Rush River Ramblers to play for dance

RIVER FALLS -- The 2019-2020 River Falls community barn dance series continues 7-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, with one of western Wisconsin’s favorite old-time string bands, the Rush River Ramblers.

The barn dance, previously held at the Renaissance Academy on Maple Street, has been temporarily moved to Meyer Middle School while the other building undergoes renovation.

Meyer Middle School is located at 230 N. Ninth St. Barn dance attendees can park in the south lot and enter by door No. 305 on the south side. The dances are held in the school’s spacious cafeteria area.

No prior dancing experience is required. A skilled caller teaches steps to newcomers and more seasoned dancers alike. Partners are optional. All dancing is social and singles are welcome. Children are especially encouraged to participate in the opening family-friendly segment 7-8 p.m. The second part of the evening may feature somewhat more advanced dances.

Other dates in the 2019-2020 season are Saturday, Feb.15, with the Barn Cats; and Saturday, March 21, with the Woolly Buggers.

The barn dance series is volunteer-operated and jointly sponsored by River Falls Community Arts Base and River Falls Parks and Recreation. Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for 12 and under. Inexpensive refreshments are available. For information, visit

‘Ruth’s Story’ part of ‘Shayna Maidel’ matinees

HUDSON —“A Shayna Maidel” (A Pretty Girl), a heartfelt drama by Barbara Lebow, will be performed Jan. 17 through Feb. 2 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 2 p.m.

This story reunites two sisters, one who escaped the Holocaust with her father, and the other who survived it. Beautifully woven symbols of mirrors and mirroring, survivor guilt and jealousy, and family relationships interact in compelling and tangible ways.

Following the Sunday matinee performances on January 19 and 26, Rob Wertheimer, a Hudson attorney, will present “Ruth's Story,” an account of his mother's experience as a “hidden child” during the Holocaust.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $13 for students of all ages for this production in the Black Box Theater. Reservations may be made by contacting The Phipps ticket office at 715-386-8409 or online at

Phipps theater classes for young people

HUDSON — Theater classes for students in grades 1-6 will be offered on four Saturday mornings, Feb. 8-29.

"Mother Goose on the Loose!," for students in grades 1-3, will be offered from 9-10 a.m. Participants will learn the basics of creative dramatics through movement, voice, and their active imaginations. Using the familiar fairy tales of "Mother Goose" as source material, young actors will create their own unique story based on these adventures. The final class will include a presentation of skills learned for family and friends. The fee is $50.

"Mental Floss Improv Class," for students in grades 4-6, will be offered from 10:15-11:30 a.m. This energetic class will lead students through the controlled chaos world of improvisation. Participants will learn the basics of storytelling through theater games and explore the use of movement and voice to create distinctive characters. Young actors will be guided to develop their own unique story. The final class will include a presentation of skills learned for family and friends. The fee is $63.

Instructor Charles Fraser has taught creative dramatics and summer camps at The Phipps since 2010, including "The Snow Queen" last summer. He has taught a broad range of theater disciplines in elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities across the United States for the Guthrie Theater. Additionally, he is a teaching artist with Upstream Arts, Hennepin Theatre Trust, Avalon Charter School, Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, Saint Louis Park High School, and he is an adjunct professor of theater at Concordia University. As an actor, he has worked for the Guthrie, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, History Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Minnesota Shakespeare Project, Playwrights’ Center, Brave New Workshop, Illusion Theater, and Disney Cruise Line.

Registrations may be made by calling 715-386-2305 or going online to Enrollments may also be made by mailing the fee(s) to The Phipps Center, 109 Locust Street, Hudson, Wisconsin 54016.

Phipps Choral Society invites singers

HUDSON — The Phipps Choral Society invites singers, especially men, to be a part of its 40th season in a performance of Mozart’s beloved Requiem, under the direction of music director Thomas Dahle 2 p.m. Sunday, April 5, at Bethel Lutheran Church.

Although the sign-up numbers are at near capacity for sopranos and altos, there is still room for more basses, as well as a few more tenors, on the roster. No audition is required. Previous choral experience and basic musicianship skills will be of benefit.

Collaborating with the chorus for the Requiem are professional vocalists Angela Grundstad, soprano; Krista Costin, mezzo; Zachary Colby, tenor; and Brody Krogman, baritone. The orchestral accompaniment will be provided by The River City Symphony, directed by Dr. Melvin Olson. The orchestra will also perform Mozart’s Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” and Mozart’s 40th Symphony as part of this celebratory concert.

Rehearsals for the requiem will be 2:30-5p.m. Sundays, beginning Feb. 2,. at The Phipps Center. Participants are expected to make a commitment to not miss more than two of the nine rehearsals. Attendance at the final rehearsal 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4, is mandatory.

To help defray production costs, there is a non-refundable membership fee of $20 per singer.

To register for the Phipps Choral Society, go to For further information, call 715-386-2305.

‘Busybody’ auditions at The Phipps

HUDSON — Auditions for “Busybody,” a mystery-comedy by Jack Popplewell, will be held on Monday and Wednesday, Jan. 20 and 22, 6:30-9 p.m. If needed, callbacks will be 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27.

Set in London, a corpse is found in an office and then vanishes. The verbose cleaning woman who discovered the body provides both sarcasm and advice to the detectives and seems to discover the right evidence along the way. In true “whodunit” fashion, everyone is a suspect in this well-written comedy.

Director Beth Reidenbach is looking for four men and four women of various ages. Strong characterizations will be considered over specific age suggestions. Reidenbach has staged over 20 productions at The Phipps in a variety of genres, most recently “Sister Act.”

Rehearsals will start on Sunday, Feb. 16 and be held Sundays, 6-9 p.m., and Mondays – Thursdays, 6:30-9:30 p.m. The show runs April 3-19, with eight performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. There will not be a performance on Easter Sunday.

Everyone auditioning will be asked to read from audition sides, which can be downloaded when scheduling an audition. Actors should bring a resume and headshot, if available, along with the audition form, which can also be downloaded, and all known conflicts.

To schedule an audition time, go to Character descriptions may also be found on the website.

‘It Takes a Village’ annual concert for Haiti benefit

RIVER FALLS -- The annual “It Takes a Village” concert will be 4 p.m. Feb. 16 at Ezekiel Lutheran Church. The River Falls Ecumenical Choir, the United Church of Christ Choir, the River Falls Community Choir, the Pierce County Ecumenical Choir and the Croix Chordsmen Barbershop Chorus will each present two numbers and then join as a 120-plus voice mass choir for two final numbers.

An update on the recently built Ganthier, Haiti school and orphanage will be given and a free-will offering taken. A dessert reception will follow the concert. All proceeds will go to support the students and teachers of the Ganthier school and the children of the orphanage.