Sidewalk Poetry 2016 Capstone Event & Rob Hardy Announced as Poet Laureate of Northfield

Grand Event Center

Last evening (August 23) was one of August’s highlights: the Capstone Event for the Northfield Sidewalk Poetry Contest. Unlike the past five years, when the event has been held in Bridge Square with music by local favorites, Bonnie and the Clydes, this year’s event combined music with poetry in a new way. Readings of the 2016 winning poems were interspersed with outstanding musical offerings made possible by the Bridge Chamber Music Festival. David Carter, a professor of music at St. Olaf College, founder of BCMF, and a new member of Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission, who introduced the musical component of the evening.

The Artaria String Quartet played an early lullabye by George Gershwin and later the second movement of  “String Quartet #7 in C major” by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. (Ray Shows and Nancy Oliveros, violins; Annalee Wolf, viola; and Rebecca Merblum, cello.)

The remarkably inventive and sonorous Parker Ousley, who sings like an angel and plays the cello like no one else, sang and played a range of works including Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” Arthur Hamilton’s “Cry Me a River,”  Lorenz Hart’s “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” Ben Folds’ “Sentimental Guy, ” and Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” He spoke eloquently of the influence of Ella Fitzgerald and the sonic possibilities of the electrified and unbowed cello.

Parker Ousley

The evening concluded with a number of lively and unusual arrangements of Brazilian music by the Glider Trio (Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Kevin Clements, bass; and Erik Hanson, drums.) Their selections ranged from an Eliane Elias arrangement of “The Girl from Ipanema” to a medley of works from the classic 1959 jazz film Black Orpheus. (The Glider Trio will be performing other works at St. Olaf College this coming Friday evening.) Black Orpheusa retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, was an especially appropriate choice for an evening of poetry and music.

All nine winning poems were read by their authors: Steve McCown (2 poems), Barbara Belobaba, Orick Peterson, Richard Waters, Julia Braulick, Lori Stoltz, Anne Running Sovik, and Becky Boling.

Two of my all-time favorite poets, Lori Stoltz and Julia Braulick

Two of my all-time favorite poets, Lori Stoltz and Julia Braulick

Emcee Bonnie Jean Flom, Chair of Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission, also made an historic announcement: the City is establishing a Poet Laureate position, and Rob Hardy has been named to serve the three-year inaugural term beginning September 1, 2016.

It was a vibrant celebration on many fronts.

Julia Reading

Both Sidewalk Poetry and the Bridge Chamber Music Festival are supported by generous grants from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC), with funds from the people of Minnesota through the Legacy Amendment. Sidewalk Poetry would not be possible without the enthusiastic in-kind, volunteer, and moral support of the City of Northfield (especially the Engineering Department’s staff), the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library, and the Arts and Culture Commission.

Legacy Logo ColorFinal

Wishing you a happy conclusion to the Dog Days of your summer, wherever they take you!  Leslie

Photo taken in front of City Lights Bookstore, haunt of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and site of many poetry readings (Leslie Schultz 1988)

Photo taken in front of City Lights Bookstore, haunt of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and site of many poetry readings (Leslie Schultz 1988)

 

4 thoughts on “Sidewalk Poetry 2016 Capstone Event & Rob Hardy Announced as Poet Laureate of Northfield

  1. Thanks, Beth. I hope you have a chance to hear Parker Ousley yourself–you would definitely appreciate his amazingness. He talked about his love of jazz being sparked by an Ella Fitzgerald record his parents would play when company came, and I thought of how your parents took you to her concerts. Leslie

  2. Wonderful post, Leslie. Interesting and envy-inducing to read about the rich combination of poetry and music right there in Northfield and available to everyone. This is the kind of news I’d like to read every day from around the world!
    Thanks for giving me a large shot of good news and inspiration!

  3. Northfield continues to be a happenin’ place for the arts! Congratulations to Julia on having another of her poems selected for Sidewalk display.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *