Veterans' Park and Heritage Park in downtown River Falls have long been the scenes of live music. This week, for River Falls Days, a father and son duo stands out. Ari Silver was welcomed by Chris Silver and his bands in front of and on the stage more than a dozen years ago. I recall him while still a toddler playing air guitar with a mighty childhood passion. He now plays the real guitar very well, blending a lovely singing voice in harmony with his dad. Ari's stage presence is captivating and confident as father and son obviously relish this creative connection.
Now and then an artist arises with such brilliance the world is compelled to take notice. "Canvas" on PBS Newshour, a segment on arts and culture, often features artists of whom one might otherwise be unaware. Such was the case in June, when 38-year-old Cameron Carpenter displayed extraordinary performances on the pipe organ. To say that Carpenter plays the pipe organ is a serious understatement, as it would be to say he merely plays the classics.
At last summer is upon us. Among the splendid offerings that surround us is a plethora of songbirds filling the sky with a chorus unequaled. Few creatures make such intricate, complex sounds as birds. Now in the height of birdsong season we hear a mix of music as they open their throats. Many composers take inspiration from bird songs. Controversy persists about why birds sing - is it for communication, or simply for the joy of singing, or both? And why do humans sing?
River Falls musician Steve Kenny has profoundly influenced the jazz scene for 30 years, yet does not want to blow his own horn. That's why it came as a surprise to him that on May 4 this exceptional trumpeter and composer was honored at St. Paul's Black Dog Café jazz night as the 2019 Twin Cities Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalists Association ( www.news.jazzjournalists.org ).
As a hit song from 1926 goes: When the red, red robin comes Bob-bob bobbin' along, along There'll be no more sobbin' when He starts throbbin' his old sweet song Wake up, wake up you sleepy head Get up, get up, get out of bed Cheer up, cheer up, the sun is red Live, love, laugh and be happy.
Can you name five artists? Can you name five women artists? The National Museum of Women in the Arts asks this question each year in March, Women's History Month. You can learn more about the initiative at www.blog,nmwa.org .
There are recent stories in the local news about a monster Sturgeon caught and released in the St. Croix River, near Stillwater, Minn. It now seems that this fish may have been caught once or twice before, according to Minnesota Public Radio. At 78 inches, the recent catch is estimated to weigh 120 pounds, making it the largest fish of any species documented in Minnesota. It may be 70 years old.
Here we are in the second month of the U.S. government shutdown, with anxiety increasing in America and the world. The impact on the nation is profound and threatening to large numbers of organizations and people from all walks of life, especially small businesses and those living from paycheck to paycheck. On Jan. 9, National Public Radio published an excellent article about the effects of the shutdown on the arts. The synopsis below is but a taste of the problems faced when artists are unable to continue their positive creative pursuits.
Opportunity calls! Sometimes local and regional arts groups need extra volunteers to keep riding the wave of productivity and strength. The River Falls Community Arts Base has a record of excellent programs planned and executed by dedicated, fun-loving, creative members.
A cornucopia of arts graces life here in the St. Croix and Mississippi River valleys. There's no time like the present to acknowledge the breadth of these offerings and add your support to the efforts that keep our communities strong, creatively and economically.