December takes over the Duluth arts scene

Sam Black

This past week of Thanksgiving allowed me to drive 2500 miles between Duluth, MN, and Ft. Worth, TX, and attend absolutely no arts related events during my travel. That’s a little strange for me. I did manage to re-read Agatha Christie’s novel, Death in the Clouds (1935), and listen to Hercule Poirot talk too much, and make too many conclusions in the final chapter. The ice storm in central Oklahoma was quite real, and it felt good on Sunday evening to be back in Duluth, where only snow and sub-zero temperatures will probably entertain us for the next few months.

A cellist in motion: Spokane, D.C., Duluth

A cellist named Yvonne Caruthers played with the National Symphony Orchestra ( in D.C.) between 1978 and 2014, and now resides in Grand Marais, MN. You can hear her make music at the Bluefin Grill on Sunday, January 10 and February 14, between 6 and 8 pm. This classical series at Bluefin Grill on wintery Sunday evenings has been going on for about for about seven years, and I personally get to play several times each season. Come on up the shore, have a great meal, and listen to wonderful music.

Ms. Caruthers offered “In Search of the Perfect G-String” at the Underground stage of the Duluth Playhouse. With cello in hand, and tremendous confidence, she shared her world from Spokane to D.C. as musician and entertainer. Watch for more of her playing engagements in the coming months here in northeastern MN.

Duluth Playhouse and area college opportunities

Mary Poppins will open this very week at the Duluth Playhouse, but it has sold out, for the most part. Waiting lists are in motion, since someone is always absent, in case you want to get in on the performance. I’ll share more about my experience in next week’s issue of The Reader.

Local colleges, UMD, CSS, UWS, have musical offerings on December 5 through the 12. Check for choral and instrumental opportunities on their various web-sites. This coming Saturday will be the annual CHUM concert, taking place December 5 at 7pm at St. Michael’s Catholic Church on E. Superior St. Join Sara Thomsen and a host of other musicians for this festive celebration.

Abundant Messiah (Handel) performances

The DSSO will present music from George Handel’s oratorio, Messiah, on December 4th at Cathedral of Christ the King, in Superior, starting at 7pm, and again on December 5th at Pilgrim UCC on Fourth St., Duluth, starting at 2pm. And if you’d rather sing along this classic piece of music, join Shelley Gruskin at Mitchell Auditorium on the CSS campus Tuesday evening, December 15, starting at 7:30pm. Looks like there will be plenty of Messiah opportunities this month!

The magic of opera and the occult

In my love of the Metropolitan Opera, I cannot omit a special performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), which will take place at the Marcus’ Duluth Cinema on Saturday, December 12, beginning at 12:55pm. In 2006 this was the first of the HD series of live operas, so in this 10th anniversary season, the Met decided to share from its archives. You cannot spend a weekend in New York City for this price, and Met Opera is always at the top of the operatic spectrum.

Music and drama will be rich the next several weeks around the Twin Ports. Watch for announcements, and support as much local art as you can comfortably afford. Weather will have minimal effect on our arts scene