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Going on at The Phipps: Final performances of 'A Nice Family Gathering'; 'Christmas Carol' auditions

Final performances of 'A Nice Family Gathering'

"A Nice Family Gathering," a poignant comedy by Phil Olson, will be performed Friday, Sept. 21 and Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sunday, Sept. 23 at 2:30 p.m.

Minnesota nice has never been so nutty.

The Lundeen family is gathering for Thanksgiving dinner, the first reunion since Dad passed away. Dad decides to attend, but only his son Carl can see his ghost. Dad wants Carl to tell Mrs. Lundeen that he loved her, since he failed to do so while alive. Son Michael has his own problems with his wife Jill's infertility and overspending. Daughter Stacy, ignored by everyone, announces her family secret, which results in her finally receiving the attention for which she has longed. On top of everything else, Mom decides to invite a date to dinner, the neighbor Jerry, and Dad is beside himself.

An American Sign Language (ASL)-interpreted performance will be given on Sunday. Interested patrons should contact to make reservations.

Tickets are $26 for adults and $19 for students of any age, with a $2 discount for seniors on the Sunday matinees.

Champagne brunch cruise and theater packages are available for the Sunday matinee. Reservations may be made by contacting Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines at 651.436.8883 or online at

Encaustic effects with acrylics workshop

Encaustic Effects with Acrylics will be offered by Bonnie Cutts on Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The workshop is open to all levels of painting experience.

Participants will learn to create the wax-like look of encaustic painting with the durability of acrylics. Mimic the soft, luminous effects of beeswax by applying multiple layers of acrylic paints and gels layer upon layer. Cut and bury paper images and stenciled patterns deep below the surface and create soft translucent layers over them. Students will become familiar with encaustic-like wax formulas, explore a variety of applications, and create a whole new feeling in their artwork.

The workshop fee is $199. A materials list will be provided, and a $20 fee is payable to the instructor for supplemental materials provided.

'Tomie dePaola's Strega Nona'

"Tomie dePaola's Strega Nona," adapted for the stage by Thomas W. Olson, based on the books by dePaola, with music composed and orchestrated by Roberta Carlson, with additional orchestrations by Thomas Charles Speltz, will be performed by The Phipps Children's Theater Oct. 5-14 on Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., as well as Sundays at 2 p.m.

Directed by Lindsay Fitzgerald, this ensemble of area actors in grades 7-9 will bring the popular children's book to life.

Strega Nona, (Ella Thomsen, Oakdale), the beloved "Grandma Witch" of Calabria, needs help, so she hires the first person to apply, Big Anthony (Max Steiner, New Richmond), a tall, clumsy, new guy in town. Bambolona (Heather Derrick, Hudson), the Baker's (Riley Culver, River Falls) daughter, is tired of doing all the work at the bakery, so she leaves and convinces Strega Nona to teach her magic. Big Anthony wants to learn magic, too. When Strega Nona refuses to teach him, he gets mad and tries to learn it by eavesdropping. "'Be careful what you wish for' is the lesson in this entertaining musical," according to DC Theatre Scene.

Joining in the fun are a host of townspeople, including the Mayor (Conner Boorman, New Richmond), young Strega Nona (Ava Blackwell, Hudson), and Handsome Anthony (Jack Corbett, Stillwater). Additional townspeople and animals are played by Emma Hatch, Evy Johnson, Addison McCabe, Elli McCabe, and Dane Olson (Hudson), Malena Siskow (Houlton), Madelyn Evans (New Richmond), and Finn Rutledge (Stillwater).

Tickets are $14 for children and $19 for adults for this production in the Black Box Theater. Discounts are available by purchasing season tickets.

'Bah Humbug! Scrooge's Christmas Carol' auditions

Auditions for The Phipps Children's Theater production of "Bah, Humbug! Scrooge's Christmas Carol" will be held on Sunday, Oct. 7, from 5-8 p.m., and Monday, Oct. 8, from 6-9 p.m., Actors may schedule an audition time by going to Callbacks will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m.

This multigenerational production of Rebecca Ryland and Bill Francoeur's musical adaptation of Dickens' classic tale involving the curmudgeonly and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge includes traditional holiday classics and many new uplifting songs. Scrooge himself, of course, sings "Bah, Humbug!" Marley's Ghost chimes in with "Chains." Ebenezer's sister Fanny joins him in "One Last Christmas." "God Bless Us, Everyone!" proclaims the Cratchit family and the ever-hopeful Tiny Tim. The community then celebrates Scrooge's demise with "He's Dead and Buried," but all turns out well as Scrooge finally learns that "Life Was Meant to Live."

The production team is looking for boys and girls ages 9 to 16 and adult men and women ages 17 to 80. Families are welcome and encouraged to audition together. Those auditioning should bring a headshot, photo, or a school picture. Those auditioning should also bring a list of all conflicts they may have during the rehearsal period. Everyone will be asked to sing up to 32 measures of a favorite holiday song a cappella, read a scene or monologue from the script, and learn a short group movement routine.

The first read-through will be Friday or Saturday, Oct. 12 or 13, with rehearsals beginning Monday, Oct. 15. Rehearsals will be held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, from 6-9 p.m., with occasional Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays. There will be 12 performances given Nov. 30 to Dec. 16 on Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., as well a Sundays at 2 p.m.

Director John Kunik staged last season's production of "Once Upon a Mattress" at The Phipps and is excited to work with The Phipps Children's Theater. He has directed nearly 50 productions in the Twin Cities metro area and acted in nearly 100.

Ezelda Hasapopoulos has served as the music director for several Phipps productions, including the 2014 production of "Bah Humbug!," and the Woodbury Community Theatre. She has a bachelor's degree in music therapy and a master's degree in music education.

Choreographer Chris Adam worked with Kunik on "Once Upon a Mattress" and has performed at the center on many occasions. He instructs dance fitness classes at the YMCA in Hudson and on campus in River Falls.

Exhibition celebrating scenic riverway anniversary

"Heart of the River: Celebrating the First 50 Years of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway," a multi-part exhibition featuring photographs by Craig Blacklock, the premiere of a video game by Dave Beck, ceramics by 14 artists working in the St. Croix watershed presented in partnership with Northern Clay Center, and a juried show featuring work by 50 regional artists will be on view through Oct. 21.

A series of related programs includes "Once Upon a River," a performance with Dan Chouinard and Ann Reed, on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m.; a coffee talk with local author Marybeth Lorbiecki at St. Patrick Catholic Church on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 9:30 a.m.; "Different Voices: Shared Visions," a community forum panel discussion presented with River Channel, on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m.; a poetry reading with Lee Kisling on Friday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m.; and "Mni Sota Makoce: Land Where the Waters Reflect the Skies," a presentation by James Knutson Kolodzne, Director of the American Indian Center, St. Cloud State University, on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m.

Docent-led tours will be offered on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 6 p.m.; on Friday, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m.; and on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. To schedule a private group tour, call 715-386-2305.

Galleries hours are Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday noon to 4:30 p.m., as well as one hour before and through intermission of all performances in The Phipps theaters.

Ballroom dance parties

Ballroom dance parties are offered on the third Saturday of every month June-September, and the first and third Saturday of every month October-May, from 7 to 10 p.m. in the dance studio.

Tom Larson will offer a dance lesson during the first hour. The tango and cha cha will be taught July 21. The nightclub two-step and hustle will be featured Aug. 18. This is an opportunity to have fun trying out new dance skills in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Dancers of all experience levels are welcome. Admission is $12 per person.

Larson has taught at The Phipps since 2003 and owns the Ballroom and Wedding Dance Studio in Minneapolis. He performed for five seasons with The Continental Ballet Company.

Tai chi classes

Tai chi classes will continue on Thursdays, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Meeting the needs of both the beginning and experienced practitioner, this class offers the Yang style long form of tai chi chuan. Certified tai chi instructor Mark Tomlinson, with 14 years of experience, conducts the classes.

Punch-cards may be purchased for $100 per eight classes. Classes are ongoing and may be taken at any time. Students only pay for the classes they attend. To enroll, send the fee to The Phipps Center, 109 Locust Street, Hudson, WI 54016, call 715-386-2305 to register with any credit card, go online to, or stop by the center. A $5 processing fee will be charged for all mail, phone, or online registrations.

Learn to create artwork with iPhone or iPad

Four workshops using iPhones and iPads to create original art are being offered by Deb Dresler. These include App Sampler: Easy Painterly Apps on Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to noon; Digital Painting Art Set Pro on Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to noon; Photographic Safari on Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Digital Collage and Blends: Fantastical Houses on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No Android, Galaxy, or other devices will be used, and no experience is necessary.

Workshop fees range from $39 to $64, plus a $5 materials fee payable to the instructor and apps to be downloaded from the App store.

Healing power of art pastel workshop

Healing Power of Art, a pastel workshop for adults, will be offered on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The foundation of this workshop is the belief that artistic expression transforms lives and heals. Participants will begin by using the process of applying NuPastels and rubbing alcohol to create an "underpainting wash." They will then apply soft pastel over the top of this application to create a color vibration which brings a beauty and glow to the work. Throughout the process, students will be encouraged to be open and receptive to how painting taps their inner emotions and soul, allowing for moments of healing energy to do its work. Participants should bring a simple landscape photo that shows contrast of dark shadows and light as reference for their pastel drawing.

The class fee is $75, plus $10 payable to instructor for materials.

Experiencing clay class

Experiencing Clay Class, for students ages 14 through adult, will be held on three Tuesdays, Oct. 30 to Nov. 13, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Students will gain firsthand experience as they approach multiple facets of the ceramic-making process, including wheel-throwing, hand-building functional pottery, and creating sculptures in a variety of methods. The fee is $79, including clay, glazes, and firing. The class size is limited to nine.

In addition, all teens and adults enrolled in fall ceramics classes have access to the pottery studio on Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m., Fridays from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon when their class is in session. No instruction will be given during open studio.

Digital painting workshop

A one-day Digital Painting workshop for adults will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Using the Art Set Pro app, participants will paint over it using different tools and mediums. Included in the app are seven brush sizes, oil paint, oil pastel sticks, colored pencil, crayons, markers, conte crayons, paint markers, charcoal, a variety of pencils, and blending tools. The color palette includes 55 colors in different opacities and the ability to mix colors. A stylus is nice, but not required. No experience is needed. This class is best on an iPad for its size. Students should come with the ArtSetPro loaded. It can be purchased in the App Store for $6.99.

The class fee is $51, plus $5 payable to instructor for materials.

Private violin lessons

Private violin lessons for students ages seven through adult are offered throughout the year.

Instructor Sarah N. Bertsch has taught violin and coached ensembles for over 25 years. Previous positions include Northwestern College, Wooddale School of Music, Friendship School of Music, and Minnehaha Academy. She received her M.A. from St. John's University and her B.A. from St. Olaf College.

For further information on violin lessons, contact Bertsch at 715-381-5735.

Voice lessons

Tony Holt, a former member of the King's Singers, offers private voice lessons for ages 11 through adult on Thursdays.

Holt, a native Londoner, was a boy chorister at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. He was a choir member of Christ Church, Oxford, as well as Chichester Cathedral and St. Paul's Cathedral. Holt was then a soloist and chorus member of the Monteverdi Choir and the BBC Singers. For 18 years he toured and recorded as first baritone with the King's Singers.

The fee is $30 per 30-minute lesson.

Private flute and piano lessons

Private flute and piano instruction for ages five through adults is available on Fridays.

Sue Christian, a K-12 music education graduate of Luther College, has taught privately since she was 16. One of her favorite teaching opportunities is that of the Hudson Middle School Band Camp, at which she works with budding young flutists.

A member of the Wisconsin Music Teachers' Association, she is involved locally with the St. Croix Music Teachers Association, offering piano performance opportunities to students of all ages. Also a member of the Upper Midwest Flute Association, Christian has tutored students who have won competitions in both organizations. One of her former flute students, as a sophomore in high school, earned the prestigious opportunity to perform in the top 12 for a national competition to solo with the Air Force Band. This student went on to pursue a career in flute performance at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Christian also has extensive experience in accompanying soloists and ensembles as a collaborating pianist in college-level recitals as well as festivals in area schools. In addition, she accompanied The Phipps Festival Chorus and The Phipps Oratorio Society for numerous years.

Birthday parties

Parents are encouraged to celebrate their child's birthday at The Phipps Center for the Arts.

Your child and guests will work with clay to create bowls, cups, and small sculptures. Children ages 7 and older will have a chance on the pottery wheel, too. The pottery will be ready to pick up within two weeks after the party.

The party fee is $218 for up to 9 participants, $24 for each additional participant. The fee includes all materials and clean-up, one to two hours of working the Ceramics Studio, one hour for snacks and gift opening, plus a behind-the-scenes tour of The Phipps (theater production schedule permitting).

To schedule a Ceramics Studio birthday party, contact Anastasia Shartin, 715-386-2305, ext. 103 or


The Western Wisconsin Photography Club meets the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. The club also schedules mid-month meetings to accommodate speaker's schedules and for hands-on learning opportunities. Photographers of all ages and abilities are welcome. For more details about upcoming programs and events visit

Healing arts at Hudson Hospital and Westfields

Current artists on view at Hudson Hospital and Clinic are Gloria Adrian, Cathy Durso and Jinjer Markley, Linda Ricklefs Baudry, Elliesha Klingberg, Elynn Lepel, Natalie McGuire, Western Wisconsin Photography, Christy Dickinson, Hudson Hospital & Clinic Staff and Volunteer Exhibit.

Artwork can be viewed during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Maps are available at both information desks to help find artists' work.

Current artists on view at Westfields Hospital and Clinic are Laura Burlis, Rachel Cain, Ernest Gillman, Urban Landreman, Western Wisconsin Photography Club and Sylvia Benson. Artwork can be viewed during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.