Our Rhinelander reception was spectacular. After an eight-hour drive from Minnesota, we were greeted by a huge, shining orb—a giant moon just one day before the exact date of the November “supermoon.” It hovered just above the lake in front of two cabins that were the final stop of Lorraine Klaasen’s tour, and our host for the week, Nicolet College Theater Director Jim Nuttall, took a quick snapshot. The week proved to be as marvelous as that beautiful moon and our hard-working host had promised.
When Lorraine Klaasen issued her signature, “Good morning, everyone!” in a way to elicit a strong response from each and every student present at Lac du Flambeau Public School, several students instead said, “Boozhoo!” Several ensemble members speak French and thought they heard “Bonjour.” However, the Native American students had greeted their South African visitors in the Ojibwe language.
The strong beat and harmonious melodies of South Africa enraptured World Fest audiences in Minnesota as they did in the Dakotas and Iowa. However, the stories Lorraine Klaasen and her instrumentalists share are perhaps what make their visit unforgettable to many Midwesterners.
Several opportunities for deeper conversations—from the well-attended reception on the first day in town to an impromptu post-concert party in our hotel lobby—happened during the Wahpeton, North Dakota, residency last week.
North Dakota’s big blue welcome sign on the freeway was an accurate harbinger of things to come during week three of the Lorraine Klaasen tour with Arts Midwest World Fest. People of all ages greeted the ensemble with song our first three days in Wahpeton, ND.
The Croswell Opera House in Adrian, MI, is going through some significant renovations right now, but that didn’t prevent the Croswell and the region from giving Anda Union a wonderful welcome and week in the community area.
Just as South Africa became the “Rainbow Nation” when anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela accepted his country’s presidency in 1994, the Community Life Center at Brooking’s United Methodist Church became the place for a rainbow gathering at the end of Lorraine Klaasen’s second residency week. The South Dakota community danced to Township music as it celebrated the culture of a faraway country.
Everyone in Forest City, Iowa—from at least one toddler to elementary, high school, and university students as well as senior citizens—let Lorraine Klaasen know her music not only touched their hearts but also taught them important lessons.