Our new, revised website is easy to update from the road, so we thought we’d experiment with a daily blog tdocumenting the perils, wonders, and rewards of the road on this two-installment, seven-day tour to 14 sites in the Kitchigami Regional Library System (KRLS) in northern Minnesota. Come along for the ride!
We had a wonderful first day of tour! For this first long weekend, we took our girls along, and they’ve been a joy and big help in our opening programs. Everyone’s usually on the run to different activities, so it’s a nice change to all be together as a family, even cooped up in a packed car on a long roadtrip. Today we hit the road at 7:30 am to perform an 11:30 recital at the Brainerd Library. The maples are starting to show off along the road, and it looks like we picked some gorgeous days for travel in northern MN. We’ll see how our mood keeps up if the threatened first snow shows up tomorrow night!
In Brainerd we had a good crowd whose grins and laughs during the performance indicated they clearly enjoyed getting acquainted to the sound of our OboeBass! Vecchione/Erdahl Duo. Thanks again to the composers of our great original OboeBass duo rep – music we love to play and that consistently grabs audiences. Afterwards we enjoyed visiting with audience members including a recorder performer who complimented us with, “you guys should be buskers!” and a dedicated retired music teacher and singer who makes it a point to take in as many musical opportunities as she can, and was very enthusiastic about telling her friends about our upcoming performances. Heartwarming stuff!
Got a great tip for a Brainerd restaurant on our way out of town. We had a real treat at the Prairie Bay Restaurant — fire oven pizza, and the best onion rings any of us have ever experienced. Maybe worth a major roadtrip on their own! Rolf also had the best hamburger of his life. They could have stopped at the portabello, but added 1/2 lb of great burger, really good, thick bacon, fresh tomato, Swiss cheese, and a fresh bun all done perfectly — still savoring the memory!
Our next stop was Walker Library, on the shores of beautiful Leech Lake, where we performed our Pages of Music “Spirit Sings” educational program. It celebrates the contributions of African American performers and composers to the music of America and the world. Again a good crowd, this time largely thanks to the branch librarian who invited some senior center residents to be bussed to the library to enhance our audience. In the small world dept., a couple came because they had enjoyed coming to the concert series we organize a couple hundred miles south in Lakeville. When they saw us listed as performers at the library near their cabin, they had to come again. Had nice visits with lots of folks afterwards, and we’re always thrilled by the stories that music seems to draw out of people. In the past when we’ve done this program, we’ve run into people who had heard Marian Anderson perform live in MN. This time a man shared fun stories about growing up in Backus and playing on the town baseball team with his brothers. He was so animated and enthused that it was hard to believe he was “two years short of 100.”
We’re now camped out in the AmericInn in Pequot Lakes, where we polished off the day with a nice unwind in the hotel hot tub and pool and a great apple dumpling at a restaurant across the street. Two performances down and 12 to go! This has been a fun family time, and we look forward to the remaining four performances of this weekend.
Thanks also to Barb Mann, the coordinator of legacy programs for the KRLS, who lined up this series of performances, did great advance publicity and laid out a concise itinerary and lodging reservations. We’re used to lining all the details up ourselves, and it’s been a joy and relief being able to relax a little and focus on the performances. Time to hit the hay and get ready for tomorrow’s double in Crosslake and Longville. Aloha!