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'Mr. Jack' and friends to close Cabaret Nights season

It's not often that a performer gets the chance to both open and close a performance series -- but that's exactly what this musical duo from Detroit Lakes is being asked to do.

Mr. Jack (aka John Hutchin-son) and Bill "Jazz Sticks" Mohn will return to the Historic Holmes Theatre's Holmes Ballroom Thursday for the final performance of this season's Cabaret Nights series.

Hutchinson -- "Mr. Jack," as he prefers to be known professionally -- has over 25 years of performance experience, including nine years with the SkyBlues Band, four years with a rockabilly-blues-surf music duo known as "Off the Cuff," and most recently, with Fargo's Warped Melon Blues Band. When not performing, he works at Precision Printing in Detroit Lakes.

Mohn, Mr. Jack's longtime friend and fellow musician, has performed in a wide variety of musical situations both in the Twin Cities and here in his hometown of Detroit Lakes. Although the drummer has played almost every style of music that includes percussion, his greatest musical love is for jazz, which definitely carries over into his personal style of performing.

Back in November, this same duo launched the 2005-06 Cabaret Night season with an evening of jazzy blues cover songs intermingled with their own original tunes. This Thursday, expect more of the same -- but with a twist.

"We're bringing in some special guests," Hutchinson says. "I've got some guests from the area that a lot of people probably don't even know can play guitar."

One of those guests, however, is a talent particularly well known to Hutchinson -- his oldest daughter, Jennifer, will be joining him on stage.

"We haven't played together before," he reveals. "I'm going to do a couple of songs with her."

Jennifer, who has been playing guitar for just three years, has already shown quite a lot of promise, writing much of her own material, Hutchinson adds. A Detroit Lakes High School graduate, she is currently studying art and music at the University of North Dakota. In addition to performing with her father, she will also have the opportunity to sing some of her own compositions.

Also joining Hutchinson and Mohn on stage will be Stephen J. -- aka Steve Johnson -- a lifelong Detroit Lakes resident who works at Snappy's and has been performing in bands all his adult life. He is also a founding member of the SkyBlues Band, as are Hutchinson and Mohn (Michael Walther is the other founding member), and he still performs with that group.

Another guest performer, Joe Wambach, has been playing his guitar for years and is very fluent in the blues, surf and rock musical styles, which he will showcase at Thursday's show. He is a longtime resident of Detroit Lakes, along with his wife Linda, and works as a mechanic specialist at Norseman Motors, Inc.

The youngest of Thursday's guest performers will be 12-year-old Carrie Sorensen, daughter of Sue and Jay Sorensen of Detroit Lakes. Carrie has only been playing guitar for a couple of years and is already starting to write her own material.

"We've got a lot of variety," Hutchinson says. "There's going to be a lot of blues, because that's where I come from musically. But what you'll also get is a variety of things going on, showcasing some area talent that people maybe don't know exists.

"I've spent about two months planning this, literally putting it all together -- who I'm going to ask, what kind of set list it will be ... I've got it pretty well planned out. It will still be primarily in the blues genre, but there will be some different things there too."

Thursday's performance runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Holmes Ballroom. There is a $5 cover charge and a cash bar; appetizers will be served at the tables. Call 218-844-SHOW (7469) for more info.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454