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What's going on at The Phipps? Davina & the Vagabonds

Davina and the Vagabonds

Davina and the Vagabonds will perform in concert on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.

Since exploding onto the scene in 2005, Davina and the Vagabonds have grown from a down-and-dirty blues band into one of the most exciting acoustic ensembles on the international stage.

Their shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages. Davina's voice and stage presence defy category. She has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday, and Betty Boop, but "Davina Sowers is a one-of-a-kind performer," according to Downbeat magazine.

This high-energy quintet has performed in 45 states, two Canadian provinces, and 12 European countries. The band has performed at festivals in Thunder Bay, Ontario; Sighisoara, Romania; Sierre, Switzerland; and Kemi, Finland; as well as the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the 2013 and 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival, Vache de Blues in France, and North Sea Jazz Festival.

To see videos as well as find more information, go to davinaandthevagabonds.com.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $18 for students of all ages. Discounts are also available by purchasing season tickets.

'84, Charing Cross Road' auditions Oct. 20, 21

Auditions for "84, Charing Cross Road," by Helene Hanff, adapted for the stage by James Roose-Evans, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 21, 1-4 p.m. Callbacks, if needed, will be arranged by auditionees and the director.

"84, Charing Cross Road" is a charming, bittersweet comedy based on the extraordinary true story of the remarkable relationship that developed between a vivacious New York writer and a London antiquarian bookseller. The soulmates' relationship, portrayed over the course of 20 years, 1949-1969, is built upon their mutual appreciation of the writings of revered thinkers and artists within the annals of humankind.

Mary Cutler, the director of The Phipps' productions of "A Murder is Announced" and "Making God Laugh," is looking for actors suited to the roles listed:

Helene is a true New Yorker, working author, and an aficionada/collector of classical literature. Frank is a quite proper Londoner and chief bookseller at Marks & Co. The roles of Helene and Frank are an acting challenge, requiring experienced performers who can play ages 40-60, with good ears for accents, resilience in line learning, and the ability to connect in an acting relationship without ever seeing the eyes of their partner.

Also needed are four supporting women: Cecily, Megan, Maxine and Joan; and three supporting men: George, William and Thomas, the staff of Marks & Co., who may be played by younger and older actors. These characters can be actors of any experience level, require an English accent, and must enjoy lots of "coming-and-going" acting work in portraying 20 years of story time.

Actors may schedule an audition time by going to ThePhipps.org. Auditionees will read from the script, which will be available one-half hour before auditions begin. Actors should bring a resume and headshot, if available, and identify their rehearsal conflicts.

Rehearsals will start early in order to take generous holiday breaks. Rehearsals are planned on Monday through Thursday evenings, in addition to either Friday evenings or Saturday mornings, depending upon cast preference, beginning Nov. 5. Nine performances will be given Jan. 18 to Feb. 3 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 2 p.m. in the Black Box Theater.

'Sister Act' is coming

"I've been hearing 'shut up and sit down' since first grade at St. Mary's. Twelve whole years of those nasty ol' nuns saying what I can't be." When she utters these words, aspiring disco diva Deloris Van Cartier has no idea that soon she will be hiding in a cloistered convent, posing as a nun, fearing for her life, and that the sisters there will become some of her most cherished friends.

This is the story behind the musical comedy "Sister Act," which will be presented Nov. 2-25 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 2 p.m. It features music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, the book by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner, and additional book material by Douglas Carter Beane. It is based on the popular Touchstone Pictures motion picture by the same name, written by Joseph Howard.

It is 1977 in Philadelphia, and almost Christmas, but things are not going well for Deloris. Her mobster boyfriend Curtis has been promising to give her the spotlight singing in his club, but he just keeps stringing her along. When she witnesses Curtis commit a murder, her own life is in danger. She flees into the witness protection program. Police officer and her former friend, Eddie, has the brilliant idea of hiding her in a cloistered convent, disguised as Sister Mary Clarence. She immediately clashes with Mother Superior, who does indeed try to tell Deloris/Sister Mary Clarence what she can and cannot do while hiding in the convent.

Deloris is like a habit-wearing fish out of water — and she's encouraging some of the real nuns to leap out of the water with her. To keep her out of trouble, Mother Superior assigns her to work with the nun's choir. It is here that Deloris finds a true calling as she helps the nuns discover their own voices. The choir undergoes a dramatic makeover that draws crowds and attention to their musical skill and innovation. Unfortunately, all the publicity blows Deloris's cover as Sister Mary Clarence and puts her life at risk. But it is "those nasty ol' nuns," including her former nemesis Mother Superior, who come to her rescue, proving that the power of sisterhood and caring for each other can save the day.

Filled to overflowing with music, dance, comedy, compassion, lots of nuns, a few thugs, one monsignor, a couple of altar boys, a handful of fantasy dancers, and even a drag queen, "Sister Act" is an entertainment powerhouse.

Tickets are $27 for adults and $20 for students of any age, with a $2 discount for seniors on the Sunday matinees.

Core and flexibility class

Core and Flexibility, for ages 13 and older, will be offered for eight weeks, Oct. 23 to Dec. 18, 5:20-6:05 p.m., with no class on Nov. 20.

This class will focus on improving core strength and range of movement. It will begin with a warm-up to raise body temperature. Body sculpture will include the shoulder girdle; front, sides, and back of the torso; hips; thighs; and glutes. The class will finish with stretches and movements to increase range of motion. The purpose of this class is to enrich daily activities with ease of movement, balance, and strength. All body types are welcome. The fee is $65. Participants should bring a mat and wear comfortable, stretchy clothing.

Instructor Pat Graf has certifications from MOSSA in Group Core and Group Active. She is also certified in related courses, including Zumba, Silver Sneakers Classic, circuit, yoga, cardio, and Moving for Better Balance. She will be obtaining a certification in Mat Pilates this fall.

Experiencing class class for ages 14-adult

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

iPhone/iPad photography workshops

Three digital media workshops, "iPhone/iPad Photographic Safari," "Digital Painting Art Set Pro," and "Digital Collage and Blends: Fantastical Houses" will be offered. Only IOS Apple will be used; no Android, Galaxy, etc.

In the Photographic Safari workshop, offered on Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., participants will learn tips and tricks of using the camera on their iPhone or iPad, including better composition, tuning an image, cropping, filters, frames, the most useful photography apps, and more. The class will take photos either outside or in the studio with still life setups, and then use the editing app Snapseed. This is the "go to app" for most photographers and it is free. Participants should bring their device with Snapseed downloaded onto it from the App Store. The workshop fee is $64, plus a $5 materials fee payable to the instructor.

In the Digital Painting workshop, to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to noon, participants will use the Art Set Pro app. Students will paint over photographs 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. Participants should come with the ArtSetPro loaded. It can be purchased in the App Store for $6.99. The workshop fee is $51, plus a $5 materials fee payable to the instructor.

In the Digital Collage workshop, which will be on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., participants will use three apps to edit and enhance images of houses using a digital collage technique. This workshop is for students with a good working knowledge of their iPad. Some experience with Snapseed and other image-enhancing apps is very helpful for this project. Textures and layering will be used to get results that are fantastical and fun. An email will be sent to students prior to the class start date with app download information. The workshop fee is $51, plus a $5 materials fee payable to the instructor.

Instructor Debra Dresler, a St. Croix Valley native, has a rich career in the arts beginning as a studio portrait photographer. She then owned a nationally marketed hand-painted fabric company specializing in acrylic painting and surface design for interior designers. Stroke Of Art studio was founded in 1986 where she designed and marketed art in many mediums, including jewelry making, silversmithing, mixed media sculpture, iPhoneography, alcohol ink and acrylic painting, and most recently digital art making. She has also been an instructor in calligraphy, jewelry making, painting, and photography. She believes everyone is a creator and encourages wild abandon and adventures in all forms of art making.

Alcohol ink ornaments class

Create colorful, one-of-a-kind glass ornaments using alcohol ink. This fun class for adults will be offered three times, on Saturday, November 10, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.; Monday, Nov. 12, from 6-8 p.m.; and Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 6-8 p.m. No experience is required, and these projects make one-of-a-kind gifts or holiday décor.

Instructor Debra Dresler, a St. Croix Valley native, has a rich career in the arts beginning as a studio portrait photographer. She then owned a nationally marketed hand-painted fabric company specializing in acrylic painting and surface design for Interior Designers. Stroke Of Art studio was founded in 1986 where she designed and marketed art in many mediums, including jewelry making, silversmithing, mixed media sculpture, iPhoneography, alcohol ink and acrylic painting, and most recently digital art making. She has also been an instructor in calligraphy, jewelry making, painting, and photography. She believes everyone is a creator and encourages wild abandon and adventures in all forms of art making.

The class fee is $39, plus $14 payable to instructor for materials. Each participant will paint four glass ornaments.

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.

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.

Tai chi classes

Tai chi classes will continue on Thursdays, from 9:30-11:30 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 ThePhipps.org, or stop by the center. A $5 processing fee will be charged for all mail, phone, or online registrations.

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.

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 ashartin@thephipps.org.

Photography

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 www.wiphotoclub.com.

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.

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