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Winners Announced Bemidji Sings! 2020

Headwaters Music & Arts celebrated the musical talents of local amateur vocalists on August 6 with their virtual Bemidji SIngs! Vocal competition. This year was the 3rd annual Bemidji Sings! event which is usually  a live, ticketed, show. In 2019 Bemidji Sings! sold out seats at Bemidji Sate Universitiy’s Bangsburg Hall. However, due to Covid-19 concerns the whole event and auditions were moved online. This event is made possible through the support of their local sponsors, including Paul Bunyan Communications, Dandelion Vault, Dean Bentler Cabinets & Woodworking, Lakes Liquor, Team Industries, Green Mill Restaurant, Norbord, Ottertail Power, We Love Messes, Just Dandy, Keg N Cork, and Supple Studios, as well as Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

This year, vocalists were asked to record and submit a video of themselves singing. Submissions were compiled into a virtual show, hosted and produced by David Eichholz of Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos. The video went live on YouTube, 7pm August 6. Finalists included Helen Bartlett, Traci Djonne Schank, Heidi Fladeboe, Donna Gaston, Kari Grace, Maya Lindquist, Nessa Peters, Aspen Tobin, Doyle Turner, Andrew Hokanson, and Charlotte Saxton. Winners were chosen based on vocal skill, presentation, and the judge's overall impression in two divisions - ages 13-20 and ages 21 plus. Judges this year were Zaq Swank of St. Cloud and LouAnn Dierkhising of Park Rapids.  

Third place prize in each age category is $50, second place is $100, and first place is $500 plus recording time at Supple Studios. The first and second place winner in each category is also eligible to compete at the state-wide Minnesota Sings competition in September. This year Bemidji’s event also introduced a People’s Choice Award, inviting viewers to vote for their personal favorite performance of the night. 

The winners of the 13-20 division were: Charlotte Saxton, 1st Place Champion; Andrew Hokanson, 2nd Place Runner Up; Maya Lindquist, 3rd Place Alternate. The winners of the 21+ division were: Heidi Fladeboe, 1st Place Champion; Doyle Turner, 2nd Place Runner Up; Kari Grace, 3rd Place Alternate. The People’s Choice Award went to Maya Lindquist.

Headwaters Music & Arts, an independent non-profit organization in downtown Bemidji, offers music lessons to youth and adults as well as art and pottery classes for adults and children throughout the day and evening. Funds raised during Bemidji Sings! support HMA’s financial assistance program.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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Bemidji Sings! Vocal Competition August 6, 2020

Headwaters Music & Arts celebrates local musical talent by providing teens and adults who live, work or attend school in Bemidji that chance to perform for Bemidji Sings! Vocal Competition 7 pm Thursday, August 6. All virtual this year, the show may be viewed on YouTube at Headwaters School of Music & the Arts channel.

Hosted by David Eichholz of Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos, the show highlights 14 finalists in two age groups, 13-20 and 21 and older. Featured finalists are Helen Bartlett, Traci Djonne Schank, Heidi Fladeboe, Donna Gaston, Kari Grace, Maya Lindquist, Nessa Peters, Aspen Tobin, Doyle Turner, Andrew Hokanson, Skylah Hurd and Charlotte Saxton. Winners will be selected by judges from out of the area; viewers will have a chance to vote for a special People’s Choice Award. April Aylesworth, 2019 Bemidji finalist and first place Minnesota Sings winner in her age category, will also perform during the August 6 show.

Third place prize in each age category is $50, second place is $100, and first place is $500 plus recording time at Supple Studios. The first and second place winner in each category will be eligible to compete at the state-wide Minnesota Sings competition in September.

Headwaters Music & Arts is grateful for the support of their local sponsors, including Paul Bunyan Communications, Dandelion Vault, Dean Bentler Cabinets & Woodworking, Lakes Liquor, Team Industries, Green Mill Restaurant, Norbord, Ottertail Power, We Love Messes, Just Dandy, Keg N Cork, and Supple Studios, as well as Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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Guitar Lesson #7: Soloing Techniques

This lesson offers a wide variety of soloing techniques. Double stops, bends, slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs are all tools the guitarist presses into service while improving, a skill every musician should master.

The second video is here to put your soloing skills to the test. The best way to learn is to jump right in and figure it out as you go!

Caleb Erickson, Headwaters Music Instructor

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Carrie Dlutkowski Visits Bemidji

Headwaters Music & Arts hosts Michigan fiddler and step dancer Carrie Dlutkowski for a concert and a series of workshops providing an overview of the history, style and repertoire of one of three styles of fiddle music: Scottish, French-Canadian, and Metis. With one workshop for ages 5-11, the rest of the workshops are for beginner to advanced fiddle players ages 12 to adult. Participants can choose to attend one workshop or all four sessions. Participants will gain an appreciation of the rich cultural histories behind these musical styles and begin building a repertoire of tunes while exploring the stylistic nuances that make different kinds of fiddle music unique. Sunday's Step Dance workshop is open to all; it complements the fiddle workshops but does not require fiddle playing experience.

Thursday, October 24th
• 6-7 pm – Fiddlin’ Around is a free opportunity for students age 5-11 with any level of playing experience. On Thursday October 24th, 6-7pm, students can bring their violin or fiddle and join fiddler and step dancer Carrie Dlutkowski as the group explores tunes that are adaptable and creative. Students will be able to take the tunes with them as they can be played alone or in a group, by people of any level of experience, and are meant to be crafted by the musicians themselves. Students will develop the confidence to take the tunes home and “play with” them! Students should be accompanied by a guardian. Adults are encouraged to bring a device for recordings which will be useful in future practice.

Friday, October 25
• 6-9 pm Scottish Fiddle Music $25

Saturday, October 26
• 9 am-noon French-Canadian Fiddle Music $25

• 1-4 pm Métis Fiddle Music $25

• 7-9 pm – Carrie Dlutkowski in concert. Carrie will be joined by Minnesota performers Brian Miller and Norah Rendell, musicians and singers with strong backgrounds in Canadian music. Free will donation.

Sunday, October 27
• 1-3 pm Introduction to Ottawa Valley Step Dancing, Students will develop an understanding of the basics of Ottawa Valley step dancing, and of the history that influenced its evolution as a dance form. No fiddle playing experience required. $10 fee

As a classical musician, Dlutkowski has performed in various solo, symphony orchestra and opera orchestra, music theater, and chamber ensemble settings. An accomplished folk musician, she has played in concerts, festivals, interpretive programs, for dances, and on the air. Dlutkowski is also a National Park Interpretive Ranger at Grand Portage National Monument, managing one of the park’s main interpretive locations, the re-created Ojibwe Village.


Carrie Dlutkowski's enthusiasm for the fiddle music of Canada led her to explore its history, with a focus on the development of Scottish, French-Canadian and Métis (Native/French/Scottish) fiddle styles in the 18th century. Each of these cultural groups claims a strong musical tradition. Carrie offers musical and historical presentations, workshops and performances that take listeners on an exploration of how these styles of music blended and developed through cross-cultural interaction. Dlutkowski is a step dancer in the Ottawa Valley style. As a classical musician, Carrie Dlutkowski has performed in various solo, symphony orchestra and opera orchestra, music theater, and chamber ensemble settings. As a folk musician, she has played in concerts, festivals, interpretive programs, for dances, and on the air.

Brian Miller fell in love with Irish traditional music 25 years ago in the crowd at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, moved from his northern Minnesota hometown of Bemidji to St. Paul and has since become one of the most sought-after musicians in North America’s Irish music scene. Brian has toured widely throughout the US and Canada with bands including Bua and The Lost Forty.

Norah Rendell is a singer, flute player and whistle player that specializes in the traditional folk songs and dance music of Ireland and Canada. For the past 15 years, she has toured internationally with several ensembles including seven years as lead singer and flute player for the award-winning group, The Outside Track. She has also performed with the Two Tap Trio (St. Paul), the Máirtín de Cógáin Project, the Canadian folk string quartet called the Fretless and Paddy O’Brien’s Doon Ceili band in Minnesota. In the past five years years, Norah has built a reputation for herself as a solo artist.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota, through a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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Bemidji Sings winners at Minnesota Sings Statewide Competition

April Aylesworth, Susannah Carter, Charlotte Saxton, and Kari Grace represented Bemidji at Minnesota SIngs this past weekend as they competed against 60 vocalists representing 37 different cities from around the state.

Charlotte and Susannah's poster showcasing their home town was selected as the best one on display, winning them a cool $100 bill.

Only 8 contestants from each category made it into Sunday's finals, and amazingly, Charlotte, Kari and April each made it to the final round. We are delighted to announce that Kari placed third in Division 2, receiving $1000 along with $500 for her town's sponsor, and a 3 hour recording session. Congratulations, Kari! Plus, April took first place in Division 2, winning $3,000 along with $1,000 for her hometown charity, Support Within Reach, $1,000 for her town's sponsor, and a 5 hour professional recording session with studio musicians and a producer.

We at Headwaters Music & Arts sponsored Bemidji Sings because we wanted to encourage

and celebrate our area's amateur vocalists. It is a delightful bonus to be the recipient of some of the great cash prizes given away at Minnesota Sings' big show. We are grateful for this support - as well as for the generous funding we received from Region 2 Arts Council and Bemidji Area Arts Endowment. Our hearts are, well, singing.

The tentative date for Bemidji Sings! 2020 is Thursday, August 6, with David Eichholz of Deuces Wild returning to emcee our third year of singing, laughter and fun. See you then!

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Make a Splash Fall Kick Off & Instructor Showcase

It has become a tradition here at Headwaters Music & Arts to kick off our fall season with an open house - this year's theme was Make a Splash. Most years this means a free event with popcorn, cotton candy, games, prizes and face painting, along with a chance to meet our music and art instructors, try out an assortment of musical instruments, and sign up for music lessons, art classes, workshops or events. I like how quickly the performance hall goes from ready, tidy and calm to a cacophony of conversation, movement and exploration.

What I especially love about our open house is the sense of possibility. It starts when they pick up a guitar, violin or cello, and learn from Sabbastian, Amanda or Dan how to even hold the instrument. How does it feel? What sounds does it make? Can you imagine the songs you could play? One boy arrived with his mom and siblings with the general idea that he would sign up for piano lessons, After trying out a variety of instruments, he fell in love with the sound and feel of a guitar, and made an instant connection with one of our instructors. I opened the door for him as he left our building, and caught the promise he murmured to the guitar cradled in his arms: "I am never going to let you go."

Our mission at Headwaters Music & Arts is to provide opportunities for creativity through instruction and inspire the community through music and the arts. We feel we accomplish this is all kinds of ways, and we are proud of what we are able to offer the Bemidji area. We do indeed make a splash!

Trica Andrews, Headwaters Executive Director


The Fall Kick Off was followed by an Instructor Showcase. Below are some photos from that event posted in order of the evenings set list. If you put on some amazing music as you scroll through them you can almost imagine you are there:) As you take your virtual tour imagine the photos coming alive and hearing the following performances:

Elizabeth & Jessica Westlund & Valerie Porter - Hymn Medley (Ken Wold)

Michael Lyons - Home (Michael Lyons)

Annalise Aakhus - Prison Walls (Annalise Aakhus)

John Konecne - Six Metamorphoses After Ovid (Benjamin Britten)

Caleb Erickson & John Konecne - Have You Met Miss Miss Jones?

Caleb Erickson - Mario Theme Anthology 

Julie Kaiser - O Mio Babbino Caro (Puccini), Anyone Can Whistle (Sondheim)

Angelica Novinger, Mazurka Op. 7 No.1 in B flat Major (Chopin)

Steven Radley, Tuba Study No. 1 (Vladislav Blazhevich)

Carolyn Towler, Menuet 1  from Partita No. 1 in B flat (Bach)

Sabbastian Wilson-Webb, Prelude in D flat (Sabbastian Wilson-Webb), Sonatine I. Modere (Maurice Ravel)

Mattea Elhard & Dan Will, Aniron (Theme form Aargorn & Arwen), Grow (Lianne la Havas)