Monroe Crossing entertains big crowd Monday at Music in the Park|
|Monroe Crossing, a bluegrass band that is in demand across the United States, and for that matter, the world, made a stop in Antigo’s City Park Monday evening for a visit.|
The visit was for the twice-weekly Music in the Park series, which is planning a full August of extra-special music and events before winding down at the end of the month.
On Monday, the threatened rain stayed away, making for a delightful evening of camaraderie, bluegrass, picnicking and fun.
The Minnesota-based band plays at least 125 gigs a year, sometimes two of them a day, and travel seems to be no impediment.
The band is formed with five distinct artists who blend for a unique sound. During the Monday night Music in the Park program, they traced their roots to the man called “The Father of Bluegrass,” Bill Monroe, and are working to spread the joy and entertainment value of the music.
They brought a stack of CDs to Antigo and even one DVD, offering them to the crowd.
Following an excellent opener with LYVE, the local youth singing and dancing troupe, Monroe Crossing took to the stage with a salute to Bill Monroe, and it was apparent their dedication to his traditions established for that genre of music.
But they also fired on their own arrangements that were fresh and creative, and delighted the park crowd.
When the show ended, the band visited with the crowd, sold some of its recordings and then packed up for the next stop.
On Sunday evening they appeared at Camp David’s Party Barn in Fish Creek, a Door County community, and from Antigo will travel west for a Wednesday gig in Lindstrom, Minn.
They are indeed a busy band, and even have plans on participating in something called Danny Stewart’s Bluegrass Cruise in mid January to the Bahamas.
The tilt turns towards children and the local arts scene on Thursday, with a new event, “Art in the Park,” at 5:30 p.m. followed by Tom Pease at 6:30 p.m.
There will be “Lively Arts” stations, under tents, scattered around the bandstand at City Park. Each of the various stations will be presented by local artists and community organizations involved in their arts.
Antigo Visual Arts and the Antigo school district art department will have a creative art project that when completed, will be displayed on the bandstand for the concert.
The Antigo Community Theatre and Antigo High School drama club will have “Grandma’s Trunk” full of costumes and props for children to try on and use their imagination to try acting. The Antigo Public Library tent, “Just One More Book,” (named after a Tom Pease song) will have reading, poetry and puppetry to entertain the children.
Of Chorus! and LYVE will teach the young people a song and dance using the Tom Pease tune, “When I Grow Up” and will hopefully perform it with Pease during the concert.
The Antigo Area Community Band and Antigo High School band will have a “Drumming Circle” to have children try out various percussion instruments. Local piano teachers will have a piano and a keyboard on the floor to “Tickle the Keys” and L.A. Arts will have a tent full of information for young and old with where to find the lively arts in the community, from concerts, to art showings, to finding instructors.
This entirely free event is opened to the public to enjoy, and is being sponsored by The Antigo Optimist Club. There will be no need to cook supper, as The Optimists will also be providing food, pies and of course their famous fried “Cheese Curds”.
All the Exploring the Arts tents will close promptly at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy the Tom Pease concert. He hails from Amherst and has been composing and performing folk music on guitar since 1982. His specialty is engaging children and adults alike into music with very catchy, colorful and easy tunes.
Pease has produced over six albums to date and they will be available to the public for purchase.
The remaining summer lineup includes Second Edition on Aug. 12; Little Blues Machine on Aug. 15; and a appearance by the popular MLC Blues Band on Aug. 19.
Skip Jones takes the stage on Aug. 22 and Brad Emanuel on Aug. 26. The series will conclude with songwriter and storyteller Bruce Burnside on Aug. 29.
Some members of Monroe Crossing are shown performing in the park bandstand.
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