'Small Town Christmas' concert Thursday in NYM

NEW YORK MILLS - The Cultural Center in New York Mills is proud to present "Simple Gifts with Billy McLaughlin: A Small Town Christmas," this Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

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This performance, held at the Cultural Center in New York Mills, will be an unplugged and shorter version of their 2018 holiday tour, putting community celebration ahead of commercialization and pulling the audience into the sublime side of traditional repertoire in a truly meaningful Christmas event.

Expect modern arrangements with an "old world" feel, highlighting McLaughlin's signature acoustic guitar, angelic three-part harmony vocals, bagpipes, Celtic whistles, violin, piano and tasty atmospheric percussion.

Simple Gifts makes musical magic by bringing a modern flair to traditional Christmas carols and hymns. Billy McLaughlin, an American original and well-known international performing and recording artist who has achieved Billboard's Top-Ten Chart, is known for his harp-like guitar playing technique he calls "finger tapping."

Several years ago, Billy came to embody every musician's greatest fear: the award-winning guitar virtuoso began struggling to play his own music. Searching in vain through countless therapies for an answer to his problem, he was finally diagnosed with a yet-to-be-cured neuromuscular disorder called Focal Dystonia. After enduring the loss of all he ever dreamed of, McLaughlin did what for many would be unthinkable - if not impossible - he taught himself to play left-handed.

Billy currently serves as the Ambassador of Awareness for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and is a founding member of the American Brain Foundation. See more at his website: www.billymclaughlin.com.

Advance ticket prices are $20 for adults and $10 for students; at-the-door prices increase to $25 and $15 on the night of the performance, if seats remain. "Students" include kindergarten through college age (student ID required). "Littles" who fit on laps (preschool age and below) can attend for free.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m. All tickets are general admission so arrive early to claim your best seat! Complimentary snacks and a cash bar will be available.

The full version of this show will be performed at the Historic Holmes Theater in Detroit Lakes on Friday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339, or visit www.kulcher.org.

Wadena Historical Society to host BookEnds

WADENA - BookEnds is a monthly event that connects readers and writers. It meets the second Saturday of every month at 11 a.m. at the Uptown, located at 224 Jefferson St. South.

In December, Alicia Schwab will discuss the children's book, "The Mukluk Ball" at the Wadena City Library at 11 a.m. on Dec. 15. The book was written by Katherine Johnson with illustrations by Schwab. The book is about the story of Karhu who dances his way to Finn Town's Mukluk Ball. It features the tango, the conga, and the Bear Hug Twist.

BookEnds consists of a casual interview with a visiting author, led by a moderator. Jerry Mevissen has been the moderator for two years and is stepping down. BookEnds will continue under the guidance of the Wadena Historical Society.

Last year BookEnds welcomed award winning authors such as Mike Lein, Erin Hart, and Doris Stengel. A list featuring authors for 2019 will be released soon.

For more information contact the Wadena County Historical Society at 603wchs@arvig.net or call 218-631-9079.

Lee Greenwood sets holiday show at Shooting Star

MAHNOMEN - "God Bless the USA" country singer, Lee Greenwood, will perform a live holiday show at Mahnomen's Shooting Star Casino, Hotel & Event Center on Friday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m.

Tickets start at $10 and are on sale now. They can be purchased by phone at 1-800-313-SHOW (7469), online at www.StarCasino.com/tickets, or via the "Buy Tickets" tab on Shooting Star's Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/ShootingStarCasino.

Born in 1942 in Sacramento, Lee Greenwood started playing the piano at age seven, the saxophone at age 12, and was playing almost all instruments of the orchestra by the time he graduated high school. Following high school, Greenwood began his country music career in Reno and Las Vegas dealing cards by day and singing in bars by night. The vocal strain of performing nightly and the smoky prevalence of the bars and casinos caused Greenwood the permanent hoarseness that he is still known for today.

Shortly after moving to Nashville in 1981, he signed with MCA Records and released his debut single, "It Turns Me Inside Out," which landed at No. 17 on the country charts. In 1983, he dropped his gold-certified album, "Somebody's Gonna Love You," which produced two No. 1 singles with its title track and "Going, Going, Gone." Hit single, "I.O.U.," also from the album, peaked at No. 6 on the charts and earned Greenwood a Grammy for Top Male Vocal Performance in 1985.

In the years following, Lee Greenwood continued to produce hit singles with a streak of 19 Top 10 singles and five more No. 1 hits. In 1984, he released his platinum-certified, iconic single, "God Bless the USA," which won the Country Music Association's Song of the Year Award, and was voted the most patriotic song in America. In 1992, Greenwood released his album, "American Patriot," which was certified platinum within three months.

Lee Greenwood has won numerous other industry awards including Male Vocalist of the Year for the Academy of Country Music in 1983, and two Male Vocalist of the Year awards from the Country Music Association in 1983 and 1984. Greenwood's strong patriotism earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's Patriot Award and an appointment to the council of the National Endowment for the Arts in 2008.

'Holiday Voices' program set Dec. 20 in Wadena

WADENA - The program "Holiday Voices" will celebrate the season of giving on Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Wadena County Museum. The talent program will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Holiday Voices is the final Minnesota Voices program of 2018 and includes a series of free programs from the Wadena County Historical Society.

Programs often include writers, artists and scientists. Its held the third Thursday of the month at the Wadena County Museum.

After the program, they will offer their Holiday Tea and Open House from 1-6 p.m. The event will include refreshments, more entertainment, and a possible preview of the newest addition to the Wadena County Museum.

The Wadena County Historical Society is collaborating with Gillette Kempf of An Open Book to open a new bookstore with an emphasis on featuring the culture of the region. The bookstore will be located in the lobby of the Wadena County Museum and will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

After 12 years in business, the Wadena bookstore closed in November 2018. Kempf moved from the area due to family obligations. The collaboration between Kempf and the Historical Society came about because of her desire to contribute to the local history and culture. The Museum Bookstore will carry a line of about 150 titles to start. The bookstore is also working with the Wadena Chamber of Commerce on methods to attract more tourism to the community.

For more information about the Museum Bookstore, contact the Wadena County Historical Society at 603 Jefferson Street North. They can also be reached at 603wchs@arvig.net and by calling 218-631-9079.