Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Happy Days from Bloomington to Bemidji!

Just completed an amazing two day run at the Bloomington Center For the Arts' Black Box Theater. It was really great to play to a sold out crowd on Sunday!!

It was a perfect intimate space for the show and the audience was engaged and participatory.  Many of them thanked me for bringing back memories.  The sound was superb as was the lighting, manned by Jordan Daoust, AV Specialist at BCA.  

The band was my cradle and we were swingin'!  My thanks to Reynold Philipsek, guitar, Josh Granowki, double bass and Doug Haining, horns (as featured above).  

I just booked a Happy Days tour of the Kitchigami Regional Libraries which will take me from Brainerd to Bemidji with 7 other stops in between.  What a wonderful opportunity to bring the stories and standard songs of the 30's 40's and 50's and the Greatest Generation to all the generations of this region!  Super excited to spend time, meet all the fine folks along the way, and experience this beautiful part of Minnesota in the Fall.  

I am now booking this show on my own, so please pass along my info if you think this show would be well received in a particular community.  Again, my thanks to the Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Regional Libraries and Legacy Fund and the people of Minnesota for making this all possible.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bloomington Center For The Arts in April!!!

Well, "Happy Days" is coming to the Bloomington Center on April 13th and 14th.  My band will be Reynold Philipsek on guitar, Doug Haining on horns and Josh Granowski on upright bass.  I am really excited to perform this show in my own current hometown.

As many of you know, I have traveled the state to perform the show through the wonderful MN Historical Society and MN Regional Library partnership.  I am currently contracting the show myself and i am so grateful for that opportunity!  I recently booked a library tour of 9 shows in the Kitchigami region for September.  I am extremely excited to bring the show to that area!

As I say in the show: "Uplifting songs were needed then, and they have endured because they are still needed now"!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"Happy Days" Looking For New Venues

                                                         Litchfield Opera House      photo: Jana Frieband

It has been an amazing year and a half working with Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) creating this show.  From choosing all the material-to sitting down with a talented scriptwriter Beth Gilleland-to seeing it come alive with all of the kind and generous folks at various Minnesota libraries and venues. I thank everyone at MHS, especially Maren!, Beth, all the musicians, coordinators, librarians, volunteers and guests.  

I want you to know that  although MHS will not be offering this show as part of their programing, I am still interested in making "Happy Days" available, and traveling to more libraries and concert venues that are interested in a historical musical program about the 1930's, 40's and 50's with lots of national and local historical tidbits about the songs, the songwriters, the performers and the momentous time period.  

Uplifting songs were needed then and they are needed now! And, as always, I would love to hear from you about your experience with the show and with questions you may have.

I will be performing the show in April 2013 at the Bloomington Center For the Arts as part of the Annual Performance Series.  What a great place to do this show!!

So spread the word, and hopefully I can bring this to your town and meet all the wonderful folks where you live.  TTFN!! xoxo

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Arrowhead Tour

If you haven't guessed by now, I am a Duluth devotee.  Actally, I am drawn  to the North Shore, in general.  But after performing in Hibbing, Grand Rapids, Virginia and Cloquet, I realize I feel very tied to an even greater geographical region. Maybe it's the iron ore.  Maybe it's the bedrock.  Perhaps it's the  people who survived fires and rebuilt their towns from scratch.  I just know that I want to return and explore even more of the region.

Since I already devoted separate blog entries for Duluth and Grand Rapids, I will leave you with a few photos from Virginia, Hibbing and Cloquet.

This photo was from our performance of "Happy Days" at the Virginia Regional Medical Center.  What a fantastic audience!!!  Imagine my utter delight to roll into the town of Hibbing and see this!!!

Cloquet's performance was at the fairly new Encore Performing Arts Center!
The next and last stop of this leg of the tour  will be Upsala, MN on August 10th 2012.  Hope we can come to a town near you!!!  Until then....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Grand Rapids, birthplace of Judy Garland and soooo much more!!!

This was the performance that I have had to recover from.  It was also the one that in the back of my mind, became the standard for what a great show can be.  As wonderful as every audience is in their own unique way,  the audience at the GR Library was especially attentive and with over 120 people, the energy was palpable.  As you can see, all ages attended!

The standing ovation by all hit me like a ton of bricks.

If you have never seen the GR library, it is the "mother" of all libraries with one full side of windows overlooking the Mississippi River.  This fairly large modern structure has an enormous wood cathedral ceiling that is pretty spectacular.  I had a tour of the place by Bonnie Henriksen, library volunteer extraordinaire.

As you can see in the above photos, we (i.e. Rick Carlson-keys, Josh Granowski-bass, Gary Schulte-violin and myself), were strategically place in from of the picture window nook overlooking the river.  Perhaps we were all inspired by the grandeur of the interior and exterior setting, or the perfect day, or the spirit of Judy Garland, but I think it was all due to the wonderful generous folks of GR that made it all possible!!!

I visited the Judy Garland Museum which includes her actual childhood home.  I pictured her and her family sitting in the parlor around the piano!
"Over The Rainbow" from the Wizard Of Oz, is one of the songs featured in my show so I thought I would leave you with Judy Garland in a filmed radio show for our troops during World War 2. Rarely seen footage of Garland...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Makin' Whoopee Union Parody

An audience member in Grand Rapids, MN inquired whether I made a recording of the union parody I did in the show (to the tune of Makin' Whoopee).  I did not record this and was unable to track down another recording, so I am including the words to the union parody as a well as a video of Dinah Washington singing the original song.

Makin' Whoopee

Here are the parody lyrics:

Into a Union
Tune: Making Whoopee
Lyrics: Glenn Plummer

Another night, another day
Of living tight from pay to pay
But here’s the reason my life ain’t easin’
Ain’t got a Union

I go to work when work is there
I never shirk, I do my share
It doesn’t matter, my wallet’s flatter
Without a Union.

Sometimes I sit and daydream
Wondering how things could be
Silly to some it may seem
But I’d like seniority

Grievance procedure when things ain’t fair
Vacation leisure, without a care.
Benefit fringes, I know it hinges
On being Union.

We need each other, hear what I say
Sisters and brothers, there’s just one way
We’ve got to realize, we’ve got to organize
Into a Union.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Duluth is a treasure.  Much of it is a bit off the beaten path, but there for the adventuresome...I guess this blog installment is not so much about music but about the overall experience of Duluth.  Thus, the pictures that follow.

That is not to say that our concert venue, sound, turnout, experience was not awesome and we have many to thank for that!!! But my output tonight is going to be a photo journey of the wonderful city of Duluth.

Who knew but before MTV cribs, there was a real original crib sitting right out in Lake Superior!

Until next time Duluth!  It will probably be very soon and very often!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Arrowhead Tour

"Happy Days" Arrowhead Tour         5/1/12  to  5/5/12

I am  getting ready for going up north on Tuesday and performing  one of my favorite regions on earth: the Arrowhead Region of Northern Minnesota!! Here is my performance itinerary:

Tuesday May 1st         Duluth, MN
Wednesday May 2nd   Virginia, MN
Thursday May 3rd      Grand Rapids, MN
Friday May 4th           Hibbing, MN
Saturday May 5th      Clocquet, MN

more details at my website

I am extremely excited to meet alot of new folks, see alot of new places, perform with amazingly great musicians, visit Judy Garland's and Bob Dylan's birthplaces, maybe squeeze in a mine tour and who knows what else.  Please let me know if you have any suggestions. You can email me!

Here's an ad from the Duluth Tribune newspaper!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Next Stop...Lake City MN

Below is from the Lake City Community website 

March 31 - Saturday (says Thursday)
  • “Happy Days are Here Again.” City Hall Ballroom. 2:00P. Enjoy the spirited songs of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s with acclaimed jazz vocalist Rhonda Laurie and her band. Join Laurie on a journey through the music of the Greatest Generation.
  • Come dressed in your favorite attire from this generation. Prizes will be awarded to the most authentic/best dressed.
This is from the Lake City Community website 

Why, this adds a whole new dimension to this event!!  I am so excited that someone had the creative inspiration to invite people to dress for this!  How wonderfully nostalgic and retro-respective of America's Greatest Generation!!!

Need some tips on where to get some retro inspired clothing?  I personally love collecting vintage clothes, but the gals in those days had much smaller waist sizes, as Via's Vintage Wear expert Kelly explained to me.  On the other hand, if you want brand new clothes in sizes tiny to voluptuous try Bettie Pages's at MOA.  You might even find one of the Twin Cities' favorite dance instructors and super chic retro darling  at the ready to outfit you in a wonderful dress!!!

Now, what will I wear?!?!?!  xoxo