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Fronted by Mark Braun, Mr. B’s Joybox Express will combine athleticism and artistry on Monday, Sept. 1.

Mr. B’s Joybox Express coming to Itasca State Park

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Itasca State Park is hosting Mr. B’s Joybox Express Monday, Sept. 1 for a sendoff concert at 10 a.m. at the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center in Itasca State Park.

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Combining athleticism and artistry, Mr. B’s Joybox Express is fronted by Mark “Mr. B” Braun, an internationally recognized jazz and blues pianist. Produced by Artrain, Inc., this epic 2,000-mile, 75-day trek begins at the Mississippi River headwaters in Itasca State Parkand concludes in New Orleans in November.

Along the way, Mr. B’s Joybox Express is stopping in cities, towns and villages to perform, educate and inspire blues, jazz and cycling appreciation. A community stop is scheduled in Bemidji Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Anyone wanting more information or to become involved in the planning or as a volunteer for the Mr. B’s Joybox Express stop in Bemidji should contact Jessica at 218-766-3837 or by email at Rail RiverFolkSchool@gmail.com.

Mr. B is a rare living link to the first generations of blues and boogie pianists, including the legendary Little Brother Montgomery, Boogie Woogie Red and Blind John Davis. In demand for both educational programs and concert performances, he has performed coast to coast and throughout Europe, Canada, Mexico and South America.

Mr. B, motivated by his own involvement with music and sports, dreamed of putting a piano on a bike and riding it across the country to spread the joy of jazz and blues music while meeting a physical challenge. He also wanted to raise funds for local youth arts and athletic programs.

His dream became a reality when premier bicycle designer Mark Nobilette, whose custom bikes have been chosen by many top-ranked racers and triathletes, built Mr. B’s Joybox Express Piano Bike. Nobilette created a one-of-a-kind piano bike boasting 27 gears, two chains, shock absorbers, a rear differential, hydraulic disk brakes and a flatbed big enough to hold a 352-pound, full-sized upright piano.

Artrain, Inc. is producing Mr. B’s Joybox Express Mississippi River Road Ride. For more than 40 years Artrain, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., has delivered world class arts and cultural exhibitions and education programs to under-resourced communities throughout the United States.

For more information go to www.joyboxexpress.com.

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