Time to celebrate that feisty February culture

A cultural question for this column: If someone described you or an event as feisty, what do you think they would mean? To save you a trip to the dictionary, here are some helpful hints – lively, spirited or go-getting. All of these words also describe culture in February in Minot.

The Taube Museum of Art in downtown Minot is destined to be feisty for three events. The first one, on Feb. 8, is called “Soup It Up.” Several years ago, the Taube’s think-tankers chose as a fundraiser “Soup It Up.” It has been so successful that this year several hundred of you can trek into the Taube starting at 11 a.m. for bowls full of delicious soup. If you are one of the first 200, you can go home with – besides the soup and French bread thanks to Marketplace Foods – a unique ceramic bowl. The Minot State University ceramics department, Jim Bailey’s Hi Performance Ceramics and the Minot High School ceramics class are responsible for making these bowls. Minot restaurants Primo, Ebeneezer’s and Olive Garden will provide some of the soups. New this year as soupsters are Judge Gary and Margaret Lee, Teri Tingley and the Museum’s board of directors. This event offers an opportunity not only for you to indulge in homemade soup, but also an opportunity to view an assortment of artwork that adorns the Taube walls. This artwork came about as a result of a recent Taube event called “Off the Wall Exhibit and Sale.” If you see one or more that you would like to purchase, purchase. You will also want to look at a variety of silent action items as you enjoy the music of Echo’s Answer. Funds raised from the silent auction items will go to the MSU Ceramics Scholarship Fund and the Taube. If you are a member of the Taube, it will cost you $12 to eat the soups. Non-members, it will cost you $16. According to Nancy Walter, executive director of the Taube, if you become a member by Feb. 8 it will cost you $8. Children 8 and under are half-price. The Taube’s think-tankers will once again thank you for making “Soup It Up” successful on a February day.

Members of the Minot Downtown Business and Professional Association will arrange for you to celebrate Valentine’s Day. They will transform the Taube, from 6 to 10 p.m., into a romantic atmosphere for an elegant evening of eating. For $75, you will be offered a Valentine’s dinner, wine sampling and education with each course while listening to beautiful dinner music. There will be gifts of roses and truffles for everyone. This five-course dinner starts with appetizers by Delisimo. Then it is salad and soup by Sweet & Flour Patisserie. Entrees are by Souris River Brewing, with a choice of prime rib, baked potato and garnish; chicken breast, shrimp skewer, rice pilaf and garnish; or vegetarian lasagna, sweet potato and garnish. A wonderful chocolate dessert by Sweet & Flour will finish the dinner. Tickets are available at Cookies for You downtown. You won’t have to go outside the city limits of Minot for “An Evening of Wine and Roses” for your Valentine’s celebration. This evening is just one way the Minot Downtown Merchants Association can be described as feisty.

Another event in the Taube’s art series “Paint the Town Red” will occur Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Reservations should be made by calling the Taube at 838-4445 for this evening of artist instruction offered by Rebecca Elhardt. Walker says that by evening’s end, your creation may resemble the impressionistic style of the artist Monet – and your evening will be described as feisty.

On Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Grand Hotel in Minot, you will have an opportunity to support the Northern Plains Children’s Advocacy Center as you enjoy an evening of Diamonds, Bubbles and Bidding with Shaun Sipma as master of ceremonies. For $25, your evening will include hors d’oeuvres, champagne, silent auction and live auction, with dance to follow with music by Soulshine. The event will include a diamond raffle sponsored by Lien’s Jewelry and photography by Otis and James. Tickets can be purchased at La Di Da, SOS Image, Broadway Bean & Bagel Co. and Northern Plains Children’s Advocacy Center. Tickets will also be sold at the door. Guests must be 21 or older to attend yet another feisty evening in

February in Minot.

There has to be something very special about an all-male group of musicians, their music, their skits and their director to have come back year after year for 40 years as the “Heritage Singers Variety Show.” The doors open at 5 p.m. at The Vegas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb 13-15, and Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 20-22. You will once again be able to clap, laugh and enjoy the antics of the Heritage Singers. Once again directing this talented group of singers will be Dave Jensen, and at the piano once again, his wife Lyn Jensen. While many of you enjoy special concerts offered by the group throughout the year, the February variety show always plays to standing room only audiences. It’s possible that is because John Schuler, concoctor of skits, has provided and will provide again a variety of original skits. All of them are guaranteed safe for all ages. Of course there will be food – salad and pasta. A free tip: Bring along some paprika. For an additional price, you may enjoy a feisty dessert. Those in charge of the silent auction want you spend some time looking at and purchasing from a variety of items contributed by the Heritage Singers and their friends. Tickets for these variety show dates may be purchased at the MACA Headquarters, in the entryway in the Artspace building. Don Andrews and other Heritage Singers suggest that you dash into Artspace immediately or call 833-6585 or 852-2787. Don also offers silent auction pickups by calling 839-0937. OK, Don? You could be sorry if you wait too long, tickets will go fast. Everyone involved, including you, are in for a feisty evening at The Vegas.

Minot State University Theater Department presents the drama “Waiting for Lefty” on Feb. 18-22 at 7:30 p.m. If you are an adult, it will cost you $6; $5 for students and seniors to see this drama, written by Clifford Odets. This play is set in the depression years involving a group of taxi drivers and covers how the little guy sticks up for what is right. This set of vignettes could result in a feisty evening in the Aleshire Theater.

If you regularly attend the Minot Chamber Chorale concerts, you will not want to miss the one on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. at MSU’s Ann Nicole Nelson Hall. As feisty conductor Bob Demke alerts all of you, in addition to members of the Chamber Chorale you will hear the MSU Concert Choir, Bismarck/Mandan Civic Chorus, Rugby Chorale and other choruses from around the area as they join voices for a “Stroope Celebration.” A special addition to the evening chamber concert will be the appearance of the worldwide-known composer, conductor and lecturer Z. Randall Stroope. According to Bob, it has taken a long time to secure Maestro Stroope, and he says it has all been worthwhile. Stroope starting composing music at the age of 10 and has composed more than 125 numbers. He will conduct the mass concert performing some of his own compositions. As a conductor, he regularly appears nationally and internationally in places like the Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. And Bob may be able to arrange for you to shake Stroope’s hand – yet another addition to your brag book of notable hands you have shaken.

On Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. in MSU’s Nelson Hall, members of the Brass Band of Minot will present “Sounds of Brass.” It can be said that to have a feisty concert, you must have a feisty conductor. How true of Gordon Troxel and the Brass Band of Minot. Let’s hope that Gordon approves of this descriptive word. According to Gordon, the evening concert will include numbers like “The William Tell Overture”; “Laude,” a Salvation Army Praise Song; “Pacem,” a piece written for organ and brass band by Marian and Wally Ost; “Csardas,” a marimba solo with Justin Goetz; “American Overture” by Jenkins; “The Deadwood Stage,” a trombone quartet depicting the wild west of Calamity Jane; and a great arrangement of “The Band Played On.” It will be recalled fondly that Wally Ost and his wife Ester, former Minot residents, were actively involved in Minot’s musical organizations. In fact, Wally earned for himself a reputation as a composer, and the Brass Band has played a number of his compositions. Included in the evening’s program are featured soloists Suzanne Miller on organ; Justin Goetz on marimba; and a trombone quartet with Joe Alme, Julie Reiten, Paul Miller and Jennifer Brenna. Gordon reminds you that your free will offering will make it possible for more feisty evenings by the Brass Band of Minot.

Here is a note for future actresses and actors: The Mouse River Players are offering a program for children second grade and up to learn the fine points of being on stage. Classes will be held in the Arlene Theater. Master teachers Carlen and Connie Gilseth will offer classes geared to turning out members of Broadway Musical Theater at the end of the classes. Classes will be held each Sunday in March, with the show on April 5. Cost is $40 per actor (maximum $80 per family). Scholarships are available. Be sure to pre-register by calling 838-3939 or email What a wonderful way to turn out future Julie Andrewses and Gene Kellys.

As this is the column’s conclusion, it’s hoped that you now know the meaning of feisty – and that your February cultural month is feisty.

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