Weather Forecast


Cultural center to host concert by award-winning poet, musician

The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center will host a concert called "The Story of Music, Stories from Home" on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 advance sale and $15 the night of the concert. Student admission is $5.

The concert features award-winning poet and essayist Gary Holthaus and internationally acclaimed musician Lauren Pelon. Holthaus reads from his poems and essays, and Pelon plays a variety of ancient and modern instruments ranging from lute, lyre and concertina, to recorders, gemshorn, electric wind controller and pedalboard.

Both the music and the readings offer perceptions of the natural world and celebrate a sense of place, community and home.

Pelon is a 2011 recipient of an Arts Tour Minnesota grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. The activity is funded in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment.

Pelon has performed throughout the United States and in China, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Australia, and New Zealand. She is noted for her use of a wide range of instruments, but she has also won recognition for her soprano voice and for her compositions and arrangements of music from many countries and cultures.

Pelon has performed with symphony orchestras, The Philadelphia String Quartet, on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" and at the Russian Institute for the History of the Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia. She was the recipient of the 2001 "Artist of the Year" award from the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council, and 2010 Artist Initiative Award from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Holthaus has three books of poems, three chapbooks and three collections of essays, all rooted in the earth and the idea of community or home. His poems have been published in the U.S., Egypt and Iraq (in Arabic).

Holthaus received a 1990 National Endowment for the Arts Individual Fellowship for Poetry, and his prose was cited in "Notable Essays" in 1994 and 1998. He recently worked with the Experiment in Rural Cooperation to write "From the Farm to the Table, What All Americans Need To Know about Agriculture," a book on farming in the upper Midwest.

He has also worked for Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, with the Island Institute on issues of sustainability in Sitka, Alaska and with the Pepperfield Project in Decorah, Iowa.