New Canby Arts Council to kick off music series

There was a feeling to have more arts and culture in Canby, said City Administrator Nicholas Johnson, so the city decided to take some action.

This past spring, the Canby Arts Council was born, and one of the organization’s first ventures is Music on Mondays at the city’s Central Park, featuring music from area artists. There will be four concerts, and each one starts at 7 p.m.

Ruth Ascher, who is a member of the newly-forming Canby Arts Council, said it’s been quite a while since there’s been a concerted arts effort in Canby.

“What appeals to me is we have a beautiful park,” Ascher said, adding that it’s a nice venue for events. “I thought a summer music series, with a goal to feature local or regional artists, and to have different types of music.”

Starting off the music series on June 24 is Jerry Ostensoe of Sacred Heart. He is a folk singer and songwriter. Ascher said she knew about Ostensoe and his music while she served on the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council’s board. Ostensoe is a Canby native, she said, and some of his songs are about growing up there.

“I think having his genre of music would be a good launch to the series,” Ascher said. “He has an interesting approach.”

Queen Colleen and the Frey Daddies will perform on July 8. The group is a four-piece R&B band that performs cover songs of Aretha Franklin, Buddy Guy and Etta James, among others.

“I heard that group a few years back in Montevideo,” Ascher said. Ascher said the group’s R&B sound will appeal to audiences and “there’s opportunities for dancing.”

On Monday, July 22 will be a gospel music fest featuring two area groups – Randy and Joyce Meyer, who live near Canby, and the Grace Life Old Time Gospel Band from Marshall.

Rounding out the series on Aug. 19 is the duo of Ross Anderson on clarinet and saxophone and Pete Lothringer on guitar. The two play jazz and standards.

One of the goals the arts council has is finding a venue for a visual arts display, Ascher said, along with trying to get different kinds of art in Canby.

Ascher and Johnson attended the Rural Arts and Culture Summit in Morris earlier this summer, getting ideas from presenters for the Canby Arts Council.

“Art isn’t just a display or a performance,” Ascher said. “I’m intrigued by the concept of public art.”

There’s also the possibility of pairing with the Canby Chamber for its Oktoberfest event, Johnson said, along with other activities this winter.

Johnson said the Canby Arts Council is also talking with SMAHC about organizational grants.

The arts council is still in it formation stage, Ascher said, and it is looking for volunteers.

“We’re still working on getting wholly organized,” Johnson said.