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Friday, June 26, 2009

New 5th and Elm Coffee House opens in Hancock

5th and Elm Coffee House owner Frank Fiala helps Barrista Lisa Erickson keep the floor spotless in his new business, the second 5th and Elm Coffee House, located near the Scott Hotel in Hancock, on the site of the former Spice of Life bakery and lunch shop. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos © 2009 Keweenaw Now)

By Michele Bourdieu

HANCOCK, CALUMET --Calumet's 5th and Elm Coffee House now has a second location. The new café, bearing the same name, opened on June 15, 2009, on the site of the former Spice of Life bakery, near the Scott Hotel in Hancock.

Frank Fiala of Hancock calls the 5th and Elm a family business, including also his wife, Emily Fiala, and Boone Fiala, their son, in the ownership and management of the two shops.

A day before Father's Day, Emily Fiala, co-owner of the Hancock 5th and Elm Coffee House, chats with customer Michael Bowler of Hancock and admires his three-month-old daughter, Susan Marie, one of the youngest visitors to the shop. Pictured at far right is Matt Sanford, barrista.

"After my retirement from the National Park Service, I decided I wanted to do something in business," Fiala said. "Boone was in California at the time and wanted to come back to the area. We've always been interested in coffee, so we decided to open up a coffee shop in Calumet."

The original 5th and Elm opened in Calumet in March 8, 2008, for the Great Bear Chase cross-country ski races.* Fiala noted he and his family have been encouraged by that business the last 16 months and by the potential growth in Calumet.

The original 5th and Elm Coffee House opened March 8, 2008, for the Great Bear Chase ski races at Swedetown Trails in Calumet.*

"When this one became available, we decided it was a good opportunity to grow the business," he explained.

Fiala noted the former Spice of Life was primarily a lunch business with take-out, which he is continuing with the addition of a wide variety of coffee drinks, including espresso.

"With our coffee here we're trying to expand the hours," he added.

Presently the Hancock 5th and Elm is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Hancock 5th and Elm Barrista Lisa Erickson rings up lunch orders for customers Marti Rashleigh of Painesdale and Phillip Shanahan of Hancock. Both work at Miller's Jewelry in Hancock, a short walk from the new café.

Former Spice of Life customers still come to the new 5th and Elm for sandwiches at lunchtime.

One of those, Marti Rashleigh of Painesdale, whose favorite is the turkey sandwich, seemed pleased with the addition of the coffee selections.

"I drink coffee every day," she said.

Frank Fiala noted the sandwiches are mostly the same type formerly served at the Spice of Life, but he has added ham and turkey from Nueski's Smoke House in Wisconsin.

Barrista Lisa Erickson commutes six days a week from Toivola to her new job at the Hancock 5th and Elm.

"I have an espresso maker at home, but it's nowhere near the caliber of this 'Italiano' espresso maker," Erickson noted. "I'm learning how to make new concoctions every day!"

Calumet, Hancock 5th and Elm cafés have similar menus

Boone Fiala, who does double duty as manager and barrista at the Calumet 5th and Elm, said the coffee in both shops (Ancora Coffee) comes from Madison, Wis., and the beans are imported from various countries all over the world, but especially from South America.

Boone Fiala, manager and barrista, prepares a Capuccino at the Calumet 5th and Elm Coffee House.

"Black and Tan is our house coffee," Boone said. "It's a 50-50 mix of a medium roast and a dark roast."

While the original 5th and Elm has been mostly a Coffee House (complete with occasional poetry readings and art exhibits), sandwiches are now being added to the menu to match those at the Hancock shop.

One 5th and Elm barrista with a familiar face -- Matt Sanford, raised in Toivola and now of Hancock -- is proud of his coffee-making experience. Local coffee lovers will recognize him as a barrista of the former Motherlode Café, where he worked until it closed a few years ago. He worked at the Calumet 5th and Elm Coffee House and recently moved to Hancock. Now it's convenient for him to be making coffee at the new shop near his home.

Matt Sanford, barrista, worked at the former Motherlode in Houghton, at the Calumet 5th and Elm and is now at the Hancock 5th and Elm. Sanford said he also had coffee-making experience at exclusive cafés in Chicago.

"I'm just happy to have good coffee here for my own selfish purposes," Sanford said. "I moved down here because Calumet has a lot of snow."

Sanford said he's neither a skier nor a snowmobiler.

"I'm a shoveler," he quipped.

He's also an artist and hopes to have an exhibit of his paintings eventually in one of the two cafés.

The Calumet 5th and Elm exhibits works by local artists as well as hosting poetry readings. Pictured here are photos by Brockit Photography.

Two new employees at the Hancock 5th and Elm were busy in the kitchen on Wednesday, June 24. Mike Laitila of Hancock, son of Hancock Mayor William Laitila and Daryl Laitila of PastyNet (who is working on creating the new 5th and Elm Web site), was making sandwiches, while La Naeh Holmbo of Boston Location was cleaning shelves.

Mike Laitila of Hancock, sandwich expert, learns his way around the kitchen on his first day of work (June 24) at the new 5th and Elm shop in Hancock.

"This is our first day," Holmbo said. "So far it's fantastic!"

La Naeh Holmbo of Boston Location, who formerly worked in an espresso shop in California, puts a shine on the Hancock café's kitchen shelves.

Both 5th and Elm shops now serve Jilbert's ice cream -- great on these hot days!

Boone Fiala noted while the Calumet café is adding sandwiches from the Hancock 5th and Elm's menu, the Hancock shop is offering "pretty much everything we do up here -- coffee (including espresso drinks), bakery, ice cream, wireless Internet."

Katie Jo Wright and Julie DePaul Johnson make the baked goods for both shops.

As Boone spoke, a Calumet customer, Hunter Watson, closed his laptop and finished his chicken artichoke florentine soup.

"Everything was excellent," Watson said. "The atmosphere is very nice. The Internet access is very convenient. The food and the soup are invariably good."

Dave Freeman of Calumet and John Westerinen of Mohawk, regular customers at the Calumet 5th and Elm, sat at a table outside, where Westerinen had parked his 1929 Model A Ford, which seemed to fit the historic atmosphere of Calumet's Fifth Street. Both were drinking a strong-looking brew.

Regular customers at the Calumet 5th and Elm, Dave Freeman, left (background) and John Westerinen take a coffee break on the terrace, sheltered from the rain, before taking a ride in Westerinen's 1929 Model A Ford.

Westerinen said of the house coffee, "It's a little stronger than what I'm used to, but I like the kick."

Freeman was enthusiastic about his espresso decaf: "It's out of sight!" he said.

Hours at the Calumet 5th and Elm are still Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 Noon - 6 p.m. Check them out during Pasty Fest this weekend!

* Editor's Note: Keweenaw Now posted photos of the Calumet 5th and Elm when it opened in March 2008. See our March 15, 2008 photo essay.

Couple to present talk on Peace Corps experience in Tanzania June 28

HOUGHTON -- Anna and Justin Wild will present "Three Years in the Peace Corps," slides and a talk on central Tanzania, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 28, at Portage Lake United Church in Houghton.

Anna's site was in Kigwe, the desert area in central Tanzania west of Dodoma, the capital city. Justin's post was in Southern Tanzania, but after they first met during their training sessions they knew they would end up together. After each completed the required 2-year tour, they petitioned the Peace Corps to spend a third year in Tanzania at Anna's site and as a married couple. When this was approved, the two returned for three weeks to the U.S. to get acquainted with each other's family and to marry. Two days after their wedding they journeyed back to Kigwe, where they taught math and science, completing their third year in December 2008.

Their talk will include slides, demonstrations and humor! Everyone is invited.

Anna is Jan Dalquist's granddaughter, Dan and Bobbie Dalquist's niece and Marthe Dalquist Kuhn's daughter.

Future of St. Lawrence Seaway -- 50 years old today -- hinges on sustainability

BUFFALO, NY -- To mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway -- today, June 26, 2009 -- over 50 public interest groups from across the region are outlining seven principles to guide an environmentally sustainable future for shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

Lake Superior at McLain State Park, between Hancock and Calumet. The health of our beaches depends on environmental stewardship of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway ecosystem. (Photo © 2009 Keweenaw Now)

"The opening of the Seaway took a devastating toll on the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem," said Jennifer Nalbone, director of Navigation and Invasive Species at Great Lakes United and lead author of the report. "If the shipping industry wants to be truly sustainable it needs to rethink how it operates on the Great Lakes. These seven principles provide the goal posts by which to measure that future."

Outlined in "A Better Seaway: Seven Principles to Guide Sustainable Shipping on The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River," the principles address a broad range of environmental impacts, associated with shipping on the Great Lakes and with domestic operations -- from invasive species to ice-breaking to air emissions.

The principles to guide a better Seaway are as follows:
1. Ships must not introduce or spread aquatic invasive species.
2. Climate change is a real threat, and proactive steps must be taken to meet this challenge head on.
3. Unnecessary and costly system expansion proposals must be abandoned.
4. Air emissions should be cleaned up for shipping to truly be the cleanest mode of transportation in regards to air pollution.
5. Work towards the elimination of all pollutants into the Great Lakes.
6. Minimize ice-breaking, especially in sensitive areas.
7. Citizen engagement and industry transparency should become the norm in Seaway governance.

Since the Seaway opened on June 26th, 1959, the environmental and economic damage brought on by opening the Great Lakes to international ships has been significant. Construction of the Seaway itself resulted in irreversible environmental loss as new channels were dug in the riverbed, shallow sections were flooded, islands blasted away, six villages displaced and a series of locks constructed. International ships have become the primary source of new non-native aquatic invasive species such as the zebra and quagga mussels. Invaders like these have caused tremendous damage to Great Lakes ecosystem. The University of Notre Dame estimates that the species that gained access to the region through the Seaway cost citizens, businesses and cities in the eight Great Lakes states alone at least $200 million per year in damage to the commercial and recreational fishery, wildlife watching and water infrastructure. While exact economic data does not exist for the Great Lakes region in Canada, similar damages can be expected.

More organizations are endorsing the principles every day. To read more information and sign yours up go to Citizens are also invited to sign a petition supporting these principles.

Read more on the Great Lakes United Web site.
See also: "An Action Plan on Invasive Species for President Obama and the 111th Congress."

"Musical Mondays" summer series to begin June 29 in Calumet

CALUMET -- The Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's and the Calumet Theatre present "Musical Mondays," a summer music series at 7 p.m. on Monday evenings this summer. The first three of these events will be held at the Heritage Center:

June 29: "Learn to Play the Kantele" -- Finnish Kantele workshop with Kay Seppala. Cost $5. To pre-register call 337-2704.

July 6: "Hear Your Heritage -- Ethnic Bands":
  • Thimbleberry Band - Oren Tikkanen (Finnish)
  • Maple Sugar Folk Band - Dave Bezotte (French Canadian)
  • Bob Norden's Band (German)
July 13: "This Land is My Land - Patriotic Memories" -- Community Singers

Also, on Friday, July 3, "First Fridays in Calumet" will include "Harp music with Sidney Butler" from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Keweenaw Heritage Center.

Editor's Note: Watch for more announcements of later performances (July and August).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Relay for Life cancer fundraiser to be at Fairgrounds in Hancock June 26-27

HOUGHTON -- The 14th Annual Copper Country Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society will take place Friday-Saturday, June 26-27, in a new location this year: the Houghton County Fairgrounds in Hancock. The new time schedule will begin at 12 Noon on Friday and continue until 12 Noon on Saturday. The Exhibit Building will be the new site for fundraising activity.

Relay For Life is a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of the American Cancer Society. During the event, teams of people gather at schools, fairgrounds, or parks and take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times.

In the past the Copper Country Relay for Life has been held at the Houghton High School track. Construction at the high school is the reason for the new Fairgrounds location this year.

The Copper Country Relay for Life raised $141,006 Net Income in 2008. A highlight of the event is the Luminaria Ceremony, to be held at 9:30 p.m. Friday evening. Participants are invited to light a candle to honor or remember someone special. Luminaria candles will be on sale in the Market Place area from 12 Noon to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 26. Art materials will be available to decorate your Luminaria bags (pictured here). The cost is $10.00.

The Relay for Life has become an international movement. International Relay For Life (IRFL) events are now held in more than 600 communities spanning 21 countries. This unique activity, designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for life-saving research and programs, unites and mobilizes community members committed to eliminating cancer.

For information contact any of the following:
Carl Fulsher, 906-282-4657 or; Kathy Archambeau, 906-482-3550 or; Barb Banfield, 906-482-2096 or

For more information on the Relay for Life, visit their Web site.

Photo: During a previous Copper Country Relay for Life event, bags decorated with tributes to victims and survivors of cancer line the track at Houghton High School in preparation for the candlelight Luminaria Ceremony. (File photo © Keweenaw Now)

Copper Country Habitat for Humanity ReStore Grand Opening to be June 27

CALUMET -- A Grand Opening celebration of the Copper Country Habitat for Humanity ReStore will take place during regular store hours, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., on Saturday, June 27. The Copper Country Restore is located at 25971 Pine St. in Calumet.

The Copper Country Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located in a remodeled former church at 25971 Pine St., Calumet, will welcome the public to its Grand Opening celebration from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 27, during Pasty Fest. (Photos © 2009 Keweenaw Now)

Offering a variety of new and gently used building materials and home furnishings for sale, the Copper Country ReStore has been open for business since November 2008, but delayed its Grand Opening in order to coincide with warmer weather and the June 27 Pasty Fest.

"This is a thank you for the people who have supported the store," said Manager Joseph Mihal.

The community will have an opportunity to tour the store and enter a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to the Copper Country ReStore. It is not necessary to be present to win.

"We'll also have musical entertainment in the afternoon," Mihal said.

ReStore Manager Joseph Mihal points out the features of a donated stove to regular customer Heidi Carney of Laurium.

Copper Country ReStore receives donations of home furnishings, appliances and building and renovation supplies. Cabinets, desks, doors, windows, sinks and even a car are just some of the items to be found at Copper Country ReStore. The donated items are sold in order to promote reusing and repurposing materials and to raise funds that enable Copper Country Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing in the area.*

"It also helps keep things out of the landfill," Mihal noted. "For every $1 in sales, 1.3 lb. is kept out of the landfill."

Donated items available at the Copper Country ReStore range from small household items to furniture, windows, building materials and an occasional car.

Nearly all items are donated, Mihal added. Since the money earned goes to the non-profit Copper Country Habitat for Humanity, receipts are provided for tax deduction purposes.

"There's always a need for continued donations," he said.

The ReStore offers very usable items, and some treasures, at affordable prices.

Regular Copper Country Restore hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Copper Country ReStore would like to thank community members for their continued support in providing the store with donated items and for utilizing the Copper Country ReStore for building and household needs.

For more information, please contact Joseph Mihal at the Copper Country ReStore at 906-337-0020 or visit the ReStore page on the Habitat for Humanity Web site for a list of items acceptable for donation.

*Copper Country Habitat for Humanity is presently building a house in Hancock, and volunteers are needed. Call the office, located in Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock, at 906-482-5376 or visit their Web site for more information.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Keweenaw Heritage Center to begin summer programs with music, reception June 24

CALUMET -- The Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's in Calumet opens its summer performance program with a reception and program at 7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, June 24, with a presentation by Jan Dalquist and Dan Maki -- "Singers and Songs of the Copper Country." Refreshments will be served.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, June 26, the Center will host the Community Service Awards Program of the Pasty Fest.*

Beginning Monday, June 29, the Keweenaw Heritage Center will present a series of "Musical Mondays" in keeping with the music theme now seen in the window displays in Calumet businesses. Stop by the Center between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday during July and August to enjoy their great photo display, "Musical Heritage of the Keweenaw."

The 1899 Barckhoff Pipe Organ restoration project is now complete, and the "Celebration Concert" will be held at 7 p.m. on August 5 with guest artists.

Visit the Keweenaw Heritage Center Web site for information on its history and restoration.

* For the schedule of this weekend's Pasty Fest, June 26-27, (parade, live music, vendors, family fun) in Calumet, visit the Main Street Calumet Web site.

Mosaic workshops begin June 24 at Keweenaw Krayons

MOHAWK -- Keweenaw Krayons recycled art program will continue with a series of Mosaic workshops. The workshops, facilitated by ceramic and glass artist Colleen Carroll, will take place Wednesday, June 24; Friday, June 26; and Wednesday, July 1, at the Keweenaw Krayons studio, located in the Mohawk School.

Ceramic and glass artist Colleen Carroll exhibits some of her work at the Houghton Art and Music Festival June 13, 2009. (Photo © 2009 Keweenaw Now)

Colleen Carroll is a ceramic and glass artist living in Calumet. Prior to earning her BFA from Finlandia University, Colleen earned a BS degree in Education and taught grades 4 and 5. She has been making and teaching art locally and will be directing the summer arts camp at the Copper Country Community Art Center in Hancock this August.

The sessions are as follows:

Day 1: Wednesday, June 24, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Class time with open studio from 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. Participants must attend this class.

Day 2: Friday, June 26, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. Class time with open studio from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Day 3: Wednesday, July 1, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Open studio to catch up, make up, or seal grout.

Participants can create a mosaic using one of Keweenaw Krayons flower pots or they are welcome to bring something small from home to use as a base. Ceramic, glass or wood are acceptable materials as long as the piece is not flexible. (No metal or plastic). Wood should be water proofed (commercial sealer or 4 parts water to 1 part white glue, 4 coats).

Some possible ideas of items to bring are: candle holders, picture frame, vase, stepping stone, mirror frame, light fixture, wood box, soap dish, tissue box, cup, etc.

There will be ceramic and glass pieces available to choose from, but participants may want to bring some treasures of their own including: broken tiles of dishes, beads, shells, stones, marbles, stained glass, pebbles, mirror, jewelry, trinkets, figurines, broken bottles, coins, etc.

There is no charge for the class but donations of cash, pop cans, time, supplies and/or plants are appreciated.

Class size is limited and registration is required. To register participants can call 337-4706 or email

The summer recycled art project is funded in part through the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Copper Country Community Arts Council and the Denise Marth Memorial grant through the Superior Child Abuse Prevention Council.

Uptown Swingsters to perform June 24 at Ontonagon Theater

The Uptown Swingsters -- from left, Bob Norden, Brian Parmeter, Oren Tikkanen (in hat), Greg Wright, John Munson and Lucas Lagos on drums -- will perform tonight, Wednesday, June 24, in Ontonagon. (Photo courtesy Uptown Swingsters)

HOUGHTON --The Ontonagon Theater of Performing Arts will present the Uptown Swingsters (Easy Listening, Soft Jazz and Standards with a little sauce) at 7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, June 24. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door and $5 for students at the door only. Advance Tickets are available at The Ontonagon County Telephone Company, Ontonagon Herald, Citizens State Bank, M Bank, Ontonagon County Historical Museum, Plutchak’s in Mass City and Settlers Federal Credit Union in Bruce Crossing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Updated: Author Steve Lehto to discuss, sign new book June 25

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University ’s North Wind Books, Hancock, will host a book signing with author Steve Lehto from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 25. Lehto will sign copies of his new book, Michigan ’s Columbus, The Life of Douglass Houghton, a chronicle of Dr. Houghton’s life and tragic death.

At 7 p.m. the same evening, June 25, Lehto will recount the life and times of Douglass Houghton and sign more copies of his book at the Keweenaw County Courthouse, located at 5095 Fourth Street in Eagle River, Michigan. This presentation is part of the Fourth Thursday in History speaker series, sponsored by Keweenaw National Historical Park. Attendees will be able to purchase copies of Lehto’s books from the Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association.

The name "Houghton" is well-known to Michiganians as a city, a county, a lake, waterfalls, schools and more. But how did Douglass Houghton become such a "star?"

As its first state geologist, Houghton found more natural resources in Michigan than any explorer before him, from salt springs to gypsum. His discoveries helped begin the "rush" to the Keweenaw Peninsula’s Copper Country. Douglass Houghton was also a medical doctor, a mayor of Detroit and a professor at the University of Michigan. When Houghton drowned in 1845, at the age of 36, he was one of the best-known people in Michigan.

During his presentation in Eagle River, Lehto will discuss these and other aspects of Houghton’s life that he researched in writing his book

Lehto, an attorney, is also the author of At Death’s Door, an account of the 1913 Italian Hall disaster in Calumet, Mich., which won the 2007 Michigan Notable Book Award. His grandfather Waino "Pops" Lehto was a dean and professor at Finlandia University (then Suomi College) for 40 years.

For additional information about the book signings, please contact North Wind Books at 906-487-7217 or call Keweenaw National Historical Park at (906) 337-3168.

"Living in the Landscape" art, natural history trips begin June 27

GRATIOT LAKE -- "Living in the Landscape," the Summer 2009 Reading the Landscape series of art and natural history field trips for adults, will begin with a session on Sustainable Living, to be held from 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 27. Using as illustrations the work being done at the Keweenaw Land Trust’s Marsin Nature Retreat Center and at Churning Rapids, a Keweenaw Land Trust easement property, participants will learn about the many ways in which we can all live making less environmental impact.

During a 2008 Reading the Landscape session in Central, artist Linden Dahlstrom, right, explains the purpose and possibilities of using objects found in Nature for making art. In addition to doing an art project, participants visited the historic Central Mine site and learned about the coming Stamp Sand Stabilization Project and the unnatural and natural history of stamp sands. Watch for an article on this project, coming soon. (Photo © 2008 Keweenaw Now)

The Reading the Landscape program, which is in its seventh year, is co-sponsored by Copper Country Audubon, Gratiot Lake Conservancy, Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District, Keweenaw County Historical Society, Keweenaw Land Trust, Michigan Nature Association and Copper Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Additional sessions on diverse topics will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on July 18, August 22 and September 19 at a variety of places in the Keweenaw. The fee per session is $15. Teachers interested in attending any of the field trips may apply to the Gratiot Lake Conservancy (contact: 337-5476) for a Janet Avery Scholarship that will cover the fee. Reservations for the trips are necessary and group size is limited.

The following are the July, August and September sessions:

July 18 -- Sustainable Farming: The how, why and what of sustainable, local farming. We will visit the Hughes commercial farm. We will talk with the staff at Keweenaw Co-op that markets local produce, and we will collect an organic picnic lunch from the Co-op to eat at the Weglarz homestead where Viki and Ray have been no-till organic gardening for many years.

August 22 -- Living With Our Wildlife: Explore the love/hate relationship we often have with wild animals such as beaver, wolves, bats and deer. We will look for signs of wildlife, begin to understand our complex relationship with our wild neighbors and examine ways that we can live in the landscape amicably.

September 19 -- Heritage Apples: This session will take place at Central, the historic mining town owned and operated by the Keweenaw County Historical Society. We will explore the history and development of these ancient apple orchards, discuss and try to identify some varieties and learn how to care for them for the future.

Call 906-482-0160 or 906-289-4930 to request a brochure or visit the Gratiot Lake Conservancy website to download brochure and registration information.

Bergonzi Quartet to perform in Pine Mountain concerts June 22, 24, 25, 27

HANCOCK -- The Bergonzi String Quartet of Miami, Florida, is returning to the U.P. for the 15th year as part of Pine Mountain Music Festival’s season of classical and jazz music events. They will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. on June 27 at the Rozsa Center in Houghton. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Rozsa Center Box Office and at the door.

Members of the Bergonzi Quartet are, from left, Glenn Basham and Scott Flavin, violins; Ross Harbaugh, cello; and Pamela McConnell, viola. (Photo courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

This year the Bergonzi Quartet will be joined by clarinetist Margaret Donaghue Flavin for the playing of Brahms’s beautiful and haunting Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Opus 115. They will also perform Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14, called "Death and the Maiden," as well as several arrangements by Scott Flavin.*

The Bergonzi String Quartet hosts a free children’s concert at 1 p.m. on June 27 at Portage Lake District Library. Students of the Copper Country Suzuki Association will attend with their instruments, and audience members are invited to stay after the concert to see and talk about the instruments. The Bergonzi String Quartet will also perform at 7:30 p.m. this week in each of the following locations: on Monday, June 22, at Immaculate Conception Church in Iron Mountain; on Wednesday, June 24, at Reynolds Recital Hall in Marquette; and on Thursday, June 25, at Ely Memorial Church in Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin.

The Festival’s theme for the 2009 season is "Anything Goes," which is a good clue for how to enjoy the Bergonzi concerts. Peter Van Pelt, executive director of the Festival, has referred to "the exciting world of chamber music," and he says that the Bergonzi Quartet is responsible for this unusual characterization of chamber music.

The Bergonzi Quartet is a perennial favorite for many concert-goers, partly for their consummate professionalism and partly for their low-key, relaxed approach. The audience is as likely to get a good laugh as to get a thrill from the lovely music.

The Pine Mountain Music Festival presents a season of opera, classical and jazz music in June-July in the Dickinson County area, the Marquette area, the Keweenaw Peninsula and other towns in the Upper Peninsula and northeastern Wisconsin. Headquartered in Hancock, Michigan, it is supported by donations, ticket sales and grants. Visit the web at, or call 1-877-746-3999 for tickets or 888-309-7861 for more information.

* For more information about the Bergonzi Quartet, visit their Web site.