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Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Many Waters" to be theme at 5th Annual Omega House Benefit Recital July 26

HANCOCK -- The 5th Annual Omega House Benefit Recital of mostly vocal music will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock. This year’s theme is "Many Waters" -- Songs of Seas, Lakes, Streams, and Fountains.

"Heed the call to go the sea: feel the moist sand between your toes, taste the salty breeze, go fishing or harvest kelp near the shore, sail far away, feel the rising waves, plunge through the storm’s crashing waves, wait hopelessly at the shore for your loved one’s return," says Ruth Robertson, recital coordinator. "Or not… sit instead by a still Loch Lomand, or the Rosenlagen or Keweenaw Bay, watching twinkling harbour lights."

Ruth Robertson, recital coordinator and mezzo-soprano, presents performers during the 2010 Omega House Benefit Recital. (Keweenaw Now 2010 file photo)

New this year is jazz guitarist Steve Jones, who will join baritone Mark Oliver in a medley of River Songs, including such favorites as "Up the Lazy River," "Moon River," and "Old Man River." Jones and saxophonist Paul Keranen will play a jazz set with "Cry Me a River," "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and "Soul Eyes." Also in the jazz style will be torch singer Karin B. Schlenker singing "Stormy Weather."

Torch singer Karin Schlenker performs at the 2010 Omega House Benefit Recital at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock. This year Schlenker will sing "Stormy Weather." (Keweenaw Now 2010 file photo)

Also new this year is a segment of audience sing-along songs led by David Owens: "Harbour Lights," "Keweenaw Light," and the series theme song, "Summertime," with a new alternative text.

Folk music reigns supreme this year with three songs in French, three in German, one each in Swedish and Spanish. Translations of the texts are in the printed program so people can follow along. Even the classical songs are, for the most part, settings of folk tunes including a section of haunting chanties and other songs by British composers.

Returning vocalists are basses Jeff Massey and Barry Pegg; Ann and Greg Campbell; Sopranos Patricia Helsel, Katie Zutter; mezzo-soprano Ruth Robertson and tenors Bill Francis and Robert Suits of Houghton and Jacob Laitenen from Marquette .

New vocalists this year are contralto Barbara Lide singing a rollicking Swedish waltz, tenors Nathan Held and Nick Bohmann, and soprano Courtney Clisch.

Also new this year will be David Bezotte’s group, the Maple Sugar Folk, singing French water songs: "Partons, la mer est belle!" -- an Acadian folk tune; "Santa Maria de la mer" by Christian Bruhn; and "Youpe, Youpe! sur la rivière." Maple Sugar Folk singers include Amanda Binoniemi, Evan Dixon, Marcia Goodrich, Barbara Lide, Ralph Horvath, Barry Pegg, Ruth Robertson, Karin B. Schlenker and Jan Wieber.

Maple Sugar Folk perform French songs during a 2009 performance at the Calumet Heritage Center at St. Anne's. This year they will sing French water songs during the July 26 Omega House Benefit Recital at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock. (Keweenaw Now 2009 file photo)

Accompanists include Susan Byykkonen, principal piano accompanist; Susan Rokicki, piano accompanist; Ruth Robertson, piano and guitar accompanist; and David Owens, sing-along leader.

A donation of $5 or more is suggested. All proceeds will benefit Omega House, the Keweenaw's only hospice care facility.

For more information call Ruth Robertson, recital coordinator, at 573-761-1433 or Omega House at 906-482-4438.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (ELCA) is at 1000 W. Quincy St. in Hancock.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Walk of the Drum completed at Eagle Mine site

By Cynthia Pryor*

The Ceremonial Walk of the Drum is completed and it is Done.

More than 50 people arrived on a blistering hot day of 90s (July 17, 2011) to make the Trek around the Eagle Mine site three times -- 12 hot, dusty, trudgy miles.

Drummers drummed for six hours as people made their way around the mine site. Drummed and were tormented by flies of all kinds and drummed on without stopping.


About seven of those people made it physically around three times and many, many more contributed to the three times around with their efforts! A special nod to the indomitable Laura Gauger, who was the only woman to physically walk the three times around the site.

Our gratitude and humble thanks to Tom Verboczki, a native man from the Madosh family. He and his wife Michelle and their friend Gerriann traveled from Gwinn believing in the dream that prompted this walk. He, especially, believes in the power in dreams and wanted to be the man that would bring this one to fruition. His humility, spiritual strength and belief galvanized him around the site to be the first to complete the three counter-clockwise circles around the Eagle Mine. . . . and the people passed from one drum to the next and it was done.

A special heartfelt thanks to Richard Sloat, Catherine Parker, John Jungworth and Bob B., who also heard and believed. Their work in the logistics of making this dream a reality was without peer.

To all who helped with tents, drum shelters, water and other support items -- my personal thanks. To those who traveled from Wisconsin and Minnesota to support us -- WOW.

To Bob, whose dream this was, and whose belief in it made this all possible -- we all owe him our appreciation.

The point of this counter-clockwise walk, as it was explained to us by Native elders, is an un-doing, a healing and a cleansing. It was important and needed to happen. The people who came together for this effort were of all peoples -- as the dream indicated. Human beings believing that we can make a difference -- no matter the politics, cultural differences or belief systems.

As one person said -- if we go forward pure of heart and with good intentions, what we do is the best we know how to do to stop this mine. Yes.

We humbly thank all who strive, in all of the many and various ways this can be done, to stop this mine on the Yellow Dog Plains.

* Guest writer Cynthia Pryor is the Sulfide Mining Campaign Director for the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.

Jens T. Carstensen "Love of the U.P." paintings at Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery through Aug. 14

MICHIGAMME -- "Love of the U.P." -- an exhibit of new paintings by Jens T. Carstensen -- continues through Aug. 14, 2011, at the Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery, 136 E. Main, in Michigamme.

Jens T. Carstensen: "River Hamlet." Oil Painting. (Photo courtesy Michigamme Moonshine Gallery)

A landscape painter needs to feel a connection to the places he paints. Fortunately the U.P. provides just such inspiration for Jens Carstensen.

Noting the striking resemblance of our area to his native Denmark, he says, "The Upper Peninsula makes me nostalgic for the places of my childhood."

The painter and his wife, Cathy Karr, make visiting the U.P. a top priority every year.

"The U.P. is a great place to paint," Carstensen explains. "I love the quiet, longer days of summer that give me plenty of daylight for painting."

Carstensen produces some of his finest landscapes paintings of the U.P. during his frequent Artist in Residence stays in Michigamme. The artist is confident that viewers will enjoy his new creations.

"It’s great to come back to a place where you feel at home. Returning to the Upper Peninsula stimulates my desire to paint and provides me with fresh material. I wish I could be here all the time." Carstensen notes.

Call 906-323-6546 for more information.

Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks to host public events July 23-24

CALUMET -- The Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association (IRKPA) invites the public to their annual meeting events this weekend, July 23-24. Some events require advance registration or ticket purchase. Here is the schedule:

Becoming Wilderness: Nature, History, and the Making of Isle Royale National Park. Author Amalia Baldwin debuts IRKPA’s latest book, on the little-known backstory of the two-decade effort to make Isle Royale America’s first wilderness national park -- 2 p.m, Saturday, July 23, Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne’s, Scott and 5th Streets, Calumet.

Free presentation with book signing to follow. (Books $12.95 or $11.65 with IRKPA member discount plus tax.)

Through the 3D Looking Glass: A Stereoscopic Tour of Lake Superior, Isle Royale, and the Keweenaw, 1860s-early 1900s -- 7 p.m., Saturday, July 23, Calumet Theatre. Add a dimension and subtract a century or so as Jack Deo presents more than 200 stereo-view images (many new since last year), starting with the 1868 University of Michigan Foote Expedition, on the historic Calumet Theatre’s big screen. 3D glasses provided. Fundraiser for the Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association.

Sponsors: Book Concern Printers, College Avenue Vision Clinic, Cranking Graphics, 5th and Elm Coffee House, and Michigan Tech's Industrial Archaeology Program. Tickets $15 ($10 IRKPA members, seniors, students; $7 children under 13; free for children under three; $35 household up to four people). For tickets call 906-337-2610 Mon.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. or email

Cliff Mine Archaeological Site Guided Tour: 1-4 p.m., Sunday, July 24. Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association hosts a narrated trolley ride from Calumet to the Cliff Mine with Drs. Tim Scarlett and Susan Martin of Michigan Tech's Department of Social Sciences and Red Jacket Trolley’s Wil Shapton painting the bigger picture of copper mining on Isle Royale and the Keweenaw. Limited space, advance registration, $10. For more information email or call 906-482-3627.

The Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association is the nonprofit cooperating association that partners with Isle Royale National Park and Keweenaw National Historical Park to support their educational, historical, interpretive, and scientific missions. IRKPA provides high-quality educational products and programs to enhance the understanding, appreciation, and protection of the parks and their natural and cultural resources; financial support to the parks for research and interpretation; and outreach activities to increase public participation and promote partnerships with communities and organizations.

Updated: Recall Rick Snyder petition signing events to be July 22, 27

HOUGHTON -- Volunteers for the Recall Governor Rick Snyder Petition Campaign will be at Veterans' Park in Houghton from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. this Friday, July 22.

Weather permitting, they will also be on the sidewalk next to Sharon Ave in Houghton near Econo and Shopko from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, July 27.

Any citizen of Michigan can sign the petition. It is not necessary to be a resident of Houghton County.

Editor's Note: See our July 1, 2011, article on the Recall Rick Snyder petition signings in the local area, along with recent readers' comments. Feel free to join the discussion and post a comment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Portage Library to hold music, storytime programs

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to bring a lunch and enjoy "Music on the Menu," an outdoor series of events held on the dock outside the library.

"Trio Bibliothèque" will perform from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, July 22. Libby Meyer on fiddle, Anna Gawboy on concertina, and Oren Tikkanen on guitar will play a lively eclectic mix of folk music and other genres.

Everyone is invited to eat, relax, and enjoy the lunch hour while listening to some great music. In the event of bad weather, the program will be held in the community room.

This event is part of the library’s Summer Reading Program and is free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Graduates of Storytime to present Storytime at Portage Library July 23

Three graduates of Storytime will present a Storytime program for young children at the Portage Lake District Library.

Jack, Lily, and Henry Ashburn will present "The Dog Days of Summer" from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, July 23. The Ashburn children will read stories about dogs and lead a craft project that participants will make and take home.

Graduates of Storytime are children who participated in library Storytimes when they were young and now know how to read. They plan every aspect of their Storytime program including the theme, books they will read, and the activity for kids to do. All materials are supplied by the library, and all graduates of Storytime are invited to plan their own event. Contact Chris Alquist at the library for more information.

All library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Please note: The Portage Lake District Libary will be closed from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, July 25, for staff training. Regular hours will resume at 5 p.m.

Lindsay Tomasic and Jesse Fitzpatrick to perform July 26

Fans of singer/songwriters Lindsay Tomasic and Jesse Fitzpatrick will be treated to another great concert when the duo performs at the Portage Lake District Library at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26.

Copper Country natives, Lindsay and Jesse of their band TREES have been crafting songs and creating fine acoustic music since the early 1970s. The earthy sound of TREES created a buzz that has now spanned over three decades and just keeps getting better with time. Their intricately woven vocal harmonies coupled with exquisite acoustic production continue to please audiences year after year.

TREES will perform in a variety of shows this summer including two days at the Hiawatha Music Festival in Marquette, Mich. Their 2010 CD release "One Voice" is currently available at

Library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Before curtain call for opera "Rockland" Premiere ...

By Michele Bourdieu

HOUGHTON -- Keweenaw Now caught some of the action at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts in Houghton just before the curtain call for the Pine Mountain Music Festival's New World Premiere of the opera Rockland on Friday, July 15, 2011.

As a crowd gathers in the lobby of Michigan Tech's Rozsa Center, a small orchestra provides a musical preview for the Pine Mountain Music Festival production of the opera Rockland on July 15, 2011. Covering the windows are cloth panels of artist Mary Wright's "Story Line" exhibit -- a community art and history project featuring stories of ancestors who, like the striking Finnish miners in the opera, faced adversity. (Video clip by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Waiting for the opera to begin last Friday, community artist Mary Wright gives her "thumbs up" gesture in celebration of her "Story Line" project. Wright collected more than 7000 submissions of stories from schools and communities in the central and Western Upper Peninsula. The stories and photos are printed on cloth panels covering the windows of the Rozsa lobby and also hung outside on the Michigan Tech campus. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)*

Ann Pace of Hancock, musician and Pine Mountain Festival volunteer usher, offers festival tee-shirts for sale in the Rozsa Lobby before the curtain call for the July 15 New World Premiere of the opera Rockland. (Photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Outside the Rozsa Center, Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) offered media a few minutes of interviews before the July 15th Rockland performance. Here he is speaking with a reporter from Marquette's WLUC-TV6 concerning the deficit problem and the beginning of troop reductions in Afghanistan. In addition to attending the opera, Levin explained, he was also in town to meet with National Park Service officials. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

With just minutes to go before the curtain call, Senator Levin tells Keweenaw Now Editor Michele Bourdieu he is familiar with the story of the opera, based on a 1906 miners' strike in Rockland, Michigan; but he contrasts Upper Peninsula mining during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with the present and potential mines in the UP today. Levin said there should be mining in the UP if it's done properly: "It's a totally different world now than it was 100 or 150 years ago when people didn't care about the environment," Levin noted. "There are now environmental protections, so if there's mining it has to be done in a way which is environmentally approved. So long as it's done environmentally correctly, as far as I'm concerned it's appropriate that it be done. If it's going to disrupt the environment or spoil the environment, obviously it shouldn't be done. But we've got agencies now which protect our environment, and we are properly relying on those agencies." (Photo by Alan Baker)

*Editor's Note: Click here for more about the "Story Line" project.