March’s cultural menagerie

Ready for Minot’s March cultural question? How important is the weather on your decision on whether to go out and come to a cultural event? With all of our modern electrical equipment, weather is not that important to us, but it is to all those instrumentalists and thespians. It is because of us they have spent hours and hours preparing to please us.

Cultural events in March in Minot start out with three spectacular concerts on the Minot State University campus at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall. The March 1 event presented by the Minot Symphony Orchestra has its emphasis on Russia. In our minds having just come from the Olympics in Russia, the orchestra now concentrates on Russian music. You will be hearing during this “Russian Spectacular” numbers such as Hector Berlioz’ “Roman Carnival Overture”; Nikolai Rimksy-Korsakov’s suite from the opera-ballet, “Mlada”; Eric Whitacre’s “Equus”; and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsy’s “Piano Concerto No. 1.” In addition, you will hear special guest Italian classical pianist Alessio Bax – all of this without leaving your seats.

This year, in addition to the concert, there has been arranged for you the opportunity of a lifetime. Over at the Grand Hotel, beginning at 1 p.m. on March 1, for $25 you may have “Lunch with the Maestro.” How much more up close and personal could you get to our maestro Scott Seaton – like running your fingers through his Beethoven hair. If you have not made reservations, do it now, call now! The number is 858-4228. Sochi has nothing on us.

You will have a first and a second opportunity as members of the International Artist Series to listen to separate performances in March. Both of these performances will be held at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall. The first performance, on March 2 at 3 p.m., features the Sixth Floor Trio. They are a chamber group who dedicate their music to entertain you with many different musical styles. Each member is an accomplished soloist and has received critical acclaim for their musical contributions. The trio’s genre-bending style is as unique as their instrumentation, collectively performing on piano, violin, clarinet and bassoon.

The second concert of the series in March features Jesse Lynch. This performance will be held at the Ann Nicole Nelson Hall March 24 at 7:30 p.m. Lynch is a composer, arranger, improviser and educator, and a New York City pianist with international touring experience who regularly performs in any number of musical styles. From Beethoven to Bop to free jazz and contemporary composition, Jesse regularly mixes the spectrum of musical innovation and tradition. Once again our thanks go out to the committee in charge of bringing top-of-the-line entertainment to the Minot area.

Companions for Children Inc. will be helped when you

attend the “Martini Masquerade Fundraiser” on March 14 at the Grand Hotel. There will be appetizers, silent auction, martini tasting and music by the MSU Jazz Group and can be enjoyed by those who are 21 and older. Tickets are available by contacting Companions for Children at 838-5784 or emailing Tickets are $35 and are limited, so purchase soon! Your involvement is bound to make a lot of children happy in Minot.

If you have ever attended an annual Minot High School Music Boosters “Chuck Full of Music” at our Magic City Campus, you will be there again on March 18 at 4:30 p.m. Not only will you be chuck full of music by bands, orchestras and choirs, but your tummy will be happy when you indulge in the Chuck Wagon-style meal. Ticket prices are $5 per person, and ages 5 and under are free. All of the fun, food and music for one low price. In fact, you will be chuck full of whatever makes you happy.

With your involvement in the Mouse River Players and the Taube Museum of Art, in March, you are bound to make two “Nancys” very happy. Nancy Pearson, the MRP treasure, has been described as the glue that holds the Mouse River Players together. Likewise, the glue could also be describing Nancy Walter, executive director of the Taube. You would also be making happy both of the organizations’ boards, plus certainly the participant – you – would be made happy.

On March 13-16, the Mouse River Players production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” will be held in the Arlene Theater. “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is a 1967 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, based on the characters created by the late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz in his comic strip Peanuts. Gesner has created a play to see over and over. This favorite musical, with its family-friendly atmosphere, brings Charlie Brown and his friends to life and examines the world through their eyes. If you can imagine John Fishpaw as Charlie Brown, you’ll have it. He will be aided and abetted by Dr. Conrad Davidison’s daughter, flippy gipperty Kena Davidson. Also in the cast you will see Woodstock (Roy Topher Hedgson), Sally (Monica Anderson), Frieda (Kathy Swanepoel), Peppermint Patty (Michelle LaMarca), Little Red-headed Girl (Kayla Boys), Marcie (Chelsea Battles) , Charlotte (Brenna Heupel) and Loretta (Kelly Knudson). Directors Holly Eidness and Paula Simonson are responsible for bringing these characters to life. Virginia Dohms faithfully and capably takes care of the music. It is your opportunity to bring to life a cartoon you regularly look for in The Minot Daily News. On March 13-15, at 7:30 p.m., and March 16, at 2 p.m., you can see the performance for $12, with children’s tickets $8. Call and make reservations today at 866-667-1977. For sure, the theater will be packed with kids of all ages.

When you have finished watching Charlie Brown you may have an itch to take the stage. If you do, stick around for the auditions on Sunday afternoon, and you may find yourself on stage for the next production of “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Auditions will be held March 16 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and March 17 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. This play is written by Joe DiPietro, and is an intimate, hilarious and poignant look at generation gaps and the immigrant experience. It will bring back memories and touch the hearts of all audience members. This play features two older men and two older women, as well as a young man and a young woman. Performances for the production are set for May 8-11 at The Arlene Theater.

The Mouse River Players are offering a program for children called Broadway Musical Theater. Children second grade and up will learn the fine points of being on stage. Master teachers Carlen and Connie Gilseth will instruct the classes. The classes will be held each Saturday 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 today by calling 838-3939 or email Carlen.gilseth

When Walter created a series of art classes, “Paint the Town Red”, geared to help you create a variety of art, little did she realize how widespread and interested Minot area adults would be in creating for themselves their own masterpieces. In fact, classes are full for March but you can register for April by calling 838-4445. The classes are held at the Taube and other locations from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and cost $35, which covers everything you need for an evening of learning and fun.

Yet another class, “Art All Around,” has been created and will be held at the Taube monthly. You must be 9 years and older and cost is $18 each session, which covers supplies for your masterpiece. Classes will include Printmaking, Repousse, Acrylic Painting and Watercolors. They will be held in the Art Education classroom on the following Thursdays: March 13, April 10 and May 8 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Class size is limited for a more individualized instruction, so be sure to register early. For more information or to register, call the Taube at 838-4445, email or visit their website at ( And when you know the instructor is Margaret Lee, you will immediately register because of her reputation as an instructor who is knowledgeable and fun.

While you are at the Taube, in the gallery you will you will find an exhibit from the Bismarck Downtown Artist Co-op. This exhibit features art in a variety of media by the 12 Bismarck full co-op members. The art on exhibit includes paintings, drawings, mixed media and ceramics. The exhibit opened Feb. 18 and runs through March 29.

In March, in Minot we hope you can attend and enjoy a variety of cultural events regardless of weather – lion or lamb.

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