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Moorhead’s Bluestem lives up to billing

The success of the Bluestem Center for the Arts in south Moorhead confirms that the task of guiding the facility through a difficult transition has been accomplished.

After several years of unsteady management models and personnel adjustments, Bluestem, which is the home of the Trollwood Performing Arts School, is living up to its billing. Indeed, its record during the past couple of seasons suggests the beautiful amphitheater, Marcil Commons building, and the welcoming park-like setting on the Red River have exceeded their billing.

New attendance figures released a few days ago reveal the summer concert season was the best yet. The variety of shows – from new and old rock to vintage country and folk – filled the seats. In addition, Trollwood’s excellent musical production was a record-breaker. And the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony’s summer contemporary concert was a sellout, as it was last year.

Bluestem had a rough start. The concept was developed when the Trollwood program had to find a new home because the decades-old north Fargo location was being lost to flooding and river erosion.

Despite parochial objections to relocating the Fargo schools’ Trollwood program to Moorhead, the move was approved. A combination of public and private funding, including several million from a Minnesota state arts fund, eventually resulted in a world-class performance and education complex in a spectacular riverside setting.

There have been potholes on the road to today’s success – some of them quite deep. But disciplined focus on nurturing an ambitious idea so it could become a well-managed performing arts and education center has paid off. Often, big things are hard to do.

The Trollwood/Bluestem transition was hard to do. But, as the record of success demonstrates, it was worth it. — The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead