Students of longtime DLHS vocal music instructor to return for retirement bash

Mass choir, cabaret performances planned to honor Kathryn Larson, Aug. 13-14

Longtime Detroit Lakes High School vocal music instructor Kathy Larson has announced that she will not be returning to the classroom this fall. A two-day retirement celebration in her honor is planned on Aug. 13-14.
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DETROIT LAKES — Kathy Larson, who taught vocal music at Detroit Lakes Public Schools for 34 years, has announced that she will not be returning this fall.

Larson, who also directed 28 musical theater productions for the district, left quite an impression on her former vocal and theater students — so much so, in fact, that they are planning a two-day retirement bash for her, on Aug. 13-14.

"We invited students from her first musical, 'Damn Yankees,' all the way to her last one, 'Newsies,' to come perform in a cabaret show at the Holmes Theatre on Saturday night (Aug. 13)," said Carol Nustad, a longtime friend and colleague who worked with her on dozens of fall musicals. "We have 49 or 50 (former students) coming back to perform."

The cabaret show, "A Career in Revue: Celebrating Kathy Larson's Retirement," will take place at 7 p.m. on Aug. 13; tickets are on sale at the Holmes Theatre website,, for $25 each.

Matt and Nancy McKenzie and their children Isaiah, Caleb, Thomas and Malia have all been a part of the high school choirs and fall musicals at Detroit Lakes High School during Kathy Larson's 34-year tenure with the district, and all six plan to sing as part of her two-day, musical retirement celebration this weekend.

But that's not all: To honor Larson's vocal music legacy, all past and present students, colleagues and anyone who has sung or worked with Larson over her long career are being invited to take part in a mass choir performance at Holy Rosary Catholic Church on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 3 p.m.


"Admission will be a free will offering, with proceeds to help set up a vocal music scholarship (through Detroit Lakes Dollars for Scholars) in her name," Nustad said. "We feel it is important that the influence Kathy has had on her 'kids,' and the community, will continue."

The scholarship will be given annually to a vocal music student at Detroit Lakes Public Schools.

Those who are unable to attend the festivities, but would still like to contribute, can go to the Detroit Lakes Dollars for Scholars website, , and make a donation in Larson's name (use the "Click to Donate" link, and follow the prompts).

"We are doing this on a volunteer basis," said Nustad, adding that Mark Potvin and Eric Hoplin — two of Larson's former students — are heading up the planning for the two-day event.

They are primarily promoting it through social media, she added, though they are also using the local news media — radio and newspaper — to get the word out.

Those who are on Facebook and would like to participate in the festivities can search for Kathy Larson Retirement Celebration and click to join. Those who do not use social media can contact Nustad via email at .

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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