by Carol Masters, Becketwood Member
Wednesday nights at Becketwood recently have shown us what a gift this place is to us residents. Two very different but equally outstanding performances paired skilled and energetic musicians with an exuberant audience.
On Wednesday, July 26 the Minneapolis-based jazz group Mill City Trio, in this configuration guitar, violin and bass, played in the Wellington Room. Each member was featured for a section or entire piece, but the instruments blended and conversed in a smooth, swinging sound.
A veteran of A Prairie Home Companion, Gary Schulte, violinist, is sought after as a jazz violinist and has done extensive collaborative work with groups such as Ancestor Energy poetry-jazz with Louis Alemayehu, Ballet of the Dolls, and Theatre de la Jeune Lune.
Bassist Matt Senjem also has played with many Twin Cities bands and musicians including many of the local Hot Club groups such as Twin Cities Hot Club and Papa John and the Hot Club of East Lake Street. Guitarist Nick Kiekenapp is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and has a Master’s Degree in Jazz/jazz studies from Bowling Green State University. Born and raised in St. Cloud, he takes musical inspiration from American Roots music to current R&B and everything in between. The trio has played together at the Minnehaha Park summer concert series and collaborates in many other venues.
On August 2, we celebrated the return of Paraguayan Harpist Nicholas Carter. Nicolas learned to play the harp in Paraguay, a country with a long tradition of harp music. He has performed in Europe, Latin America and the United States, recording and composing for more than 25 years as a solo artist and with Latin American and world music ensembles.
His engaging style, observations and reflections on musical history and culture, and exquisite technique provided an extraordinary experience. The performance integrated an extensive repertoire of Latin American harp music with storytelling and humor. His tale of the invention of the first harp had us spellbound. We are lucky to enjoy such exceptional musicians at Becketwood.