Event offers good music, local roots
“Giving people the music they want, but might not know they want, because they haven’t heard of it yet.”
That, in a nutshell, is what the Caravan du Nord is all about, according to Ellen Stanley, executive director of the Minnesota Music Coalition, which sponsors the annual tour featuring some of the state’s best and brightest up and coming bands.
The tour will be making its third annual stop in Detroit Lakes this Friday, Nov. 15 for a 7 p.m. concert featuring Billboard-charting indie/folk group The Pines, Minneapolis-based rock band Van Stee and Detroit Lakes native Cecilia Erholtz, formerly of Chants & Seas.
What makes the Caravan du Nord so unique, Stanley said, is that each of its stops features different music acts — tailored specifically to the community where the venue is located.
“The main reason (for scheduling different acts at each location) is that there’s so much music that’s happening in the state, and we want to expose more great bands to more people,” Stanley said. “We also want to make it unique and tailor it to each town.”
For that reason, the opening act at each tour stop is typically a local artist, chosen by the staff of the venue where the bands will be appearing.
In the case of the Historic Holmes Theatre, the local act that was chosen was former Detroit Lakes resident and DLHS alumni Cecelia Erholtz, who will be bringing her three-piece band along with her.
Though she has been performing as a professional singer, songwriter and musician for a couple of years now, music wasn’t always her first career choice, according to Erholtz.
“I didn’t pick up (playing) guitar until I was 17 years old,” she said during a Monday afternoon interview. “I was committed to dance. I did that for 15 years.”
But Erholtz discovered a passion for writing and performing her own music when she was a junior in high school, and since then, has been pursuing that passion with gusto.
“My dad taught me John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’ on guitar, that was one of the first songs I learned,” she said. “From there, I just started looking online for new chords to learn.”
Erholtz started hanging out and jamming with some other musicians in town, and played a few gigs at Zorbaz and the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes, even before graduating high school.
She also interned at the Holmes Theatre one summer, which is how she became acquainted with its executive director, Amy Stoller Stearns.
After graduating, Erholtz went on to enroll at Columbia University in Chicago, where she spent a semester before being forced to drop out “for personal reasons,” she said.
“I moved back to Minneapolis and started doing some solo shows around the area before I formed my first band,” she said.
That band was Chants & Seas. Though she no longer performs with them, Erholtz recently formed a new group that she will be bringing to Detroit Lakes with her.
“I would love to be a full-time musician,” she said — but she has also returned to school, attending classes at the University of Minnesota.
Erholtz writes and performs her own music, with a four-piece band (including herself) that can play anything from acoustic to rock. She describes her music as having “a more alternative, progressive folk based sound.”
She said she’s been looking forward to Friday night’s concert “for about five or six months now,” since she was first approached about participating.
In addition to the concert, Erholtz will also be taking part in a free artist workshop that afternoon, “Marketing Your Music: Easy Steps to Grow Fans & Promote Shows,” which will also feature other musicians from Caravan du Nord as well as music industry professionals from the area. That workshop begins at 1 p.m.
It will be followed by a 2 p.m. question and answer session with musicians from The Pines, and a 3 p.m. social hour. All three events will be held at La Barista inside the Washington Square Mall, and are free and open to the public.
Tickets for Friday night’s 7 p.m. concert are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and may be purchased at the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office, 826 Summit Ave., on line at www.dlccc.org, or by phone at 218-844-7469.
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.