We are featured in this month’s issue of St Louis Park Magazine. PFLC lady and resident of St Louis Park, Amy Wilkerson spoke with Lauren Sauer this spring about our comings and goings in the Twin Cities.
A few corrections from the article: Although we performed in Golden Valley on July 9th in the “Friday’s in the Valley” series of concerts at Vally Presbyterian Church , we are not based there. Our practice space is in Richfield and we hail from all over the Twin Cities. At the time the article was written, we did not have our season’s schedule in place. You can find out what we are up to right here on our website or sign up to receive our newsletter. The next opportunity to hear us sing will be on July 18th at Wolfe Park (in St Louis Park!) when we participate in the next Justice Choir event.
After a brief winter hiatus, the ladies of Prairie Fire Lady Choir have been in full bloom this spring.
In February we held auditions and were overwhelmed with the number of amazing women who tried out. We ended up recruiting 9 new ladies to fill in the gaps. We are now at 67 ladies strong!
In addition to recruiting new ladies during our off season, we also made appearances at a few fantastic gigs.
In late January we were proud to lift our voices as part of the program at Women’s March here in Minnesota. We will never forget the beautiful sea of 100,000 people surrounding us as we sang on the steps of the capitol building in St. Paul.
On April 7th, many of the ladies had back-to-back performances. We were absolutely honored to take part in Cantus’ “America Will Be!” series. The show featured songs from a diverse selection of mostly contemporary composers, interspersed with video projections of people who had been interviewed and asked questions about what it means to be an American. What is the American Dream? We opened the set with our version of “We Belong”, and joined Cantus for a rousing rendition of “America the Beautiful”.
A few hours later, many of us met at the Cedar Cultural Center to open up for as well as to sing back up for Roma di Luna’s reunion show to benefit the Indigenous Peoples Task Force and MN350.org. Also performing were TiWaken and special guests The Pines. In addition to the choir, Roma di Luna was joined on stage by other fantastic guest performers including Martin Devaney and Eliza Blue.
Most recently the Prairie Fire Lady Choir had the opportunity to perform at the Prince One Year Memorial Celebration held outside of First Ave. We kicked off the music for the evening with our mash-up “When Doves Cry 4 U”. Several of the ladies also sang backup for Claire de Lune on “Nothing Compares to You”.
We’re excited to announce that we submitted to and received a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council to work with mastermind Chris Koza. Chris will be leading workshops on writing and arranging. Stay tuned for more information about our collaboration in the near future.
Upcoming Shows – Come See Us!
True Colors: A Celebration of Women in Song
International-award winning City of Lakes Women’s Chorus presents “True Colors: A Celebration of Women in Song.” The 100-member chorus will celebrate influential women in music, from jazz greats of the 40s to today’s pop icons, who have created, performed, and inspired some of the country’s favorite songs. Performing songs from Ella Fitzgerald to Cyndi Lauper, the chorus, along with quartets Sparkle!, Take Two, and Spice will showcase the rich history of women in song.
Also appearing are guest performers Prairie Fire Lady Choir and the 1997 Sweet Adelines International Queens of Harmony, 4-Star Collection.
Tickets are $21 for adults, and $13 for children under 13, and are available at www.ticketworks.com or by calling (612) 343-3390. For more information about City of Lakes Chorus, visit, www.cityoflakes.org
Sunday, May 21 – 4:00 PM
Concordia University’s Buetow Music Center
300 Hamline Ave
St Paul, MN 55104
Fridays in the Valley Concert Series
Sunday, July 9th – 7:00 PM
Valley Community Presbyterian Church
3100 Lilac Drive, Golden Valley
Valley Community Presbyterian Church has long enjoyed a rich musical heritage. Building on this tradition, Fridays in the Valley was created for local musicians to showcase their talents while providing a benefit for local charities.
Prairie Fire Lady Choir’s performance will be held on Sunday, July 9th (not Friday) to benefit the local Walk to Defeat ALS.
Saint Paul Saints Game
Sunday, July 23 – 5 PM
360 N. Broadway Street, St. Paul
Baseball fans, we will be singing the National Anthem at the Saint Paul Saints game again on July 23. Reserve your ticket here:
Prairie Burn Music Festival 2017
Saturday, September 16
YMCA Camp St. Croix
532 CR-F, Hudson, Wisconsin 54016
Attendees can once again expect amazing folk and bluegrass tunes, great food and beer, camp games and activities, and REI-hosted camping all to benefit YMCA camper endowed scholarships.
The 2017 lineup includes:
Cloud Cult, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Dusty Heart, The Ericksons, The Honeydogs, The Bootlicker Stringband, The Wailing Loons, HamDog,Prairie Fire Lady Choir, The Hawthorn Collection, Afton, Ruben & Julia Floberg.
Updates are available on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1762068357457301/
Our 2017 season promises to be brimming with new music thanks to a recent grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council . We will be learning about the songwriting process and work on collaborations with Rogue Valley singer/songwriter Chris Koza. Look for new work and interpretations of old work as we embark on our new adventure.
We asked a few of our members to tell you why they have decided to participate in the Women’s March – either here, in Minnesota, or elsewhere around the country. Here are their responses.
I march for all the women in my life: those that have walked ahead of me, beside me, and behind me. I have always been a feminist, but a silent one. President-elect Trump’s words, actions, policies, and cabinet nominations ignite the fire and the need to speak up, to act, and to be an advocate. I march in solidarity with women from across the country, each with different experiences and realities, but with one common goal- to demand equality, appreciate diversity, and zealously protect women’s rights which are human rights!
I march for my son. I march for his future. I march so he can grow up in a world that is safe and tolerant, where he will be able to work hard and achieve his dreams. I march to show him that I am passionate about our country and our rights. I march so he can see that it’s important to care for our fellow humans, no matter what they look like or who they love. I march for gun control, so he can live a full life that is free of fear.
I march for me. I march for my healthcare and for my rights to make my own decisions about my body. I march because I want and deserve equal opportunities. I march for family leave, for equal pay and for better conditions for working mothers. I march for living wages. I march for freedom.
I march because I’m angry. I march because I’m tired. I march because I’m just getting started.
I march because I thought we’d be done marching about this by now. We were supposed to teach the world to sing and accept everyone for who they are back when I was a kid in the 1970’s. ”I am woman hear me roar” and all that.
I march because “locker room talk” and “boys will be boys” are still considered acceptable excuses for sexual harassment and violence against women.
I march because girls around the world deserve to be educated, marry whomever they wish, and welcome children into world without fear of being persecuted or killed.
I march for my children because I want them to live in a world that respects all people regardless of race, religion or gender.
I march because I don’t want to go back to the dark days of illegal abortions and limited access to birth control.
I march for my friends in the LGBTQ community.
I march for refugees.
I march for the health of our planet.
On Friday, September 9th, we headed down to the Mississippi River to film a 360 degree video with Chuck Olsen of Visual.
Under the direction of Prairie Fire Lady, Areca Roe, we waded in the water and sang two original compositions. We performed Hive by Twin Cities musician and honorary choir member, Aby Wolf and Expiration by PFLC member Rachel Buchberger.
We were beyond excited when Chris Koza asked us to sing back up on a few Rogue Valley songs for their album release concert at the Fitzgerald Theater on July 29th. Rogue Valley’s newest album, “Radiate/Dissolve” is dreamy and although we are particularly fond of “The Brightest Stars,” “Loom” and Radiate/Dissolve”, the whole recording is gorgeous. Along with joining Rogue Valley on stage we got to visit backstage with our friends Aby Wolf and Jeremy Messersmith who along with the Laurel String Quartet, Chastity Brown and Joe Horton performed in the first set. The Twin Cities music scene is full of amazingly talented musicians and we were thrilled to be included in such a fantastic event. http://twincitiesmedia.net/blog/rogue-valley/
Some of us listened to the songs from our Prince mash up “When Doves Cry 4 U” when we were in high school or college while others were making up dance routines in elementary school and more than a couple PFLC ladies were not even born when these songs hit the charts. In honor or Prince’s birthday today, we share some of our thoughts and memories of this amazing musician and cultural icon.
A few years ago, Julie and I decided PFLC just *HAD* to have a prince song. But we couldn’t just decide on just one, so we decided to do a mash-up of songs from Purple Rain. Julie was a much bigger fan than I was at that point, so I really credit her with coming up with the original inspiration. She said “Purple Rain is like a symphony;” and she was right! The structure of the album, and the songs within it, really lent itself to a mash-up. (For example, we realized that a lot of the songs we wanted to mash up were already in the same key, and the songs change keys through the album like movements do in a symphony–pure genius!) The chorus and verses combine “When Doves Cry” and “I would Die 4 U.” There are tiny riffs stolen from “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Baby I’m a Star,” and “Purple Rain” appears in the coda / end section. Actually, the working title of the song was “2 BIG 2 FAIL” (we were genuinely scared that it wouldn’t work– thankfully we were WRONG) but we ended on “When Doves Cry 4 U” 🙂
So after we started performing the song for a few years, we got a nasty-gram from YouTube; a video of our Prince cover was flagged by Prince’s production company and removed as a copyright violation! Of course, we were all shocked and a little scared– but the overwhelming emotion was YESSSS HIS PURPLE HIGHNESS KNOWS WE EXIST!!! We love singing this song, it never gets old, and now it’s imbued with a whole new meaning.
Most of my family are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Prince was a member of the congregation my father, brother, mother, and step-mother belong to. Three years ago (four?), I attended the JW Memorial which is a celebration of the rebirth of Jesus (or something). Although I am not a JW, I will occasionally attend the Memorial because I know it’s important to my parents. For those of you unfamiliar with this religion, it’s literally dudes reading passages from the bible and then explaining how that applies to you.
The Memorial is always packed but the row behind us was empty. I thought that was weird. But then Prince and his entourage walked in just after the service started. I turned to see him walk in and gasped. I leaned towards my father and whispered, “That’s Prince.” My father looked at me like I was a nut and said, “Yes, I know.” He sat directly behind me and it took everything I had in me not to turn around and scream, “HOLY SHIT BALLS, YOU’RE PRINCE!!! I have SO many questions!” It only got worse when it was time to sing because all I wanted to do was turn around and give him all I’ve got which would definitely result in a record contract (duh).
I behaved myself. After the service, he shook hands, said hello to people, smiling pleasantly. I stood there staring at him like an idiot. Two years later, the exact same thing happened. Right behind me, could barely contain myself. My father has always said he was kind and humble. I saw that first hand. I just recall that he looked so content, like that is where he really felt at peace. He also held the door for my 97 yr old step-grandmother. We asked if she knew who that was and she said, “Well, he seems like a very nice young man, whoever he is.”
When I was younger I would drive to Prince’s house and park in front on the shoulder. I would just sit, parked there, baby-stalker-like, absorbing his nearness, and singing along to Prince cds. I always knew if he ever came out we would be bffs and sing together. When the security guards would come out to shoo me away, I would just drive over to Paisley Park where I would sit and sing along to Prince cds until I was waved off.
I remember begging my older brother to tag along with him and his friends to a midnight showing of Purple Rain a few months after it opened. The theater was packed and it became clear, even before the first musical performance, that most of the audience had already seen the movie. People were hooting and hollering and shouting out lines along with Prince (I mean, The Kid) and Morris Day. But the best part–during the first musical number, Let’s Go Crazy (after the “eulogy,” when the dance music kicks in)–was seeing just about everyone jump to their feet to dance and sing along. People knew all of the lyrics–some were even dancing in the aisles! This went on through the whole movie, including, of course, everyone slowly waving an arm back and forth above their heads during Purple Rain. It was sort of like a Purple Rocky Horror Picture Show (which I hadn’t even seen yet at that point). Best. “Concert”. Ever.
And one other memory: When Joe and I got married, the ceremony started with us walking down the aisle together to the first few minutes of Prince’s “Adore.” There were a lot of tears in April when I heard it on the radio.
Imagine a third grade Alissa: she’s not allowed to buy the Prince tape. Instead she choreographs dance routines to all the songs with friends when she is done with her class work and performs them during show and tell. She truly feels “Let’s Go Crazy” from her head to her toes
In the fall of my sophomore year in college my new friend from Chicago told me I had to listen to this super funky, sexy guy from Minnesota. She had “Dirty Mind” and “Prince” on cassette. My small town, New England 19 year old self had never heard such sexy lyrics. I had heard Al Green a few times on the radio but Prince did not leave a whole lot to the imagination.
During the summer of 1984 I lived in Cambridge, MA and worked at the Harvard Square Theater where “Purple Rain” began showing at the end of July. This theater was known as an art house cinema and more likely to show a Merchant/Ivory production than a rock musical. The most popular movie up to that point had been “The Pope of Greenwich Village” with Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts. Everyone who worked at the theater secretly wanted to be a filmmaker and none of us had to work too hard with the small audiences who attended the films until “Purple Rain” opened. We were not really equipped to handle the huge and rambunctious crowds who began showing up to sing and dance along to Prince. After one of the late night performances, one particularly rowdy audience member grabbed the fire house at the back of the theater during the film’s finale. My coworker and I were closing up the theater that night and the only ones working. We had to ask this very excited patron to please stop. He answered by high kicking my coworker in the face before exiting the theater.Truth be told, since I worked at the theater almost everyday I was a little tired of the soundtrack by the end of the summer but after a few years rest embraced it again.