This week: we're live from the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota, with special guests, spirited bluegrass quintet Steep Canyon Rangers, Rochester's own Choral Arts Ensemble, pianist Jane Belau, and our staff blues singer Hilary Thavis. Plus: the Royal Academy of Radio Actors, Sue Scott, Tim Russell, and Fred Newman; pianist and musical director Rich Dworsky and The Olmsted County Boys (Jeff Bailey on bass, drummer JT Bates, guitarist Armand Hirsch, and Richard Kriehn on mandolin and fiddle); and the latest News from Lake Wobegon.
  • The Steep Canyon Rangers

    The Steep Canyon Rangers started playing music for fun; now they're one of the most successful bluegrass bands touring today, garnering fans at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and London's Hammersmith Apollo Theatre to rock clubs and traditional bluegrass festivals. Their recordings and dynamic live performances - including collaborations with Steve Martin and Edie Brickell - have earned them accolades that include Grammy and IBMA awards. The Steep Canyon Rangers are Woody Platt (guitar), Graham Sharp (banjo), Charles Humphrey (bass), Mike Guggino (mandolin) and Nicky Sanders (fiddle), and Mike Ashworth (percussion).
  • Choral Arts Ensemble

    Since its beginnings in 1985, Choral Arts Ensemble has been inspiring audiences throughout southeast Minnesota with outstanding performances of more than 800 pieces of choral music. The singers are community members from a wide variety of professions - teachers, farmers, doctors, bankers, computer technicians, and church leaders. Now in its 30th season, under the direction of founder Rick Kvam, the group has released a number of recordings. The most recent is 2013's Listening to the Voices. Accompanist: Jan Kvam.
  • Jane Belau

    What's that they say about "a spoonful of sugar"? Well, sugar's got nothin' on Jane Belau. For more than a decade, two days a week, this volunteer pianist has graced the lobby of the Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building, where her music makes a visit to the doctor so much more palatable. But her talent certainly doesn't stop there. Jane is also a songwriter, painter, arts advocate, host of the award-winning cable access TV show The Belau Report, and Rochester, Minnesota's first poet laureate.
  • Hilary Thavis

    Funny how things come together. Born in Rome, Italy, to parents from Minnesota, Hilary Thavis grew up loving music - especially folk music - from Woody Guthrie to Italian folk singers like Fabrizio De Andre and Francesco De Gregori. But it was the blues that ultimately captured her attention. Trouble & Truth is the 2011 recording from her band Gaia Groove. Now making her home in the Twin Cities, Hilary is working on a solo album of original songs.
  • Garrison Keillor

    Garrison Keillor was born in 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota. He went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul. He is the host of The Writer's Almanac and the editor of the Good Poems series of anthologies from Viking.
  • Richard Dworsky

    Richard Dworsky Keyboardist, composer, and arranger Richard Dworsky is APHC's music director. He leads the band, composes themes, improvises script underscores, and collaborates with such diverse guests as Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, Brad Paisley, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sheryl Crow. He has released many recordings of original material and has provided music for documentaries on HBO and PBS. Jeff Bailey Bassist Jeff Bailey has performed in a wide variety of musical settings as a musician, composer, and producer, working with jazz artists such as Captain Jack McDuff and Nachito Herrera. In addition, he heads up the bass department at McNally Smith College of Music, where he enjoys sharing his musical knowledge with upcoming musicians. JT Bates JT Bates started playing drums when he was seven. By the time he was 15, he was sitting in with his dad's big band. Since then, he has backed up countless musicians, as well as working with a number of Twin Cities-based bands, including Fat Kid Wednesdays and Poor Line Condition. Armand Hirsch Twentysomething guitarist Armand Hirsch has been a touring musician since he was just 14, working with Bobby McFerrin, Hank Jones, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, and others. While his primary focus is jazz, his Armand Hirsch Trio has branched out into electronica, modern gospel, acoustic pop, and more. Richard Kriehn When Richard Kriehn turned 10, his mom bought him a mandolin; at 19, he'd won the Buck White International Mandolin Contest. He went on to play with the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and bluegrass group 1946. On the classical side, he has performed with numerous orchestras and was principal second violin for the Washington/Idaho Symphony.
  • Tim Russell

    One minute he's mild-mannered Tim Russell; the next he's George Bush or Julia Child or Barack Obama. We've yet to stump this man of many voices. Says fellow APHC actor Sue Scott, "He does a better Ira Glass than Ira Glass." A well-known Twin Cities radio personality and voice actor, Tim appeared in the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion and the Coen brothers' A Serious Man. Tim has also been reviewing films professionally for over 10 years.
  • Sue Scott

    On APHC, Sue Scott plays everything from ditzy teenagers to Guy Noir stunners to leathery crones who've smoked one pack of Camel straights too many. The Tucson, Arizona, native is well known for her extensive commercial and voice-over work on radio and television, as well as stage and movie roles, including the part of "Donna" in Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion.
  • Fred Newman

    Sound effects man Fred Newman is an actor, writer, musician, and sound designer for film and TV. Turns out, no one is more surprised than Fred that he's made a career out of doing what he used to do behind the teacher's back -crossing his eyes, making sounds, and doing voices. He readily admits that, growing up, he was unceremoniously removed from several classrooms, "once by my bottom lip."