Art Hounds®

Art Hounds: Bach on the road, BALLS Cabaret and ‘When Doves Choir’

Matthias Maute
Conductor Matthias Maute of the Bach Society of Minnesota.
Courtesy of Bill Blackstone

From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what’s exciting in local art. Their recommendations are lightly edited from the audio heard in the player above. 

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Bach on the road

Visual artist Tani Hemmila of Minneapolis recommends the Bach Society of Minnesota’s Mini-Mobile Concerts, now available year-round at pop-up locations around the state.

Tani says: I’m a visual artist. I paint and draw mostly faces, birds and places. 

In the early pandemic, I was home — as we often were then — and working in my basement. I came upstairs and I heard this beautiful music streaming into the living room.

I followed it up the door, and just down the street from me, in front of the community center, was this beautiful oboe music and oboist I found out later, Brendon Bushman.

There were different knots of people gathered around, spaced out, who had stopped on their walks with strollers and kids to listen. And I don’t think I was the only one that had tears that day.

I hadn’t realized how parched I was for live music and live arts, and as an artist myself that is an important, important fuel for me both in art and life. 

Since the pandemic, the mini-mobile concerts that the Bach Society of Minnesota has been putting on have grown, and they’re now even doing them year-round.

Brendan Bushman will be in St. Cloud on Friday, four different places at four different times. And that’s the nature of these concerts. The artists performs for 20 minutes at one place and moves on to several others in the area that same afternoon.

Also on Friday, there’s a performance in Stillwater, you can find the schedule on Minnesota Bach Society’s website. (Editor’s note: there are also performances Saturday in St. Paul.)

— Tani Hemmila

A cabaret returns

Sarah Heller recommends BALLS Cabaret, every Sunday at 2 p.m. at Strike Theater in Minneapolis. 

Sarah says: I am a longtime theater artist and musician. I live in Minneapolis. BALLS Cabaret was the longest-running weekly midnight cabaret in recorded human history, as far as we ever knew. It ran for 29 years.

That was the place everybody went. And by everybody, I mean musicians, any kind of performance artists, dancers, poets, stand-up comedians, magicians. That’s where everybody went to try out their new material.

It was really kind of the beating heart of the performance art scene in Minneapolis for a long, long time. And when we lost it to COVID, I missed it a lot. But now it’s back.

It’s no longer at midnight at the Southern Theater as it was for many years. It’s now two o’clock in the afternoon at Strike Theater in northeast Minneapolis in the Arts District.

I have been in the new location as both an audience member and a performer. And the thing that matters to me is it feels the same BALLS today feels that the way it felt 10-15-20 years ago — and that’s incredible.

If you are hearing this and you are an artist looking for a place to try something, especially something you’ve never tried before, then I think you should come join us at BALLS Cabaret.

— Sarah Heller

 I would sing 4 u

Tashia Weisenburger Pomroy of Burnsville recommends Choir! Choir! Choir! June 1 at First Avenue.

Tashia says: Choir! Choir! Choir! is this amazing experience that where two people come and teach a crowd full of people to sing songs and to harmonize.

They say you don’t have to be a great singer, you can just show up, have a love to sing. And they’ll make you sound like a beautiful choir. They’re going to be performing and teaching the audience to sing Prince songs. So they’re calling it “When Doves Choir.” 

Choir! Choir! Choir! has sung Prince’s songs in the past in other parts of Canada and the United States. And every time they post this to their Facebook page, you can see all the Minnesotans coming out and saying “You should be in Minnesota doing this.”

And this time, they’ve partnered with Paisley Park, and they’re specifically coming to First Avenue because it’s so iconic for Prince.  

— Tashia Weisenburger

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment's Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.
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