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Holmes Theatre thankful for another grant, allowing a new concert series

Submitted photo by Erik Dale

Theatre in the Park, Thursday Trucks and Tunes, numerous plays and many more events that are happening this summer are possible because of the Historic Holmes Theatre. They put on events for the community like these every year, largely thanks to the Legacy Amendment that provides them grant opportunities.

For several years, the Holmes Theatre has received a grant from the Lakes Region Arts and Council (LRAC), giving the theater extra funding for a new idea of theirs. This year, that idea is holding monthly concerts from September to May on the stage of the Holmes Theatre.

"Basically the idea is that we close the front curtain of the stage and then we hold the entire concert on the actual stage itself," said Erik Dale, the theater's events director, who came up with the idea. "So the band is on the stage, the audience is on the stage, everything."

This onstage-only experience would fit between 50 to 75 people, versus the 800 that the theater can fit in the seats.

"It's a really intimate on-stage experience for a purposefully small group of people," the theater's Executive Director Amy Stoller Stearns said. "We've learned over the years that people really love to get up close and personal with artists. This is kind of a unique opportunity for people to be up close and for the artists to interact more intimately with the audience."

The artists that are being booked are ones who are more regional and local, with original music instead of just covers, Dale said. He also shared that there will be a broad variety of genres. The goal is for this new close-up stage and different variety of artists to draw in a younger crowd, specifically those under 40.

Three artists are already booked: Reina Del Cid, a folk-rock singer-songwriter from the Twin Cities; Aby Wolf, a pop singer-songwriter also from the Twin Cities; and Michael Shynes, a singer-songwriter from Little Falls. Shynes was actually an opener for the Holmes Theatre last year, and has had a platinum record in Poland: "(I just died) In your Arms" by Komodo featuring Michael Shynes.

The grant is what makes paying these artists possible, as well as aiding in the cost of tech time and marketing. Since the Holmes Theatre received the grant, they will be able to keep the ticket prices down to between $5 to $10.

"It's hard work to write the grants, but when you get them it's just so fulfilling. To have this idea, and to have somebody validate it and fund it and help you make it happen, it's just so cool," Stearns said. "We've been very fortunate. We've received funding from the LRAC almost every year since we've started."

If interested in receiving more information on performing during this concert series, contact Stearns at Amy@dlccc.org or Dale at erik@dlccc.org.