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January 27 at 6 PM

Zach Baltich 
Featuring Alec Osthoff

Get ready for an extraordinary evening of sonic exploration as Duluth-based percussionist and composer Zack Baltich takes center stage, featuring the literary talents of Alec Osthoff. Immerse yourself in a musical journey that transcends genres, blending urban and rural influences, classical and pop elements, and remote sites with amplified sounds.

Zack Baltich, a visionary artist known for his inventive approach to percussion, invites you to experience a selection of works spanning the past decade, including unreleased compositions and highlights from his groundbreaking collaboration with Arena Dances in 2023. Drawing inspiration from diverse landscapes and unconventional performance spaces, Zack has mastered the art of finding symbiotic relationships in seemingly disparate concepts.

In addition to his solo endeavors, Zack has collaborated with renowned choreographer Mathew Jaczewski's Arena Dances, progressive folk trio Sprig of That, and other innovative projects. Supported by institutions such as the American Composer’s Forum, Cedar Cultural Center, Minnesota State Arts Board, Prairie Ronde Artist Residency, and Loghaven Artist Residency, Zack has left an indelible mark on the contemporary music scene.

Sharing the stage is Alec Osthoff, an author rooted in the landscapes of Ely, Minnesota, whose upcoming novel, "Sawtooths," delves into the mysteries of an Iron Range mining town. Alec, a recipient of the Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, will read excerpts from his highly anticipated debut, offering a glimpse into the compelling narrative that explores love, loss, and the secrets that bind us to our origins.

Don't miss this unique convergence of music and literature, where the rhythms of Zack Baltich's percussion harmonize with Alec Osthoff's evocative storytelling. Join us for an unforgettable night of creativity, empathy, and conviction, supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board and enriched by the cultural heritage fund.

Troy takes up hosting these big parties, always near disasters where none of us realize how cooped up we were until we’ve done what we shouldn’t. So many of us laid off from the mine or the timber cuts, all growing that wild dog look of someone unused to being unabused. We don’t know what to do with our new freedom. It makes us manic. So we go to Troy’s where we pour gas on fires and get so drunk our friends force us to sleep on our sides. Scooby takes people into the swamp where they suck whippets and the snow is soft enough to catch them when they fall. One night, we discover gallons of old paint and take turns slow pitching them to Scooby while he swings a sledgehammer in the far corner of Troy’s garage. The cans crumple when he connects, burst like heavy fruit, pattering primer and varnish across the party. Drops land in the rafters and on our faces and the concrete. Scooby bunts a half gallon of green weatherproofing. It springs from the can like an animal released before disappearing into the swirling mix. By the time we run out of paint, we’ve backed ourselves to the door trying to keep out of the soup that now looks threatening, the kind of muck you wouldn’t get out of. Scooby takes slow steps through it, unafraid but unsteadied by the thick fumes and the fatigue of swinging the hammer. He drags his feet, the paint rolling in marbled waves over his boots. It gets harder to think over the smell. But we’re afraid of him. We’re out of cans to throw, so we chuck our empty beer bottles, and they crash against his hammer or the floor. There’s glass everywhere—in our hair and our clothes and pockets. He’s close now, still swinging, shows no sign of stopping even when we’re inches from the sledge. Whatever made this into a game has dried up, and we’re going to get clubbed if we don’t stop him. I see my opening and lunge, get him in a bear hug with his arms mostly pinned down, both of us sliding across the pooling mess. The Mathersons pry the hammer away. And the crowd presses everyone out into the snow and the air. That incredible air. This is what breaths are supposed to feel like. The stars are close tonight in the cold. We all stay laid out, the soft snow absorbing the sound of our breathing. We could spend the whole night here, letting the beauty of the Northwoods lift our hearts, dwelling in the joy of it. But instead we get up and laugh at our snow angels stained blue and green, and then we dig so deep into the brandy that before midnight half of us are puking like settlers who are never going to reach Oregon.             I wish I could say stuff like this only happens on occasion. But we’re all too stir crazy to keep still. We’d reenact the scene tomorrow if we weren’t out of paint.


Big Time Jazz Orchestra

February 2 at 7 PM

Prepare for an unforgettable evening as NLAA kicks off the Ely Winter Festival with a Big Band Bang! The second installment of our Northern Lakes Concert Series is set to take place on February 2nd at 7 PM at the Washington Auditorium, featuring the renowned Big Time Jazz Orchestra from Duluth, Minnesota.

Join us for a night of exceptional music in the heart of winter. The Washington Auditorium, filled with the captivating sounds of the 19-piece Big Time Jazz Orchestra, promises an experience that will resonate long after the final note.

Ticket prices for this extraordinary event are as follows: $25 for General Admission, $20 for NLAA Members and Winter Festival Badge Holders, $15 for Students, and $10 for Children 12 and under.

Founded in 1990, the Big Time Jazz Orchestra is more than just a musical ensemble; it's a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to supporting the community through jazz performance and education. Comprising the finest big band jazz musicians in the Northland, the orchestra includes collegiate and school instrumental music instructors, as well as former military band musicians.

Their musical repertoire is a celebration of jazz masters, featuring selections from Thad Jones, Duke Ellington, Maynard Ferguson, and more. The orchestra collaborates with local schools and university bands, raising funds for non-profits and contributing to the cultural fabric of the community.

The Big Time Jazz Orchestra's journey includes notable performances, such as playing for the MN Music Educators Conventions and the 50th-anniversary convention of the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA) in 2002. In 2017, they had the honor of performing a joint concert with the Duluth Superior Symphony.

By attending this event, you not only treat yourself to an evening of extraordinary music but also contribute to the orchestra's mission of supporting the community through jazz performance and education. With the support of the Arrowhead Arts Council, the orchestra has produced two CDs featuring original material and jazz standards.

Tickets for this unique experience are selling fast. Don't miss your chance to secure a seat for a night of jazz, swing, and the timeless magic of the Big Time Jazz Orchestra. Let's come together and kick off the Ely Winter Festival with a Big Band Bang!


We look forward to seeing you there!

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