‘Willow Brae’ to present Celtic music concert Thursday at East Grand Forks Campbell Library

Duo performs traditional music of Irish and Scottish countryside

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Celtic harpist Andrea Stern and instrumentalist-vocalist Laura MacKenzie will perform, as "Willow Brae," in a free concert featuring the traditional music and instruments of Ireland and Scotland. The concert, intended for all ages, begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, at the East Grand Forks Campbell Library.
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GRAND FORKS – Celtic harpist Andrea Stern and instrumentalist-vocalist Laura MacKenzie, who perform as “Willow Brae,” will present a concert at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, at the East Grand Forks Campbell Library. The free concert is open to all ages.

MacKenzie, who plays various traditional wind instruments, and Stern are known for bringing airs, dance tunes and songs of the Irish and Scottish countryside to life, “conveying the warm resonance of traditional music and song, as well as the spark and excitement of dynamic dance tunes,” according to a news release.

“We fill the hour with traditional music and talk about all the instruments and the various types of music, including history and anecdotes along the way as appropriate, always tailoring to the context and make-up of the audience at hand,” MacKenzie said in an email to the Herald.

Stern, who has performed as a soloist and with orchestras in North and South America, has given concerts around the world as a featured artist on cruise ships. She received training on the concert harp at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory in Boston.

MacKenzie, who has been recognized for her work in traditional music with numerous honors and awards, enjoys a diverse career in performance, from stage shows and festivals to theater productions and studio work. MacKenzie plays an array of wooden flutes, various whistles, concertina, and bagpipes, and has been recognized as a Master Folk Artist by the Minnesota State Arts Board.


As “Willow Brae,” Stern and MacKenzie have been collaborating on concert performances, recording projects and community programs since 2002.

Thursday’s concert is made possible with support from COMPAS (Community Programs in the Arts), a St. Paul-based organization that provides award-winning arts education programs throughout Minnesota.

The East Grand Forks Campbell Library’s address is 422 Fourth St. N.W.

Concerts in the Garden

The North Dakota Museum of Art will present the band The Brevet in a concert beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, on the UND campus.

The casual, outdoor event marks the fourth and final performance in the “Concerts in the Garden” series. The opening band is “Walking Phoenix.”

Admission is $15; children 12 and younger are admitted without charge. Bring a lawn chair or blanket.

Food, beer and wine are available for purchase. Parking is free on campus after 4:30 p.m.

The Brevet, based in the heart of Orange County, California, “creates an ever-evolving sound that pushes stylistic boundaries,” according to a Museum announcement. The band’s “alternative rock sound draws authentically from folk, surf and rhythm-and-blues influence, but doesn’t shy away from thundering rhythms, blistering guitars, and progressive synths.”


The North Dakota Museum of Art address is 261 Centennial Drive.

Empire Arts Center presents film series

The Empire Arts Center is launching a summer film series at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7 with “Ride the Wild Surf,” a 1964 film starring Fabian and Tab Hunter.

The romantic drama, known for its exceptional big-wave surf footage, follows the story of three surfers who come to Hawaii’s Oahu Island to ride the biggest waves and compete against surfers from all over the world.

Julie Hess will host an audience discussion after the film showing.

Other films shown in this series are: Aug. 14 – “Meatballs,” a 1979 film with Bill Murray, and Aug. 21 – “Dirty Dancing,” a 1987 film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Both films will be shown at 6 p.m.

Tickets, $8 each, are available online at or at the door. Series passes, for $21, are available by calling the arts center at (701) 746-5500.

The Empire Arts Center address 415 DeMers Ave.

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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