Karen Mueller and Rachel Nelson will play at 7 tonight at the bandshell in Thomas Owens Park as part of the Friday Night Concert in the park series.
In case of rain, the concert will be held at the community center.
Mueller is the youngest player to win the International Autoharp Championship (1986) and the youngest inductee into the Autoharp Hall of Fame (2006). Also proficient on guitar and mandolin, Mueller counts the lap dulcimer as her other specialized instrument.
The Old-Time Herald praises her “sophisticated work on her dulcimer.” Here too, she extends the range of the instrument.
Nelson thinks Mueller’s dulcimer version of “Fields of Gold” does for the lap dulcimer what Jake Shimabukuro’s version of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” did for the ukulele. “It is absolutely exquisite,” Nelson said. “I told her she had to do it at Owens Park.”
Nelson is an interesting duo partner for Mueller — adding her fiddle, banjo, and mandolin to Mueller’s work. Nelson expands the tune list with her own original roots-based songs. “We’re having a terrific time playing together” Nelson said.
Ring those bells
The Knife River Ringers, a group of handbell players from Knife River Lutheran Church, will be performing August concerts in Two Harbors and in Hermantown, the first concerts outside of the church since 2004.
They will play at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Two Harbors and at 3 p.m. August 21 at Hermantown’s Grace Lutheran Church.
Both concerts will feature selections for handbells, piano, and clarinet.
Since May 1997, Knife River Lutheran Church has sponsored a handbell ensemble. Some of the first ringers remain while others have joined along the years. They share music for duet, quartet, quintet, and full ensemble, adding the clarinet for a special “Celtic Farewell.”
The church collaborated with Sam Black in the spring of 1997 and the Knife River Ringers were born. They borrowed bells from First Covenant Church in Duluth and then, in 1999, they acquired their own set of Schulmerich handbells from a private owner in Chattanooga. Since then, there have been 15 different ringers from time to time participating in festivals and church programs.
In 2004 the ringers recorded a CD.
The programs this month will feature music written for the church as well as concert music adapted for handbells. A free-will offering will be requested to supplement the music budget.
Handbell playing means ringers are responsible for two to 12 bells. Most players say ringing is good for rejuvenating brain activity.
The group plays at Knife River Lutheran every other month or so and the concerts will be the first appearance since 2004.
Call Sam Black at 728.1272 or email email@example.com for more information.