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Sounds of Spirit Lake series opens with Park Rapids Community Band

The Park Rapids Area Community Band is the first featured guest at the 2017 Sounds of Spirit Lake concert series. The performance begins at 7 p.m. Friday, June 30 in Menahga. (Submitted photo)

Menahga's outdoor concert series, The Sounds of Spirit Lake, opens for its 2017 season on Friday, June 30.

The Park Rapids Area Community Band will perform at 7 p.m., under the direction of Dr. Russell Pesola.

The free, summer concerts are held on the shores of Spirit Lake, near the fishing pier. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy high-caliber musicians while overlooking beautiful Spirit Lake. Refreshments are available onsite. The rain venue is the Menahga High School gymnasium.

Trumpet soloist Dr. Tom Strait will join the Park Rapids Area Community Band in two feature pieces. Strait is currently in his eighth year on the faculty at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM). In addition to serving as chair of the music department, he teaches trumpet and horn. He holds a doctor of arts degree in trumpet performance from the University of Northern Colorado, as well as degrees from the University of Texas and Henderson State University. Before coming to MSUM, he served in the U.S. Air Force, playing with the USAF Academy Falconaires. An active freelance trumpet player, he has performed with many artists, including Bob Hope, Robert Goulet, Nancy Wilson and Doc Severinsen.

Also joining the band that evening are some members of the Menahga High School Concert Band. Their director, Beth Hahn, plays bass clarinet with the Park Rapids Area Community Band.

All Sounds of Spirit Lake concerts are held at 7 p.m. on Friday evenings. The 2017 summer schedule is as follows:

• July 14 — Milo Hatzenbuhler, the original rock 'n' roll farmboy.

• July 21 — Monroe Crossing, featuring their latest CD, "Monroe Crossing Plays Classic Country."

• July 28 — Murphy Brother's Band, a classic '60s rock band.

• August 4 — Pinewood Landing, a traditional bluegrass band.

• August 11 — Harper & Midwest Kind, an internationally touring Australian blues singer.

This activity is made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.