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Monroe Crossing headlines Main Street celebration

Bluegrass group Monroe Crossing will perform at the Main Avenue reopening celebration Aug. 18. From left are Benji Flaming, banjo, Matt Thompson, mandolin, Lisa Fuglie, fiddle, Derek Johnson, guitar, and Mark Anderson, bass. (Submitted photo)

World-class bluegrass entertainers Monroe Crossing will appear in a free concert in Park Rapids at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18 as part of a Main Street Grand Reopening Celebration.

The concert will cap an afternoon of free music, entertainment and kids' activities from noon to 6 p.m. on Main Street. ACS is sponsoring the afternoon's stage entertainment which will include the Ellingson Brothers from Menahga, performing a medley of hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s; The Turner Boys (grandpa Doyle, son Doyle and grandson Tony) from Bemidji; Ronald McDonald, doing magic and comedy for the whole family; singer/songwriter, guitarist Troy Anderson and singer/guitarist Christy Emerson from Fergus Falls; and "Thankful Dirt" (Darren and Molly Matthews), a Des Moines-based duo.

A ribbon cutting is planned at 6 p.m. with County 20 performing at 6:30 and Monroe Crossing taking to the stage at 7 p.m. Bring your own chairs. (In case of inclement weather, the evening concert will be held at the Park Rapids Area High School auditorium.)

Named in honor of Bill Monroe, Monroe Crossing dazzles audiences with an electrifying blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and heartfelt originals. Their airtight harmonies, razor sharp arrangements, and on-stage rapport make them audience favorites across the United States and Canada.

The guest group is touring in support of their new DVD, "Monroe Crossing Live," which features audience favorites and original compositions from "Heartache & Stone," their latest CD. "Heartache & Stone" boasts seven band originals and songs from four other Minnesota songwriters, including pop rocker Prince.

Since 2000, Monroe Crossing has released 10 CDs and made more than 1,000 concert appearances throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. The secret to the band's longevity and success? According to fiddler and lead singer Lisa Fuglie, "It's just plain hard work and dedication. We all share a love for bluegrass music and for performing on stage. We appreciate every audience, large or small, and understand that we're there for them, not the other way around."

Mandolin player Matt Thompson adds, "We have learned the importance of entertaining audiences and not just playing top-quality music. We regularly hear people say that they didn't think they liked bluegrass music until they saw us play!"

Monroe Crossing has been showered with awards, including Best Female Vocalist, Guitar, Mandolin and Banjo at the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association's 25th Anniversary Awards Banquet. Monroe Crossing is the only Bluegrass band ever nominated as the Minnesota Music Academy "Artist of the Year," which also recognized the band with an award for "Bluegrass Album of the Year."

In 2007, they were selected as an Official Showcase Band at the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass Convention in Nashville, and later that year, they were inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame.

See Monroe Crossing's recordings and schedule on the band's website: