Welcome to October. You've noticed the greens have turned to yellow on our trees and when you are fortunate, you even notice some reds if you spy a maple or bearing bush. If your birth month is October, you know, of course, that your birthstone is the opalescent opal with its ability to change colors with the blink of an eye.
In Minot, in October, there will be, like the opal, myriad changing cultural events - especially geared to those who lament that "there's nothing to do." In fact, you could be spending more time away from home - more than ever before in October. Read on.
For 65 years, here in Minot, hundreds of area residents have had rare opportunities to sit in comfortable seats in Minot State University's former McFarland Auditorium - known since the disastrous 9-11 as Anne Nicole Nelson Hall - to enjoy outstanding artists from all over the world.
For many years, Dave and Ellin Lindee, with the dedicated help of volunteers, brought these artists to you, under the heading of the International Artists Series. When the time arrived for the Lindees to retire, John Jermiason stepped up to the podium and again with the help of seasoned volunteers, put together yet another gem of a season which begins Oct. 2 with his appearance on stage at 7:30 p.m. Get set for a quintet of talented men billed as 42Five who will take the stage.
Described as an instrumental band with no instruments, these musical men use their voices in a unique way as they bring to life the very popular melodies associated with the 1960s through tunes that are popular today. Jermiason says that the wide variety of songs presented in such a unique way are arranged in order to attract what all of you look forward to - as in past years - a full house.
Yet another in the Artists Series of events will take place in the same place and the same time on Oct. 30, when Jermiason suggests that you will be tapping your toes, singing along with the performers. Billed as "TAP-The Show," a large group of tap dancers will tap their way into your hearts as they perform Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire numbers. There would be no reason at all - if you happen to want to tap, simply tap with the TAP - to think that you couldn't be invited on stage before the evening ends.
If you believe in magic, you could, on Oct. 12, run into the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali. He would wear a black cape, carry a walking stick, bearing a long, waxed mustache and a haughty expression. His art was much like him - bold strokes that patterned the man himself.
It has been said of him that he said upon rising in the morning, "I experience a supreme pleasure of being Salvador Dali." Dali died in 1989, but Taube Museum of Art Executive Director Nancy Walter and her think-tankers responsible for this annual fundraiser - known by hundreds of you as Artfest - decided to welcome back Dali with the theme "Hello, Dali."
When you enter the door to the FFA Hall out at the North Dakota State Fair Center, you will be greeted
by special foods and beverages and a vast array of wonderful silent auction articles for bidding. Local and area artists will, as always, have their wares for viewing and purchasing and chatting. Manuel Delgado will provide strolling music while you do whatever turns your cultural crank. If you are a member of the Taube, admission is $30, while nonmembers and customers buying tickets at the door pay $35. Prior to the event, tickets can be purchased at the Taube, Artmain and Artistry. You must be 21 to attend Artfest.
While the Friday festivities end at 10 p.m., there will be time on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to take a look at what the artists have to offer in their booths, check in with your silent auction bids or just simply enjoy the sights of this annual fundraiser. It will cost you only $2, and children 10 and under are free.
Margaret Lee will have fun art projects with a Dali theme for children to enjoy that will cost $1, and will be guaranteed to be worth it as with all Lee's children's art projects - including Hello Dali.
On the same evening as the Friday festivities of Artfest, there is scheduled yet another event worth attending. The 19th annual YWCA Women of Distinction Award Banquet will be held at the Grand International Inn. Beginning with a social hour at 6 p.m., the evening will end at 9 p.m., which means that you can attend both the Artfest and the YWCA banquet.
This year's YWCA event carries the theme "Rebuilding Lives, One Brick at a Time" with Rev. Deb Ball-Kilbourne, pastor of Vincent and Faith United Methodist churches, as the speaker. Those who have met and heard her are convinced that we need not to go outside of the Magic City to meet and hear a for-real outstanding speaker - a true "Distinguished Woman."
Distinguished women in numerous categories who give to Minot and the surrounding area, as well as the Minot Air Force Base, will be honored for community involvement. Deb Kunkel, executive director of the YWCA, says you will be greeted at the door by past recipients of the award. You should make reservations by Oct. 5 by calling 838-1812. The cost is $40. Deb hopes you will be on hand Oct. 12 to honor another lineup of "Distinguished Women."
On Oct. 13, when the new director of the Minot Symphony Orchestra, Scott Seaton, skips onstage in Anne Nicole Nelson Hall, it will mean - for the orchestra and all of you in comfortable seats - another year of the best symphony music heard anywhere.
"A New Era" is the theme chosen for this year's concerts. To put it succinctly, all of you are eager to begin, with Scott, a new era.
The brand new conductor of our orchestra comes to us with the highest of credentials, which include personality-plus and remarkable conducting talents. His credentials also include his ability to secure talented artists from afar.
For his first appearance wielding a baton before our symphony orchestra, Scott has chosen "Bohemian Sunrise," to introduce pianist Gabreila Mertinev. She comes to our stage with a huge purse of complementary adjectives like "elegant," "compelling" and "incisive," and she plays with grace and clarity. Into a "New Era," a brand-new youthful conductor, it is predictable that you will help to welcome Scott, our second-to-none Minot Symphony Orchestra, and Gabriela at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 13.
On Oct. 14 at 4 p.m., you will want to be back in Anne Nicole Nelson Hall, because veteran baton wielder Gordon Troxel will have for you another can't-afford-to-miss concert featuring North Dakota's only brass band, the Brass Band of Minot. In addition to the always-popular brass band selections, you will hear solos by Curt Kumph, Pat Schwan and Justin Goetz. Xylophonist Justin and all of the other soloists will amaze you with their versatility, Gordon predicts. Speaking of versatility - you will be amazed and probably moved to giggles as well as applause when several members appear with water-filled pop bottles at part of one of the band selections. This concert, like all the other concerts the Brass Band plays, is a freewill one.
When Gordon shared recently that he just received band music which cost $900, you will realize that your money freely given really does help all of us enjoy quality Brass Band concerts. Gordon confesses that he really does enjoy selecting the music and his band members, and he enjoys all of you who attend the Brass Band of Minot concerts.
So you say you would really love to take a trip to New York, see the bright lights and, more than anything else, hear the Broadway songs that never lost their popularity.
Well guess what? On Oct. 19, if you are be in the Grand International Inn at 7:30 p.m., Bob Demke, popular veteran musically aerobic director of the talented Minot Chamber Chorale, promises that you could indeed be on Broadway - for free.
In this annual Pops Concert, you will listen and enjoy many of your favorite songs. And you will see among others veteran members, Dr. Brian and Connie Briggs, and Joanne Samuelson. Missing, but nostalgically remembered to be always friendly, is the whimsical Mike Trudeau, whose voice has been stilled.
Bob says this evening will make you happy, and his talented vocalists are equally happy.
Should you wish to snack and quench your thirst, these desires can be taken care of easily. If you wish and have some cash, there will be a cash bar available. Your freewill contribution will help the Chamber Chorale's continuing annual Pops Concerts.
When the quotable William Shakespeare wrote that "All the world is a stage," he was thinking of Minot. He would be correct - especially if the month was October 2012. Three stages, men and women actors and three different dramas will be involved.
Les Younger, president of the Minot Area Theatrical Society, is directing "Getting Out." He says that the story is about Arlene (not to confused with this writer, thank goodness!) who has just been released from prison and is about to start a new life. This, Les says, is an adult drama. If you are an adult and are inquisitive about Arlene's success, just make reservations by calling 509-5535. The Stardust Ballroom at The Vegas Motel is the staging spot for this production. Some nights are for just seeing the show, while others include a sit-down dinner. All the night shows are at 7 p.m. Show-only night is Thursday, Oct. 18, which will cost $8, while Oct. 19 and 20 are dinner and a show. On Sunday, Oct. 21, you may eat and see the show beginning at 1 p.m. When you eat and see the show, it will cost you $20. Since this is an adult show, just skip what it would cost you for children - but be sure to remember that it will cost $5 if you claim to be a senior.
Moving to another Minot stage in October with men and women representing the MSU Campus Players, from Oct. 23-27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Aleshire Theater, you may see one of Moliere's dramatic works, "Tartuffe" or "The Imposter."
Kevin Neuharth, veteran director, claims that you will spend a never-to-be-forgotten evening as you follow the intrigues of this imposter, his ins and outs and their effects on a family, and you will discover how and when he is "finalized." Kevin-directed productions stand alone, therefore Tartuffe should be no exception. (Kevin did not pay this writer for the adulation - but hordes of his admirers would agree.) It will cost $5 if you admit seniority or student status, and $6 for adults. MSU students are admitted free. Reservations are suggested, by calling 858-3172.
The third and last October stage on which productions will be given is the Arvel Graving Theater, within the walls of Magic City Campus. Alphonse Koenigsman, director, promises you a journey of journeys as you travel the yellow brick road over the rainbow to see the wonderful Wizard who lives in Oz. You magically travel with Dorothy (Mary Livingston plays the role of Judy Garland) and her little dog Toto to the Emerald City and meet, with them, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. And sometime, somewhere, you'll likely encounter a witch or two. Whether or not Toto is a real dog or a reasonable facsimile you will find out when you attend this play. And when Dorothy exclaims at the end of the story that "There's no place like home," you are more than likely to agree.
During this production you are assured of hearing those memorable, wonderful songs like "Over the Rainbow" and "If I Only Had a Brain" among others, and be amazed when you hear the rendition of the original stage production by Minot youth. Alphonse has earned a reputation of selecting top-of-the-line productions with top-of-the-line casts - and you and your family are sure to agree. Travel dates to see the Wizard are Oct. 25-27 at 7:30 p.m., and Oct. 27 and 28 at 2 p.m. If you are an adult it will cost you $8 to travel, $7 if you admit to being a senior, and $6 if you are a child. With no reservations, it could be advisable to arrive at the Arvel Graving Theater early.
May your opalescent cultural journey - from listening to the intriguing tunes of 42Five, to the magical journey to the Wizard of Oz, and everything in between -have some never-to-be-forgotten moments on Minot's for real stages, with for real men and women directed by memorable males.
(Arlene Saugstad is a freelance writer.)