Star News » Arts & Entertainment The Star News covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for Elk River, Otsego, Rogers and Zimmerman, Minnesota and their surrounding areas. Sat, 01 Nov 2014 05:37:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ERHS band musician honors announced Fri, 31 Oct 2014 04:36:58 +0000 The ERHS Wind Symphony flute section at the Halloween Concert on Monday included (from left) Ivana Arrington, Izzy Hinseth, Katie VanCamp and Emily Sederstrom. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

The ERHS Wind Symphony flute section at the Halloween Concert on Monday included (from left) Ivana Arrington, Izzy Hinseth, Katie VanCamp and Emily Sederstrom. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


Elk River High School band director John Rosner announced at the Halloween Concert on Monday evening that the following students have earned honors during the first two months of school.

All-Northwest Suburban Conference —Katie Gingras (trombone), Sam Gearou (trombone), Jake Griffiths (trombone), Rohan Willoughby (tuba), Jakie Studniski (oboe), Alexis MacArthur (bassoon), Zach Griffiths (percussion), Emily Sederstrom (flute), Katie Van Camp (flute), Josh Gearou (alto sax)

St. Olaf honor band — Sederstrom, Elizabeth Stevens (bass clarinet)

St. Thomas honor band — Ivana Arrington (piccolo), Sederstrom, Van Camp, Jesse McCormick (alto sax), Carter Strunk (trumpet), Sydney Heinen (trumpet), Griffiths, Owen Kallunki (tuba), MacArthur

Winona honor band — Arrington, Van Camp, Studniski, MacArthur

UM-Duluth honor band — Sederstrom, Van Camp, Strunk, Griffiths, Studniski, MacArthur, Stevens

MN Music Educators Assn. All-state — Maddy Sorenson (clarinet)

Musician of the month — Joel Alfbveby (bari sax), Kory Esterberg (percussion)

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ERHS and NW Suburban bands present ‘One Wicked Halloween’ Fri, 31 Oct 2014 04:22:49 +0000 Let's hear it for the Wind Symphony, says director John Rosner, dressed as Zorro. (Photos by Bruce Strand)

Let’s hear it for the Wind Symphony, says director John Rosner, dressed as Zorro. (Photos by Bruce Strand)


The Elk River High School band kicked off its concert season with their always popular annual Halloween Concert, again in conjunction with the adult North Suburban Concert Band, on Monday evening, with John Rosner directing both, at Zabee Theatre.

"Flapper" Margorie Simon on percussion for the North Suburban Band.

“Flapper” Margorie Simon on percussion for the North Suburban Band.

We didn't catch her name, but this young lady won a costume prize as Malificent.

We didn’t catch her name, but this young lady won a costume prize as Malificent.

“One Wicked Halloween” started with ERHS Wind Symphony entertaining with “Who’s That Masked Man,” “Palladio,” “The Headless Horseman” and “Frozen.”

The NSCB kept the energy going with “Imperial March,” “Incantation,” “Russian Sailor’s Dance” and “Procession of the Sorcerers.”

Teaming up as Rebel Mass Band, they closed with “Rats, Bats and Spiders,” and “Star Wars Medley.”

The band boosters then hosted a costume contest which drew about 40 entrants in three age groups. Movie themes such as “Frozen” (there were three little Elsa’s), “Star Wars,” “Aladdin,” and “Malifecent” were popular customs choices for the kids.

The ERHS bands have another big event coming up soon, the annual Veterans Concert on Nov. 11.

The North Suburban Concert Band got into the Halloween spirit.

The North Suburban Concert Band got into the Halloween spirit.

Maddie Sorenson of the Wind Symphany came as Tigger.

Maddie Sorenson of the Wind Symphany came as Tigger. She took the podium warmed up the band before the concert.

Kael Smith (Aladdin) was announced as a costume contest winner by Keith Stevens of band boosters.

Kael Smith (Aladdin) was announced as a costume contest winner by Keith Stevens of band boosters.

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Laughs from London as ERHS comedy “Charley’s Aunt” starts run Thursday Wed, 29 Oct 2014 04:20:26 +0000 Fancourt (left), pretending to be the aunt, played by Grayson Ziegler, gets a surprise proposal from Sir Francis, played by Nick Walz. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Fancourt (left), pretending to be the aunt chaperoning the boys, played by Grayson Ziegler, gets a surprise proposal from Sir Francis, played by Nick Walz. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


by Bruce Strand, Arts editor

“Charley’s Aunt,” a three-act comedy that was originally a huge hit in London in 1892, will be brought to the Zabee Theatre stage the next two weekends by the Elk River High School players.

Directed by Michelle Brooks, “Charley’s Aunt” will be presented Thursday, 7 p.m.. and Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m., and the following Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.

Andy Bronshteyn as snooty uncle xxxx.

Andy Bronshteyn as snooty uncle Stephen.

“It’s a really funny show. We’re always bursting out laughing and have to stop,” said Erin Stein, who plays Kitty Verdun, one of two girlfriends of young gentlemen who find themselves in a situation that requires some deception.

The ladies in the cast, clockwise from left: Erin Stein, Olivia Fromme, xxx, xxxx. (Photo by Michelle Brooks)

The ladies in the cast, clockwise from left: Erin Stein (Kitty), Olivia Fromme (Donna), Nikki Hauglund (Amy) and Jaide Freese (Ela). (Photo by Michelle Brooks)

“The boys need a supervisor, for them to be with the girls,” said James Bound, who plays Kitty’s boyfriend Jack Chesney.

“A chaperone,” Stein said.

Andrew Elmquist and Nikki Haugland play the other young couple, Charley Wykeham and Amy Spettigue, in the story set at Oxford.

The boys want Charley’s aunt, a wealthy widow from Brazil, to fill this role, but she doesn’t show up.

“So the boys have a friend dress up like the aunt,” Bound explains. “Later on, the real aunt shows up, and it gets crazy.”


Andrew Bound (middle) as Jack discusses the situation with Charley (left, Andrew Elmquist) while butler Brasset (Liam Barnes) listens in.

Grayson Ziegler is Lord Fancourt Babberly, the buddy who’s drafted to pretend he’s the aunt, and alternately struggles with and enjoys acting out the ruse.

“The boys have to make a lot of ‘side’ comments to the ‘aunt’ so the girls won’t know,” Stein said.

Olivia Fromm plays the aunt, Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez, who storms in late in the story, except that the boys don’t realize who she is because they haven’t previously met her, complicating things further.

Ziegler’s Babberly plays his role well enough that two older gents become smitten with him — Stephen Spettig, an indignant uncle of one of the young ladies, played by Andy Bronshteyn; and Col. Sir Francis Chesney, Jack’s dad, played by Nick Walz.

Liam Barnes plays Brasset, a sarcastic butler, and Jaide Freese plays Ela Delahay, an orphaned friend of Donna’s.

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ERHS Halloween concert slated for Monday Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:27:35 +0000 An ERHS musician at last year's Halloween concert.

An ERHS musician at last year’s Halloween concert.


The annual Halloween Concert at Elk River High School is slated for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, at Zabee Theatre.Once again, North Suburban Concert Band and Elk River High School Concert Band are teaming up for the free event.

Performers will be in costumes and the audience is encouraged to do the same and enter a costume contest with three age divisions.

NSCB will set a dark tone with “The Imperial March” from the Star Wars trilogy, along with uplifting music such as the magical “Incantations” by Robert W. Smith, “Procession of the Sorcerers” by Robert Buckley and the break-neck speed “Russian Sailors Dance” by Reinhold Gliere.

The ERHS band will perform separately and then will join the adult band in the “fight against the dark side of the Force” with familiar Star Wars themes by John Williams.

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Trendy & Thrifty Halloween Costumes Start at Goodwill Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:30:46 +0000 Download coupon for 50% off one item
– then head to your favorite Goodwill store and brew up an awesome costume for less.


By Sarah Carlson
Editor, Real Housewives of Minnesota

Every year, I tell myself that I’m going to top last year’s Halloween costumes. I aim to be craftier, trendier – and most importantly, thriftier. For all the above, the easy solution is Goodwill. I find some awesome costumes there year after year, without breaking the bank. But what kinds of things will I be on the lookout for this year? I did a little research and then headed to my local Goodwill to work my magic. Here’s what you need to know.


More Halloween Parties This Year

Halloween is on Friday this year. So, you can definitely expect to be invited to more Halloween parties, which also means you’ll be costume hunting for adults! It’s best to think ahead about costume ideas, because you don’t want to wait until the last minute and end up dressing as a zombie bride, again…

Costume and Party Trends

What’s is on trend this year? Glad you asked! Experts say this is the year for masquerades, which you can easily prepare for with masks, beautiful gowns, and stunning updos. Also expect to see lots of characters from Frozen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Game of Thrones and other popular movies and TV shows. Don’t forget superheroes: Captain America, Iron Man, Superman, Spiderman, Batman – the list goes on and on. Clever, timely costumes like Grumpy Cat and Ice Bucket Challenge are always fresh, too.

When in doubt, a trendy celebrity is always fun and easy to mimic. Just flip through your latest copy of People magazine for some clever ideas, and then go on a thrift hunt for pieces that tie it all together!

Walking through Goodwill, I found several great ideas. We’re talking masks, wigs, face paint, and accessories along with versatile basics like suits, dresses, flannel shirts and solid color separates that work in countless costumes.

I decided on Theresa Caputo from the popular TV show, Long Island Medium. It was easy – I just had to thrift for high heels, tight dress and some long fake fingernails. From there the rest was easy; high hair and a fake tan! Spirits are telling me it’s going to be a hit this Halloween!

Tutorials, Lists & Sweepstakes – Oh My!

If you’re ever short on ideas, or if you need a little extra help, the Goodwill website is a great resource. It has dozens of costume images with shopping lists; makeup tutorials for witch, zombie and vampire faces; and even some fun nail art ideas for fans of the Goodwill  Halloween TV commercial. You can even enter to win a $500 VISA cash card in the annual Goodwill Halloween sweepstakes.

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Animals is theme of new exhibit at Arts Alliance Sat, 11 Oct 2014 08:13:49 +0000 "Run Like the Wind" by Jeff Jungbluth

“Run Like the Wind” by Jeff Jungbluth

Animals are the theme of the current All Media exhibit at Elk River Area Arts Alliance (609 Main) through Nov. 1. Shown are “Run Like the Wind,” an oil by Jeff Jungbluth, and “The Foxy Four,” a watercolor by Mae Spencer. Other participating artists are Sara Hartman, Chris Wilson, Linda Croteau, Nancy Gongoll, Mary L. Olson, Joan Ruprecht, Jean Orr, Patricia Roles, Aaron DuRose, Katherine Lichy, Joy Reichel, Mary Zillman, Kate Hansen, Nancy Houghtelin, Bruce Strand and Judy Syring. A reception for the public to meet the artists will be held Saturday, Oct. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m., with refreshments available.

"The Foxy 4" by Mae Spencer

“The Foxy 4″ by Mae Spencer

"African Lion" by Sara Hartman

“African Lion” by Sara Hartman

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Zimmerman retiree’s debut novel is Vietnam war tale Sat, 11 Oct 2014 08:10:22 +0000 by Bruce Strand, Arts Editor

Harry Simpson, a retiree living in Zimmerman, has published a Vietnam war novel called “I Must Survive.”

Simpson, 72, who didn’t go to Vietnam himself but served stateside from 1964-66 after being drafted, penned a 200-page saga of a patrol boat soldier stranded miles from his base after his crew was killed, battling starvation, fear and loneliness, and hearkening to childhood in the Great Plains in the 1950s to keep his sanity as best he can.

“The Vietnam portion is based on a true story of a friend who doesn’t talk about his experience so I had to invent,” said Simpson. “To ensure I was accurate, I researched and used two veterans as consultants, a retired Green Beret who served five tours of duty and a veteran of the Brown Water Navy.”

Harry Simpson and friend relax at home.

Harry Simpson and friend relax at home.

The book, available in soft-cover and electronic formats through Tate, Barnes & Noble and Amazon, was written with long-ago friends in mind.

“For me, one horrible experience were all the 17- and 18-year-olds in my basic training unit that were gung-ho to get into action,” said Simpson.  “Part of my reason for writing the book was for all the people I did know that went over there.”

Simpson used his formative years in Colorado as a basis for the main character, Brad Howard.

His career as a financial officer brought him to Minnesota. He also lived in Wisconsin and Florida before moving to Zimmerman last year to be near family. This is his debut novel, written after he retired.

Here’s one excerpt:

I frantically look around. At the front of the boat I see both Jimmy’s and Tim’s motionless bodies slumped over their guns. Blood is splattered all around them. Lt. Gaston’s bullet-riddled body is flopped over the starboard side of the PBR, his blood painting a red squiggly line in the muddy river. We’ve been in many firefights, but none have chewed the boat up like this; it looks like a giant stone grinder has tried to shred it. The diesel engines are dead also. The incoming rounds have slackened; however, we’re still taking hits, basically standing still in the water. It’s just a matter of minutes before the enemy comes downriver enough to resume their full attack.

Another excerpt:

I quickly found out I was not equipped for this hike. I didn’t have a compass and quickly became lost. It’s been a horrible three days. Not only am I haunted by flashbacks of the slaughter of my friends as well as fear of bumping into the enemy, but I’m also really hungry. Sam would say that my belly-button has met my backbone. The only food I had when we were ambushed was the four very soggy nut bars, but those were gone by yesterday. Today I have been trying to talk myself into eating some of the grubs or large beetles that I see all over. During survival training, the instructors told us that insects, especially grubs and worms, are good protein.

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‘Paint the Farm’ art sale, and Prairie Sugar Days, this weekend at Kelley Farm Fri, 03 Oct 2014 02:42:59 +0000 Kelley Farm painting by Joan Ruprecht

Kelley Farm painting by Joan Ruprecht

The sixth annual Paint the Farm fundraising art show and sale, with local artists capturing local history on the 1860’s Oliver Kelley Farm, will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Proceeds will go to Friends of the Kelley Farm. This event is held in conjunction with Prairie Sugar Days on the farm, three miles west of Elk River on Highway 10. A reception for the artists will be held Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. This year’s artists are Mark Haglund, Linda Croteau, Mary Olson, Marilyn Schroeder and Joan Rupprecht.

Kelley Farm painting by Linda Croteau

Kelley Farm painting by Linda Croteau

Kelley Farm painting by Mark Haglund

Kelley Farm painting by Mark Haglund

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Fiber arts exhibit on display at Alliance; reception Saturday Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:07:33 +0000 Hat and boots by Dawn Bandeski.

Hat and slippers by Dawn Bendiske


The annual all-fiber exhibit at the Elk River Area Arts Alliance is on display Sept. 10 through Oct. 4. The gallery at 609 Main St. is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A reception for the public to meet the artists will be held today (Saturday) from 1-4 p.m., including a fashion show at 3 p.m.

One of the featured artists is Dawn Bendiske, of Anoka, who is also a writer and publisher of articles about fiber arts topics though Wildwood Press, which she founded in 2009.

Also showing their fiber works at the gallery are Judy Wood of Elk River, Lynne Joyce, Chris Wilson, Sylvia Dudycha of Elk River, Kathryn Graftsgaard of Anoka, Jerry Allan Swenson of Zimmerman, Marilyn Moore of Cedar, Linda Johaneson of Delano, and Winnie Johnson of Elk River.

Quilt by Judy Wood

Quilt by Judy Wood

Quilty by Lynne Jacob

Quilty by Lynne Joyce

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State fair: Donais earns crocheting blue ribbons for ‘secret garden’ hat, and gloves Sat, 06 Sep 2014 19:56:33 +0000 by Bruce Strand, Arts Editor

Zimmerman housewife Rechelle Donais wasn’t able to attend the state fair this year, but two of her creations did, and both earned blue ribbons.

Donais crocheted a cap she calls “Secret Garden,” decorated with tiger lilies, a butterfly, a stick bug and a snail. She used Kool-Aid to dye the yarn.

Katey Donais models her mother's prize-winning hat. (Photo by Rechelle Donais)

Katey Donais models her mother’s prize-winning hat. (Photo by Rechelle Donais)

“I was inspired by the wildflowers and tiger lilies growing on the side of the road by my house in Zimmerman,” Donais said. “And of course my kids love to find bugs, so I added a few of those in there too!”

Rechelle Donais

Rechelle Donais

A pair of mittens she crocheted also earned a blue ribbon, giving Donais two straight years of success at the fair. She captured a first, second and two fourth places last year.

“But I was sick this year and wasn’t able to go,” Donais said, adding that her daughter, Katey, who’s modeling the hat in the photo, also came down with the same respiratory ailment.

“We just stayed in bed. But a lot of friends and family went and told me about it.”

Donais has been crocheting for just under five years, and finally “got the nerve” to start entering things at fairs two years ago. She’s also done well at Sherburne County Fair.

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