Cultural question for this column for July - How many Scandinavians, those married to Scandinavians, and assorted friends of Scandinavian culture preservation did it take to create Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, North Dakota?
No matter what your response may be, it's for sure that there were hundreds of individuals involved. The end result has brought hundreds of you - no matter about your DNA - to this fabulous park to have weddings, receptions, concerts, and to simply take in the works of art like the typical Scandinavian Stave and the shimmering waterfall.
Little did the creators of this park imagine that hundreds this summer of 2012 would enjoy the park as they enjoy a variety of concerts put together by Minot Area Council of the Arts Executive Director Terri Aldrich and Steve Veikly.
On Sundays, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Thursdays, at 7 p.m., you will simply need to be in this park and be happy with a variety of programs.
It took an innocent meandering Mouse turned into an ugly ravaging river to make the usual venues for summer park programs impossible. To the rescue came Scandinavian Heritage Park, thanks to the usual Scandinavian generosity.
The Taube at 2 N. Main St. in downtown Minot will be active both indoors and outdoors in July, according to Nancy Walter, executive director. There will be art classes in myriad media for all of you, no matter your age or wishes for the summer. Simply call Nancy at 838-4425 to get in on a summer of fun.
At the end of the month, specifically the 31st, you can be in on a summer barbecue and live auction. The auction will feature small works of art that have been trimming the Taube's inside walls for your viewing during the month. You can also go online at (www.taubemuseum.org) to place bids by email or phone. What a way to wind up the summer at the center of art in Minot!
If you have ever been a party involved in the breakup of a serious relationship once destined for marriage, it could be interesting for you to be in the audience July 7-11, at 8:30 p.m. out in Minot State University's Amphitheater, to witness the production of "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," which features the music of well-loved and respected artist Neil Sedaka. You will, according to director Chad Gifford, find out what happens when an abandoned bride takes off with her girlfriend to New York' s famous Catskills. Enter a well-known heartthrob singer, and your solution is that a party involved in a marital breakup could be helpful. Cast members for this production are: Brittany Armstrong, Sarah Forbes, Daniel Johnson, Jason Gaarder, Claire Hoselton and C.J. Leigh. For reservations, call 858-3228.
And out at the same theater at the same time of day,
from July 19-24 you can sit in comfy seats, eat popcorn and drink pop while you find out what happens to a New York playboy when he takes off for Deadrock and falls madly in love with a cowgirl. The question posted in the production "Crazy For You" - is there such thing as love at first sight?
Music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin are sure to bring some nostalgia to some. The play is directed and choreographed by Dr. Ali Davidson Smith. Be prepared to see a stage full of people of all shapes and sizes and talents. There will be cowboys and cowgirls, follies dancers, card sharks and lackeys.
If you are moved to sing or hum you could be joining the cast or a soloist with: "I've Got Rhythm," "Embraceable You," "Tonight's the Night" or "They Can't Take That Away From Me," plus many other familiar Gershwin creations. Enjoy a musical evening outdoors with a talented North Dakota cast, directed by a talented North Dakota lady.
All throughout July, Scandinavian Heritage Park will be alive with music for all of you. On the first day of July, two guitarists will entertain you. Gene Putnam, whom you have heard of before, will be joined by a former Target manager Curt Fuller. You will find out that Fuller also knows something about managing how to get wonderful music from a guitar.
Linda Olson, who happens to know a lot about ceramics, will have ceramic pieces she has created on display.
On Wednesday, July 4, you may spend the day if you wish where there will be a patriotic program, 5K races, an all-faith church service and more according to Aldrich. There is a very special reason to bring your lunch if you wish, she says, and enjoy the Jerry Spitzer-directed Minot City Band.
If you would like to eat breakfast in the park you can, because providers will do the providing. Of course there will be vendors whose products you could be interested in, too. If you enjoy an air show, there will be one at the Minot International Airport with the special Snowbirds (Canadian Snowbirds to be correct) in fascinating form in the skies above you. Fireworks will be lighting up those skies come darkness, winding up another patriotic Fourth of July.
On July 5, if you like old-time gospel and country-style music, you will be at Scandinavian Heritage Park to hear members of the Dakota Rose Band. You can also enjoy Blue Canary and Cheryl Firth.
On Sunday, July 8, three musical gentlemen well known as the JMB Band will be ready with their special brand of music. They will readily respond if you ask for Bud Whitty, Jerry Schlag or Myron Dammen. Tina Hjelmstad will be in the park, too, with a display of her mixed media works.
On Thursday, July 12, Spitzer, baton in hand, will - as he as done for many years - bring out the best in band music with the help of the Minot City Band. A plus that will amaze you: A display called Stillpoint Photography featuring the talents of Shan Cunningham.
Sunday, July 16, you will be in for treats. The favorite band Dakota Dixie will pep things up in the park with the help of trumpeter par excellence Pat Schwaan in charge. Photography by Aaron Michaels will be the visual art.
Sousa lovers will be sure to be in the park Sunday, July 18, when Spitzer and the City Band pulls out all the stops for this annual Sousa concert. Mosaics created by Tami Millstead will be on display.
If you connect James Lowe with floral design, you are 100 percent correct. On July 22, you will discover that Lowe has yet another talent because he will be the Master of Ceremonies for an excitedly different program in the park. Celtic music will be performed by a group of orchestral musicians and soloists going by the name of "Greenman," and a group of Minoters known as the "Society for Creative Anachronism" will amaze you.
On July 26, be prepared for talented arms and legs to go into action when youthful dancers from the Dance Company of Minot show off their talents. Nancy Hankins will have a display of her artistic talents.
Winding up the July celebration of cultural talents here in Minot on the 29th at Scandinavian Heritage Park will be the music of Swing Band of Minot, with Schwaan calling the swings for this favorite and popular band. Lowe will also have a display of his floral talent and will be back by popular demand as master of ceremonies.
From the auction and barbecue at the Taube to Scandinavian Heritage Park with swinging music and James Lowe with his floral designs, July will be jubilant, culturally, for every one of you. Promises plus ... .