of theirs are alike. The group, affectionately referred to as PCP by their fans, have performed all over the country, including on the public radio show “Prairie Home Companion.” Their mission is to “bring the cello to places normally not heard, play music on the cello not normally heard on the instrument and build bridges across all musical communities by bringing a varied assortment of musical collaborations on stage with them.”

“This will change your idea of what cello and classically trained musicians do,” said Erik Anderson, associate professor of music at Minot State University. “They’re genre-defying and stereotype-defying musicians. They’re not letting the stereotype of cello playing define them. They are the picture of crossover artists and inclusivity.”

“It’s enjoyable for all ages,” Geller said.

The Portland Cello Project will take the stage on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Arvel Graving Theatre at Magic City Campus. Tickets, which can be purchased at the door or by calling 858-3185, are $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and children. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for the opening act, Less Than Organic, a local band that recently moved to Minneapolis.

People can observe everything at NOTSTOCK for free, but there is a $25 registration fee to participate in a seminar with the Portland Cello Project on Wednesday. The $10 concert ticket price for those wanting to participate in the seminar the next day is included in the $25 fee. Those wanting to register can do so at the concert Tuesday night or Wednesday morning before the seminar, or contact Anderson at 858-3576 or erik.anderson

Also new at NOTSTOCK this year is the addition of “Adventures in Design,” a live podcast episode about the culture in and around design and illustration that people can participate in. That will get the broadcasting students more involved, Geller said. The podcast will feature three designers or poster artists who interviewed fellow designers and artists, and will include some humor so as not to be just informative, Geller added. They will also be interviewing Geller and an artist from 62 Doors Gallery & Studios in this podcast and the episode will be available as a podcast on iTunes for free download .

“This will introduce (people) to artists they may not be aware of,” Geller said. The podcast event will take place in Aleshire Theatre in Hartnett Hall at Minot State University on Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.

Another feature at NOTSTOCK will be slam poet Sam Cook, who lives in Minneapolis and is the National Slam Poetry Champion. He also coaches college slam poetry groups to get them ready for the National Slam Poetry Competition. Slam poetry is energetic performance poetry that’s theatrical and more of a performance piece than poetic. Sarah Aleshire, instructor of English at Minot State University and organizer of the Wordstock component of NOTSTOCK, said to win slam poetry contests, the poets are rated on the poem, how it’s performed and the audience’s reaction.

“Sam Cook has grounded Midwest sensibilities that are true to this part of the country,” Aleshire added. “He breaks stereotypes of poetry readings when the focus is on how words sound and the performance of it. It’s not your grandma’s poetry reading.”

Cook will visit MSU classrooms Wednesday, and will conduct workshops in the Conference Center and a poetry slam in the Beaver Dam. He will also perform his work that same night at 7 p.m. in Aleshire Theater.

For a full schedule of NOTSTOCK events, check out the website