From: Charlotte M. Speltz,
North Carolina and Winona
As snowbirds from the South, John and I flew up (literally) last week, anticipating the incredible arts here. Already the Winona Municipal Band has begun Wednesday concerts, Café Congo at First Congregational UCC hosted young Stringwood Artaria quartets, the Winona County Historical Society opened the Art of Fine Furniture, and HCO launched “Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.” The Minnesota Marine Art Museum has an opening reception this week for the 17th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists.
The Great River Shakespeare Festival returns for the 14th season (yea!) this weekend. Many of the professional actors, now friends, appear in two of Shakespeare’s best plays, “Richard III” and “The Comedy of Errors.” This year two additional plays will also be performed.
Free GRSF attractions also beckon, including Friday and Saturday Concerts on the Green at Winona State University and the July 1 Front Porch (in conjunction with Frozen River Film Festival) featuring a documentary about Winona’s own John Latsch.
On July 6 the Minnesota Beethoven Festival returns with the Minnesota Orchestra in an outdoor concert by Lake Winona. Eight marvelous performances follow, including the return of Joshua Bell, Dale Warland, Boston Brass, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. We can’t wait!
The world premier of a new musical, “Francis and Clare,” will run at St. Mary’s University on August 4, 5, and 6. Nancy Edstrom Bachler and Bruce Ransdall are involved in the composition and direction of the musical, with Tim Olstad as St. Francis. Performers come from Winona, Rochester, La Crosse, and Wabasha.
Truly, Winona is becoming an artistic Mecca through the year. Lee Gundersheimer, arts and culture coordinator for the city of Winona, says an arts and culture strategic plan is now under development, as well as arts programming for government buildings and the renovation of the Masonic Theatre.
John and I love the summers when we are here! Time with family and friends is precious. Talking with audience members from across Minnesota who speak glowingly of their visits to arts venues makes us very proud!