The excitement of the Lakes Area Music Festival — In my hometown, the sixth season of the Lakes Area Music Festival has begun.  I have spoken of it in past weeks, and will continue to do so as the concerts arise.

Concert 3 (of 7) just performed yesterday.  It was family concert day, all designed to work with the week-long camp of EXPLORE MUSIC for elementary age students.  49 kids spent five days learning about the songs for yesterday’s concert, focusing mostly on APPALACHIAN SPRING.

The concert started with those kids standing in front of Tornstrom auditorium (a full house of 900 folks in attendance) – and they sang BLUE SKIES and TIS A GIFT TO BE SIMPLE – teachers Alex, Jeff and Kristiana led the kids also through an accompaniment with string instruments.

Then on to the concert itself… conductor Marlene Pauley, who has directed in past years, and performed on clarinet, led the orchestra with a portion of APPALACHIAN SPRING, two movements of Beethoven’s Sixth, Gershwin’s SUMMERTIME (sung by Meghan Attridge), a selection from Mendelssohn’s MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT, and ended with FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE — Maestro Pauley has become a favorite of the festival with her enthusiastic visits with the audience, and with the musicians — who, by the way, come from this town, the Minnesota Orchestra, Texas, Milwaukee and other spots around the country.

Wednesday will find us listening to Vivaldi’s FOURS SEASONS, and then another FOUR SEASONS in a tango style.  More on that next week.

Oh, and yes, the night before the concert was a different event.  Singers scheduled to be performing at the upcoming opera (HANSEL AND GRETEL) regaled audiences at a CABARET – songs of Broadway…. lets just say it was a fantastic night of some old standards and some music from newer shows that satisfied everyone in the place… (Cragun’s Resort on Friday, Ruttger’s Resort on Saturday)….

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Performers at the Cabaret included TOP ROW: Kristiana, Dan, Abbe ROW TWO: Meghan, Taylor BOTTOM ROW:  Leah, Jeff, Jennifer…. pianists included Scott, Andrew and Greg.

AND TODAY’S POLITICAL TIDBIT AND OBSERVATION…

My town right here in central Minnesota will be hosting a political fundraiser for a candidate in the area.  At that fundraiser, a very famous national political figure will appear.  The event is to be held at one of the swankier resorts in the area.  Care to guess how much the donation levels are?  Well, here you go…. gold sponsor, $10,400; silver sponsor, $5,200; host, $1,500; general reception, $250.

Can you afford any of these levels?  Do you care enough about a political candidate that you’d pony up even the $250 to see him or her?  What does that tell us about how the political parties and their system regard the ‘ordinary’ voter?

I understand the need to raise money.  But hey, when you bring in a big name, wouldn’t you also WANT that big name to be available to the common man on the street?  Apparently not.

Let’s get this political money monopoly done with, please.

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