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It's time to get your Irish on!

Teachers and staff at Lincoln Community Education in Detroit Lakes look on in awe as Sonic Escape flutist Shawn Wyckoff and violinist Maria Millar perform for them on Friday, March 2. (Submitted photo)1 / 11
Sonic Escape violinist Maria Millar gave an Ogema Elementary student an up-close view ofe her instrument during a March 2 arts outreach visit to the school. (Submitted photo)2 / 11
Musical duo Sonic Escape — also known as flutist Shawn Wyckoff and violinist Maria Millar — entertained a group of about 300 students and faculty at Ogema Elementary School on Friday, March 2, as part of the Historic Holmes Theatre's arts outreach program. (Submitted photo)3 / 11
Sonic Escape flutist Shawn Wyckoff and violinist Maria Millar performed for residents and staff at Ecumen Detroit Lakes on Friday, March 2, as part of their arts outreach activities in the community via the Historic Holmes Theatre. (Submitted photo)4 / 11
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Sonic Escape violinist Maria Millar interacts with the crowd at Ecumen Detroit Lakes as part of a Friday, March 2 arts outreach visit via the Historic Holmes Theatre. (Submitted photo)6 / 11
Sonic Escape violinist Maria Millar interacts with preschoolers and staff at Lincoln Education Center, as flutist Shawn Wyckoff performs in the background, during a March 2 arts outreach visit to the community via the Historic Holmes Theatre. (Submitted photo)7 / 11
Flutist Shawn Wyckoff and violinist Maria Millar, also known as Sonic Escape, interacted with students at Ogema Elementary School on Friday, March 2 as part of an arts outreach activity at the school. (Submitted photo)8 / 11
Sonic Escape flutist Shawn Wyckoff, left, and violinist Maria Millar, right, performed with Native American flutist Max Blake as part of their March 2 outreach performance at Ogema Elementary School. (Submitted photo)9 / 11
Fargo-area band 32 Below will provide the live entertainment at this year’s Motion Fundraiser for the Arts, set to take place Friday, March 16 at Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre. (Submitted photo) 10 / 11
Sonic Escaoe flutist Shawn Wyckoff shows off his talent to a group of preschoolers, teachers and staff at Lincoln Education Center in Detroit Lakes, as violinist Maria Millar looks on. The duo performed at Lincoln Ed on March 2 as part of arts outreach activities in the community. (Submitted photo)11 / 11

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day a little early this year as the Historic Holmes Theatre goes Irish for its annual Motion Fundraiser for the Arts on Friday, March 16.

This Celtic-themed event will be held in the Holmes Ballroom, with musical entertainment provided by 32 Below. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and music starts at 8 p.m.

Money raised helps the Holmes bring over 4,000 students to the theatre for live productions each year and allows them to bring artists to nursing homes, schools and local events. Funds also help the Holmes bring performing artists from all over the world to Detroit Lakes.

"Funds raised at Motion enable us, in part, to provide free outreach activities to members of our community and surrounding communities," says Beth Horslev Gilbert, the theater's arts outreach director. "The activities are typically associated with an artist who is planning to perform at the Holmes Theatre — and are designed for everyone, aged preschool to 104 years old!"

Gilbert recently coordinated several outreach activities for the flute/violin duo Sonic Escape when they visited the community on March 2-3.

On Friday, March 2, the duo started their morning off by entertaining a group of about 55 preschoolers, parents and teachers at Lincoln Community Education, then headed over to Ogema for a performance at the elementary school, attended by about 350 students, teachers and administrators.

"They took questions, played violin and flute and were joined at the end of the performance by Native American flutist Max Blake," Gilbert said of the Ogema performance. "While the flutes looked and sounded different, the music all blended together as one. Afterwards, one girl said to me, 'That was a great song today!'"

The duo wrapped up their outreach day with a performance for about 30 residents, staff and guests at Ecumen Detroit Lakes.

Another outreach event took place earlier this month when G. Phillip Shoultz, music director for VocalEssence's upcoming "River Songs and Tales" tour, spent a day working with vocal music students at Detroit Lakes Public Schools.

Shoultz said that members of Kathy Larson's Laker Singers vocal ensemble will be performing with VocalEssence as part of their April 6 presentation of "River Songs and Tales" at the Historic Holmes Theatre, and he was there to help them prepare for that performance as well as to provide some performance tips and techniques for both high school and middle school students. (Look for more on this production, and Shoultz's visit, in an upcoming issue of the Tribune.)

Each year, the Motion fundraiser comes up with a fresh, innovative way to celebrate the arts while helping to raise funds for activities like these — and this year, the March 16 event will highlight all things Celtic.

"This year we've gone Irish," says the theater's executive director, Amy Stoller Stearns, noting that they wanted to create a festive atmosphere, sort of like an old-fashioned Irish pub. "It's all about the wearing of the green."

"Green is the theme of the night, so we're encouraging (though not requiring) everyone to come dressed in St. Patrick's Day attire," explained Rachel Hofstrand, the theater's marketing director.

The food and beverages, catered by La Barista, will also have an Irish twist, added Gilbert.

"We'll have mini-Reubens, corned beef sliders, mini-twice baked potatoes, deviled eggs, and beer cheese dip with warm pretzel bites," she added. "There will also be desserts like creme de menthe cupcakes and Irish cream cheesecake bites."

"We'll also have lots of live and silent auction items," Stearns said, noting that live auction prizes will include tickets for Minnesota Gophers, Twins and Vikings games, VIP tickets for upcoming Holmes Theatre productions, and a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

"For the silent auction we'll have a variety of fun items donated by local businesses and retailers," she added.

And of course, there will be live entertainment.

"The band 32 Below will be performing, starting at 8 p.m.," said Hofstrand. "They're a popular rock country band from Fargo that plays a fun variety of country, rock and dance music."

"There will be plenty of room for dancing," Stearns added, noting that this is one reason why the event was moved from the main theater into the ballroom this year.

Tickets for Friday's event are $50 each, and can be purchased online at, by phone at 218-844-7469, or in person at the Holmes Box Office, located at 806 Summit Avenue, Detroit Lakes (hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and two hours prior to the start of Friday's event).

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 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