Make some noise

If you’re looking for a day-brightener from this seemingly endless winter, join the Coppertop musicians at the “Make a Joyful Noise” concert at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Selections of vocal and instrumental music groups at First United Methodist Church, 230 E. Skyline Parkway, will range from the complex precision of a Bach fugue to a premiere arrangement of “We Are Called” that includes the Strikepoint bell choir, Tapestry band, organ and choir.

An offering will be taken to go toward improving the sanctuary sound system.

What we’re saying about Dylan/Chrysler

Yes, yes. We know. We love to fill the pages of the News Tribune with Dylan this and Dylan that.

But, to be fair, lots of people are still analyzing the Chrysler commercial starring our native son that aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl.

* A blogger for the Washington Post wondered: “Can a Dylan superfan actually justify this most egregious sellout?”

David Malitz wrote a five-part justification including the fact that Dylan actually sold out in 2004 when he teamed up with Victoria Secret.

And, No. 3, “it was nice to actually hear his voice.”

His voice is shot, he doesn’t fill his sets with banter.

“Sure, I’d rather hear him say things that aren’t straight out of some jingoistic pitchman handbook, but still,” Malitz wrote.

* A blogger for the New Yorker doesn’t mind seeing Dylan shilling for Chrysler. But she does mind the commercial:

“It is a problem that he is in a poorly made ad, one that proves the truth of a line in its script: ‘You can’t fake cool,’” wrote Amy Davidson.

* Maybe it doesn’t really matter. According to Forbes, the third-quarter placement of the extended-length ad could have been great. But with the Seahawks’ blowout already in the books, no one saw the commercial, anyway.

A range of music

Brian Laidlaw & the Family Trade will return to Duluth to play an intimate set of new songs on Saturday.

Laidlaw recently received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant to write and record an album of music inspired by the Iron Range and will be sharing some of these new compositions at Amazing Grace Bakery, 394 S. Lake Ave.

Music begins at 8 p.m., cost is $5.

Fans, rejoice!

Never fear, Justin Moore fans. Tickets were getting scarce for his Feb. 1 concert at Amsoil Arena, but your friends at the DECC have opened the upper deck to allow for extra seating. Tickets start at $25 and are available at Ticketmaster outlets including and the DECC box office.

Moore is a chart-topping country singer behind “Small Town USA” and “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away.”

Help mush a musher

The only way to the Iditarod runs through Duluth for Nathan Schroeder.

The musher is having a fundraiser at the Green Mill on Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Music by Brody Olson is set for Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Spaghetti can be had for $10 a plate, with all proceeds sending Schroeder to the land of the midnight sun.

Amsoil Arena tops list of first-rate arenas

Monthly print and online magazine Stadium Journey has released its list of the top 100 stadium experiences in 2013. Minnesota fared well, and Duluth even better.

Amsoil Arena, home of the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs hockey team, was ranked No. 1 across all sports and levels and called a “near-perfect college hockey experience.”

If this were some list of stadiums just in the Midwest, that would be prestigious enough, but considering Daytona International Speedway, home of the Daytona 500, came in second, and Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox and the fabled “green monster,” came in fifth, Amsoil Arena sure outdid itself.

Also included in the top 10 is the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild, at No. 7. Mariucci Arena, where the Golden Gophers burrow, came in at No. 15, and Target Field, where the Twins call home, was No. 61 on the list. There was no mention of the Metrodome. Nope. Nothing at all on the home of Kirby Puckett and the 1987 and 1991 Minnesota Twins.



Turn to a new page

At the end of the year, there is always a flurry of “Year’s End Top 10” lists. Google did it, heck, even the News Tribune is not immune to the call. Some might be sick of the lists, but they play an important role in our cultural history. The lists demarcate a boundary between the year we leave behind, and the one that is to come.
Another mainstay of the New Year celebrations is the New Year’s resolution. But why do we resolve today? As long as we’re on the topic of New Year’s traditions, what’s with that song “Auld Lang Syne”? Where does it come from, and what does it really mean?

History: Rough draft
The origin of the phrase “journalism is the first rough draft of history” might itself be lost to history, but its truth remains no less evident for it.
This, Eh? believes, is the reason for the popularity of the yearly “Best of” lists so pervasive in newspapers and, now, websites. They are a last snapshot of where humanity made progress and losses over the year. A final look at the rough draft before it is consumed by the sea of “history.”

Resolve to do it, now
Some people make New Year’s resolutions, and some people don’t.
But there are some studies that indicate big days, like New Year’s Day, can create an idea in people that personal imperfections can be relegated to the past, and aspirational new behaviors can be learned.
Katherine Milkman, an assistant professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, along with other researchers, are set to publish a research paper in “Management Science” in 2014 that deals with what they are calling “The Fresh Start Effect.”
Milkman and colleagues found that “people create more new goals at the beginning of the month and year as compared with the end of the month and year.”
Codifying, in effect, what everyone already knew: New Year’s is the time for resolutions.

Forget friendships?
Perhaps nothing confuses people so much as the song “Auld Lang Syne” (pronounced “sign” not “zine”), and why such a song might ask people to forget their acquaintances at the beginning of a new year.
The song got its start as a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788. The poem was set to a pentatonic scale to become the song we now sing in a semi-lucid state at the death and rebirth of the calendar year.
For starters, “Auld Lang Syne” translates literally as “old long since” but more colloquially, as “old times.”
Surprisingly, to Eh? at least, is the fact that the lyrics are more of a rhetorical jab than a request.
Should we just forget our friends?
Consider the final stanza:

And there’s a hand my trusty friend.
And give me a hand o’ thine.
And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne.
The poem/song is, like all works of art, open to interpretation, but read the lyrics for yourself, and see if they don’t strike you as a reaffirmation of friendship.

Local Christmas CD set to release

“A Christmas by the Lake – Volume VII” is set to release Nov. 21.

This year’s collection will feature 26 songs by musicians throughout the region.
“We’ve really put together a great variety of music and artists on this year’s CD,” said Tracy Lundeen, executive producer of the album.

A release party is planned for the Greysolon Plaza Ballroom at 5 p.m. Nov. 21. A number of the musicians featured on the album are slated to give live performances. Admission is free and copies of the album will be available to purchase.

The CDs will sell for $12 each and can be found at area Super One Foods, Pam’s Hallmark in the Miller Hill Mall and online at

Proceeds from the album’s sale will benefit the Bluebird Foundation, which was established in August. The foundation was established to advocate for regional kids in the arts.

For more information, call (218) 727-1177 or visit

Wanted: Your brass

Classical Minnesota Public Radio is looking for the gently used saxophone you’ve got stashed in the closet in the guest room.

The station’s Play it Forward program is a drive for individuals to donate instruments to Minnesota schools. This year’s drive is in November, and donors are asked to give an instrument to the school of their choosing. Go to, enter a ZIP code to find area-specific donation information.

The school will lend the instruments to qualifying students for use in band and orchestra.
Donations are tax deductible. Owners are responsible for assessing the value of their own instruments.

Music among books

Alabaster Falls, a four-piece acoustic group that plays folk and bluegrass styles, will hit the West Duluth Branch of the Duluth Public Library, 5830 Grand Ave., on Oct. 8 and the main library, 520 W. Superior St., on Oct. 10 for a pair of free performances. Both shows are at 6:30 p.m.

The group, which is on a tour of regional libraries, is comprised of bass, mandolin, guitar and Dobro players who individually can sing lead as well as harmonize as a unit. Their website says they’re “one of the most listenable bands around” and that “they have an easy manner on stage, and a knack for connecting with an audience.”

Both shows are sponsored by the Duluth Public Library and the Arrowhead Library System, and they are funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Go to for more on the band.