Capsules of 2012 in area arts & entertainment
by Bruce Strand, Arts editor
Elk River likes to think of itself as an artsy community and in 2012 we once again had plenty of intriguing artists, exhibits and episodes.
Your arts editor’s favorite item was provided by a church youth pastor, Kaycee Robertson of Central Lutheran, who tried to get the attention of a devout, hunky NFL quarterback by penning an ode called “Ask Me On A Date, Tim Tebow” and singing it online with two roommates backing her up. The clip went viral on “You Tube,” as she heard from listeners around the world charmed by “Kaycee’s Hail Mary Pass,” as KARE-11 dubbed her efforts to intercept the QB’s heart. As far as we knew, Kaycee didn’t land her man, but everyone had fun with the story.
State Fair star
Fanaka Ndege, currently an ERHS senior, was a state fair entertainment champion for the second straight year, winning the Teen Division this year with a solo rap and dance act. In 2011 he teamed with two pals to win Open Division.
North Ballet of Rogers unveiled “Nutcracker” for the third straight year in December. Always a rich visual treat and better than ever this year, the truly remarkable locally produced holiday fare was graced this year for the first time by the voices of Land of Lakes Choirboys.
The “728 Marching Cadets” drumline, 81 strong from Elk River, Rogers and Zimmerman, had a great season with eight first-place awards at parades and a People’s Choice nod at one of the main events, Vikingland in Alexandria.
Variety on stage
On stages this year there were several jaunty musicals, such as ERHS’s “Grease,” Front Porch Musical Theatre’s “The Music Man,” Youth Theatre Workshop’s “Wizard of Oz” and “Little Mermaid,” SOAR Regional Arts’ (that’s St. Michael-Otsego-Albertville-Rogers) debut effort, “Willie Wonka,” and Zimmerman’s “Hello, Dolly!” There were fun-night-out comedies such as Spectrum’s charmingly kooky “You Can’t Take It With You” and Elk River Community Theatre’s uproriously physical “Noises Off!” We also salute Michelle Brooks and her ERHS troupe for evocative, sensitive work in a pair of grim dramas, “A Time to Go Home” (teen mortality) and “Anne Frank and Me” (Holocaust).
Otsego’s big event
Otsego’s Jam Fest was a big draw with 3,000 attending a country show and 4,000 attending a classic rock show Aug. 3 and 4, with Foghat, Ronnie Dunn, Peter Frampton, Jerrod Niemann, Eddie Money and Dave Nail on hand.
Elk River Area Arts Alliance continues to provide its many local painters, potters, jewelers and sculptors, along with artists from a wider area, with shows throughout the year, highlighted by ArtSoup in June and the national juried show Arts in Harmony in February. Coon Rapids artist Jan Oxendale got ArtSoup’s best of show this year.