Shows
This week: Garrison returns to the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand in Falcon Heights, Minnesota with The Minnesota Show. We'll be joined by Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele, Aoife O'Donovan, Heather Masse, the State Fair All-Star Fiddle Formation -- 14 local fiddle players -- and the Anoka High School Marching Tornadoes. Plus: Richard Dworsky and the Dworsky Orchestra (Richard Kriehn on mandolin and fiddle, bassist Larry Kohut, Chris Siebold on guitar, and drummer Gerald Dowd); our Royal Academy of Radio Actors, Tim Russell, Sue Scott, and Fred Newman; and, of course, an update on all the latest News from Lake Wobegon.
  • Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele

    Growing up in Indiana, Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele sang with their siblings as The Steele Children. One by one, they moved to Minnesota and started singing together again; music has become the family business. Jearlyn also hosts Steele Talkin', a Sunday-night radio show on WCCO, Minneapolis. Her most recent solo CD is Jearlyn Steele Sings Songs from A Prairie Home Companion. Jevetta's performance of "Calling You," from the film Baghdad Cafe, was nominated for an Academy Award. Her solo albums include 2006's My Heart.
  • Aoife O'Donovan

    With her ethereal voice and substantive songwriting, Aoife O'Donovan captivates fans and critics alike. She was lead singer of the string band Crooked Still, and was a featured vocalist on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, the Grammy-winning album by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. Her own recordings include 2016's In the Magic Hour, follow-up to her critically acclaimed solo debut, Fossils. Her most recent release, Man In A Neon Coat: Live From Cambridge, is a collection of original songs and covers, recorded live at The Sinclair.
  • Heather Masse

    Growing up in rural Maine, Heather Masse sang hymns and folk songs around home with her family. Now based in New York, this New England Conservatory of Music alum is a one-third of the Juno Award-winning Canadian trio The Wailin' Jennys. Lock My Heart is her recording with piano legend Dick Hyman. A new album, August Love Song -- on which she joins forces with trombone great Roswell Rudd -- was recently released on Red House Records.
  • The State Fair All-Star Fiddle Formation

    Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, classical and jazz violinist Ernest Bisong holds a master's degree in violin performance from McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul. His jazz ensemble performs in the Twin Cities area and across the country.
    Sedra Bistodeau -- who has chalked up contest wins at the Minnesota State Fair and the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest in Weiser, Idaho, among others -- studied classical violin at the University of Minnesota.
    In 1976, Fiddlin' Mary DuShane joined A Prairie Home Companion's Powdermilk Biscuit Band, replacing the group's original fiddler, Rudy Darling. Since then, she has worked in a variety of Twin Cities bands, playing country rock, old time, country swing, country blues, and Cajun music.
    For six years, Richard Kriehn did fiddle and mandolin duties with A Prairie Home Companion's Guy's All-Star Shoe Band. A veteran of several bluegrass groups, he has also played with numerous orchestras and was principal second violin for the Washington/Idaho Symphony.
    Eric Mohring is a versatile fiddle and mandolin player, skilled in a broad range styles -- Cajun, bluegrass, old time, swing, and more. He plays with Cafe Accordion Orchestra, the New Riverside Ramblers, and other Twin Cities bands. In addition, Eric is a hydrologist for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.
    Fiddler, mandolinist, composer Peter Ostroushko made his Prairie Home Companion debut in 1974. Six years later, he'd become one of the New Prairie Ramblers, PHC's house band. During his stint as the show's music director, Peter wrote a new fiddle tune for each week's broadcast. His works have been performed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, among others.
    Former Minnesota State Fair Teen Fiddle Champion Catie Jo Pidel has performed solo and with a number of Twin Cities bands, including Ruby Magpie, Whistlepigs String Band, Platte Valley Boys, and Switched at Birth.
    Ninth-grader Eli Hooker Reese may very well have inherited his musical ability. Son of fiddler Tim Reese, Eli has been playing violin for seven years and enjoys a variety of music from original fiddle tunes to the Suzuki repertoire. He is looking forward to playing in the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies Concert Orchestra.
    Over the past two decades, Tim Reese has played fiddle for lots of dancers, including the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers and regulars at Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis. He has been a member of the bands Pig's Eye Landing and Northern Aire. By day, he manages Gale Woods Farm for Three Rivers Park District. Tom Schaefer took up the fiddle in the mid-1970s, when medical school was not keeping him busy enough. Soon he was a three-time South Dakota State Fiddle Champion and chalked up a win in North Dakota for good measure. These days, "Dr. Tom" plays with the Mark Kreitzer Band, Cousin Dad, and others.
    As a kid, A.J. Srubas played fiddle in his family's band, specializing in Irish music. He has branched out to include old time, bluegrass, Cajun, classic country, and more. He plays with several Twin Cities bands, including the Bootlickers, the Two Tap Trio, and the New Riverside Ramblers.
    Early on, Marie Stier's musical family gave her a love of Irish fiddle. She earned a music degree from St. Mary's University (Winona) and then completed the violin construction and repair course at Minnesota State College (Red Wing). In the Twin Cities, she's active in Cajun and old-time music circles.
    Pop Wagner is a fiddler, folksinger, fingerstyle guitarist, cowboy poet, songwriter, horseman, lariat spinner, and humorist. A principal role in the Benjamin Britten opera Paul Bunyan landed him a British Gramophone Award.
    Brian Wicklund, author of The American Fiddle Method, toured for seven years with bluegrass band Stoney Lonesome and currently fronts the group Barley Jacks. He is director of Fiddle Pal Camps, summer music programs in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts.
    Since 2010, Laura Hammer has danced with the Twin Cities-based Wild Goose Chase Cloggers. She's no stranger to the Minnesota State Fair: Growing up in the neighborhood, she worked at a few different concession stands and for 10 years at the Fine Arts Building. She also served as Fairborne, one of the official State Fair gopher mascots.
    After doing contra and square dancing, Joe Hayes decided to broaden his horizons by joining the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers, an association that lasted six years. Twin Citians can now catch him performing regularly with the Roe Family Singers. When not clogging, Joe operates his own window restoration business.
  • The Anoka High School Marching Tornadoes

    The Anoka High School Marching Tornadoes, under the direction of Timothy Hauser, follow a long tradition of bands providing music and school spirit for the Anoka, Minnesota, community. The Marching Tornadoes entertain crowds at more than 25 events during the fall sports season, including performances at home football games, competitions, pep fests, the hometown parade in Ramsey, and the Anoka Halloween parade. The Marching Tornadoes have a tradition of excellence and were recently awarded first place in the Minnesota State Youth In Music Marching Band Championships.
  • 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.
  • Rich Dworsky and the Dworsky Orchestra

    Keyboardist, composer, arranger, and longtime Prairie Home Companion music director Richard Dworsky has collaborated with such diverse musicians as Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, Brad Paisley, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sheryl Crow. He has provided music for documentaries on HBO and PBS, and has released many recordings of original material, including his latest, All In Due Time.
    Gerald Dowd, drums
    Bassist Larry Kohut has played on dozens of albums and many film scores, as well as performing with jazz artists such as Patricia Barber, Mel Torme, Vincent Colaiuta, and Tony Bennett. In addition, he is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches acoustic and electric bass.
    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.
    Bluegrass to big band jazz, Chris Siebold knows his way around a guitar -- or a bunch of other instruments, for that matter. Based in Chicago, he draws from a deep well of influences and styles, and has put his talents to work in ensembles such as Howard Levy's Acoustic Express and Kick the Cat. In 2010, he formed the band Psycles, whose album Live at Martyrs' was released the following year.
  • 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.
  • Sue Scott

    Since 1992, Prairie Home fans have heard Sue Scott play everything from well-intentioned moms and ditzy teenagers to Guy Noir stunners and leathery crones who've smoked one pack of Camel straights too many. She recently climbed back on stage in a variety of theater roles. She is well known for her commercial and voice-over work on radio and television, as well as 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."