Lanesboro Arts is proud to present Minnesota songwriter Chris Koza in an intimate listening-room environment at the historic St. Mane Theatre in downtown Lanesboro on Saturday, July 14, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. This concert will also serve as the capstone event of a mini-residency with Chris Koza, who is returning to town after a pair of 2017 events at the High Court Pub. Koza will be participating in various storytelling, songwriting and music events throughout the week of July 9 with Lanesboro-area residents as part of the Performing Artist Engagement Program supported by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council. A full backing band that includes a member of Rogue Valley will be performing a mix of well-crafted folk-pop and Americana music with Koza at this concert.
As a nationally recognized singer-songwriter who has also received several educational and outreach grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Koza brings a compelling blend of skills and experiences to a variety of inclusive arts activities and events throughout Lanesboro that engage students, seniors, musicians and writers of all levels and help mitigate barriers to participation. His talents as a communicator and storyteller are sure to inspire and energize through a week-long series of outreach events leading up to the concert on July 14:
• Koza will visit the Surprise Sculpture (12 p.m. to 2 p.m.) and Open Studio (3-5 p.m.) free summer youth arts education programs sessions on Tuesday, July 10, to help lead art-making projects while sharing his experiences as a working artist with the student participants.
• On Thursday, July 12, at 12:30 p.m. Koza will give a mini-performance following SEMCAC Senior Dining at Kenilworth Apartments.
• Koza will lead a free public poetry and songwriting workshop for writers and musicians of all abilities at the High Court Loft on Thursday, July 12, at 6:30 p.m.
• The regular Open Mic at High Court Pub is taking place on Thursday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m. and Koza is planning to share some music and stories there following the workshop in the loft.
• The Over the Back Fence community variety show will feature Koza as a musical guest performing a song with cast members on Friday, July 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the St. Mane Theatre. Community members interested in singing with Koza during the show can attend rehearsals on July 10 and/or July 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the St. Mane Theatre.
Active in the regional music scene for nearly 15 years, Koza grew up in Portland, Ore., and first moved to Minnesota to attend St. Olaf College. His band, Rogue Valley, has released a total of nine albums and EPs. In addition to writing and recording his own music, Koza is also involved with co-writing and arranging songs with other artists, and is exploring commercial and film opportunities. Koza’s songs have been featured on numerous television shows including ABC’s “Cougartown,” MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and “Matt & Kim,” and CBS’s 2013 Superbowl pregame show. International Musicblog Americana UK gave Koza’s 2008 solo release “The Dark, Delirious Morning” nine out of 10 stars, calling it “an unpretentious little masterpiece.” In fall 2014, Koza released his latest solo record, “In Real Time,” and embarked on a national tour in support of his album with Indie pop singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson.
Lately, Koza has utilized his role as a musician in educational and outreach opportunities. During winter 2013, Koza was artist in residence and produced a performance with the Hopkins High School Orchestra. Later that year through the aid of grant funding, Koza and Rogue Valley spent a week in Koochiching County visiting schools and engaging with students before performing at the Backus Community Center in International Falls.
The Performing Artist Engagement Program is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Tickets are $15 or $12 for Lanesboro Arts members and are sold online at www.lanesboroarts.org, at Lanesboro Arts Gallery by calling 507-467-2446, and at the St. Mane Theatre box office beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the night of the play. The St. Mane Theatre is located at 206 Parkway Avenue North in Lanesboro.