The special concert was recorded in Appleton’s historic Opera House and is a part of an ongoing series of broadcasts featuring the musicians of western and southwestern Minnesota. Past On Stage concerts have featured Janelle Faiman of Olivia, Jerry Ostensoe of Granite Falls and Charlie Roth of Madison.
Emily Youngdahl Wright and her husband Doug Wright lived for several years in Montevideo and have recently moved to the Twin Cities. While they lived in Montevideo, the Wrights and their friend Bob Berg (who comprised the NE Triangle band) played regularly at the Java River Coffeehouse. In 2010, Doug and Emily began teaching ukulele to anyone who would show up for practice and play along. In the fall of 2014 they began playing ukulele with classically trained musicians and this group became Ukulele Drive.
The program features many of Emily’s original compositions including “Horseman’s Watch”, “Farewell” “Way Out West” and “Star.” Emily’s sublime soprano voice is accompanied by an accomplished ukulele, guitar and bass orchestra featuring Doug Wright, Bob Berg, Rocky Mjos and Julie Elhard. Lush vocal harmonies by Peggy Larson and Allen Buchanan enhance the performance. Larson, who is a jazz singer, is also featured on a performance of her own original composition “Half of the Sky.”
Under the direction of Pioneer's Timothy Hale Bakken, On Stage offers an opportunity for local musicians, singers and performers to share their talents with the region. Pioneer is always looking for local artists in western and southwestern Minnesota who perform original music and who have an established following to feature as On Stage artists.
Funding for On Stage is provided in part by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.