Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pride in Daughters and Other Local Entertainers

Our daughters' former piano teacher, Mrs. Vold, moved away last summer, and we were grateful to have found a new piano teacher: Mrs. Arneson, who also plays organ and piano at our church--and who volunteered to come to our house for weekly lessons, which makes our lives much easier (i.e., no more shuttling girls back and forth, one at a time, across town to the piano teacher's house while trying to tend to other appointments and to the making of supper).  There are differences, of course, in how each of those teachers gives lessons; but one thing in common is that both have their students participate in annual piano festivals sponsored by the National Federation of Music Clubs (the same group that oversaw the annual piano festivals in which my sisters and I performed throughout childhood).

The girls' piano festival was held today at the university, and the results are in:

Superiors in da house!

The girls each played two piano solos, each of them in a room with other pianists at her same level.  The highest rating available to the judge is "superior," and each judge gave each of our daughters that rating for her performance.

There happens to be another category in which pianists can compete: a hymn category.  I don't know if that was available to my sisters and me during our days of festival performance, but it's new to our family with Mrs. Arneson (Mrs. Vold didn't have them enter in that category), who had the girls learn two hymns apiece to play in yet another set of rooms with another set of judges who awarded each of our daughters . . . (wait for it) . . . a "superior" for her hymns, too.

We were proud as can be!  And a little bit weary by day's end.  We had to trek across campus from one building to the next to hear the six events in which our daughters were booked.  At one point Suzanna was scheduled to play at about the same time in one building that her sisters were to play in back-to-back events in another building; so Susan and I split up so that everybody could have a parent in the room with her.  And then there was an hour break for dinner, so we drove home to eat before driving back for another event.  And then there was an hour break before the next event, so we drove back home again to wait.  When the day had ended, we were ready for it to be over.

With all the festival hoopla, there was no time today to prepare a Scandinavian Saturday supper, so I'm postponing that until tomorrow.  Plus, we had to get back to the university by 7:00 P.M. because we had tickets for a live performance and recording of Dakota Air: The Radio Show.  If you have never heard of it, join the club; I hadn't either until I read that the production was coming to Dickinson.  It turned out to be a terrific night of entertainment!  It's a lot like Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion in that there is music from the house band, comic sketches by the cast, and guest performances by local talent.

The traveling cast had done their research and written skits and song lyrics with content related to our region and its history; and they were a troupe of talented actors and musicians themselves.  And the local talent represented southwest ND very well.  We heard regional humor from cowboy poet Bill Lowman; vocal solos by soprano Leah Walters; western and bluegrass music by the brothers (video clip) from the Waddington Family; comic skits by performers from Sneak Pique Productions; and one great true story and one great poetry oral interpretation by humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson.

It was a terrific night of entertainment . . . and it's not too late for you to experience it yourself!  They performed a show that was both appealing to a live audience and suitable for radio broadcast; they recorded tonight's performance to be edited and played on Prairie Public Radio.  You can check here for broadcast dates and times . . . or just listen to it online (using the same link).  You won't be disappointed.


  1. It was a very tiring, but truly enjoyable day!

  2. Woo hoo to the girls on their superiors! High Fives all around!