March 2013 Archives

For more than 50 years, the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band has been piping, drumming and dancing its way through the Twin Cities. Band members of all ages perform at local events, including the annual St Patrick’s Day parade in St. Paul and the Irish Fair on Harriet Island. The band has also performed with national recording acts, including Rod Stewart and Green Day. KFAI producer Bobbie Scott explores what draws people to this band of bagpipers.

Music making has mass appeal, but what if you couldn’t sing? Or speak? Lifeworks’ services for people with disabilities includes an innovative music therapy program with four performance bands. Band members don’t sing or play instruments, but instead use computers as assisted technology to create music.

The Minnesota Opera recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. A cornerstone of the state’s arts community, the company commissions new work and runs a resident artist program each year. KFAI producer Michelle Alimoradi talks to artistic director Dale Johnson and others about the opera’s history and commitment to keeping this age-old art form fresh and relevant.

The Minnesota Sinfonia is a professional, nonprofit chamber orchestra that offers free concerts and educational programs in and around the Twin Cities. Programs are accessible and welcome all ages. The Minnesota Sinfonia also provides show-and-tell sessions to students as part of its Music in the Schools program. KFAI producer Will Wright has the story.

Twin Cities’ Nightpath Theatre Company was founded in 2005 by artistic director Maggie Scanlan. The company presents classic dramas in an accessible and powerful manner, and explores the mythology of contemporary America by choosing productions that focus on current issues. During rehearsals, actors adapt components of method acting and the Stanislavski system—identifying energy centers and accessing traumatic childhood memories—to develop characters.

Monica Haller served as a nurse at Abu Ghraib prision in Iraq. A Minnesota artist, she also designed software for servicemen and women to share their stories as part of the multi-media Veterans Book Project. KFAI producer Charles Rudoy explores how this creative outlet increases awareness about war, and offers healing for veterans.

Spirit on Lake is an affordable housing development for LGBT seniors in Minneapolis. Scheduled to open in fall 2013, the project is the brainchild of Barbara Satin—a 78-year-old transwoman and member of Spirit of the Lakes United Church of Christ. The development is the first residential facility of its kind for LGBT seniors in the upper Midwest. KFAI producer Dixie Treichel has more about the independent living facility at 13th Avenue and East Lake Street.

Each month, slam poets take the stage at bars around the Twin Cities to compete for local acclaim and audience approval. Each year, a handful of locals compete against teams from across the nation, and consistently return home from the National Slam with high rankings and national prominence. KFAI producers Mark Koerner and Allegra Oxborough caught up with the men behind The Good News Poetry.

Minnesota has one of the country’s best state park systems, which got a considerable boost in 2010 with the addition of Lake Vermilion State Park. KFAI producer Britt Aamodt visits Lake Vermilion in northeastern Minnesota, and explores this natural wonderland with manager Jim Essig.

Construction of the Central Corridor light rail to connect downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul is well under way. Since its inception, the project has received a mix of community excitement and trepidation. Some business owners along University Avenue have struggled or closed because of the lack of access and parking during construction, but the Met Council maintains that the route will ultimately bring economic development to surrounding neighborhoods. In this story, KFAI producers Allegra Oxborough, Jemma Brown and Christina Cerruti ride the rail to talk to people about the rewards and challenges of Twin Cities’ light rail transit.