The Rhubarb Sisters, from left, are Jennifer Peterson, Valerie Peterson Wilson, Julie Kiehne and Beth Hennessy.
Lanesboro Arts is proud to present The Rhubarb Sisters in a production of parodies — “Rhubarb Rhupeats: The Daily Rhutine” — at the St. Mane Theatre in downtown Lanesboro on Friday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m. Experience a day in the life of a Rhubarb Sister as the group revisits their special blend of songs from years past, with those tangy rhubarb lyrics, in a performance that will welcome new sister Jennifer Peterson. The CBB Jazz Combo will also provide pre-show, intermission and post-show music. The annual Rhubarb Festival in Sylvan Park will be taking place the weekend prior to this concert, on Saturday, June 1.
The Rhubarb Sisters hail from Lanesboro, the “rhubarb capital of Minnesota.” Since 2006, they have enjoyed entertaining audiences throughout Southeast Minnesota and spreading their rhubarb message of hope and good cheer. They have found that rhubarb can make its way into almost any familiar song. Just like the rhubarb they’ve named themselves after, they are all about finding happiness in your own backyard.
Are these girls really sisters? Not biologically, but they are “sisters” united in their love of rhubarb, their belief in simplicity and the comforts of home living. They love to ask audiences, “Who here has rhubarb in their freezer?” Responses almost always include memories of mothers and grandmothers serving up rhubarb in younger days. Rhubarb means happiness, and happiness means home where good memories are created.
For the group, the basic message is that rhubarb is a humble thing. It’s just back by the garage. But just because it’s humble, doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. In the Midwest, people make the most of what they have and rhubarb blends with anything. Additionally, you can hardly find rhubarb in stores. It’s inherently noncommercial and so are the Rhubarb Sisters, who travel far and wide in their vintage-style dresses and aprons, singing about the wonders of rhubarb.
Current members of The Rhubarb Sisters are Jennifer Peterson, Julie Kiehne, Valerie Peterson Wilson and Beth Hennessy, all from the Lanesboro area of Southeast Minnesota. In addition to their ongoing commitment to Lanesboro’s annual Rhubarb Festival, The Rhubarb Sisters have performed for community groups in Southeast Minnesota, at Duluth’s CHUM Rhubarb Festival, on Lanesboro’s “Over the Back Fence” live radio show, and at the Whalan Stand Still Parade. The Rhubarb Sisters were featured on “A Prairie Home Companion” when it was broadcast live from Lanesboro, as well as KSMQ’s “Off-90” show.
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 concert. The St. Mane Theatre is located at 206 Parkway Avenue North in Lanesboro.