Community, cars, ticks highlight June 2017 Great Northern Radio Show

Aaron Brown portrays a battle-hungry centaur who signs up for the barrel races at the Itasca County Fair only to be redirected to the demolition derby. The sketch was part of the June 17, 2017 Great Northern Radio Show at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. (PHOTO: Grant Frashier)

On June 17, 2017 my Great Northern Radio Show broadcast live from the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. We had more than 500 people packed into the Wilcox Theater to hear our brand of music, comedy and storytelling in what we dub the “big, big show from your hometown.” This show ended up sounding nice and tight. You’ll like it.

You can now listen to the two consecutive episodes created from that broadcast. Hour 1 was “No Place Like Home,” which features slices of life from summertime in Grand Rapids. Hour 2 was “Summer Cruisin’,” an episode dedicated to car culture in Northern Minnesota.

Host Aaron Brown kicks off the June 17, 2017 broadcast of the Great Northern Radio Show by cuing actress Rachel Brandt. (PHOTO: Grant Frashier)

Both hours featured the music of Them Coulee Boys, violinist Olivia Skaja (an Itasca County native), and our fantastic house band Katie and the Cruisers, featuring an all-star lineup of Northern Minnesota musicians Katie Houg on vocals and piano, Eric Carlson on guitar and vocals, Eric Sundeen on drums and Aaron Schnackenberg on bass.

Them Coulee Boys of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, perform during the June 17, 2017 Great Northern Radio Show in Grand Rapids, Minnesota (PHOTO: Grant Frashier)

Olivia Skaja performs during the June 17, 2017 Great Northern Radio Show. (PHOTO: Grant Frashier)

I did monologues on ticks, the car wash, and the fact that I am the first man in my father’s line who failed to find interest in mechanical pursuits. My son Douglas was there to remind the audience that it merely skipped a generation.

Doug Brown entertains the audience as his dad Aaron looks on during the June 17, 2017 Great Northern Radio Show. (PHOTO: Grant Frashier)

I took a lot of fatherly pride in watching Doug land his lines in the show. And he had a blast, too. If I never get the Tonight Show I’m going to groom him Joe Kennedy-style for the job.

Nathan Bergstedt performs as the Cowardly Lion while other cast members look on during the June 17, 2017 Great Northern Radio Show. (PHOTO: Grant Frashier)

As always we featured talented actors from around Northern Minnesota. They included C.J. Anderson and Lauren Nickisch of Pequot Lakes, Nathan Bergstedt of Grand Rapids, Rachel Brandt of Ada, Brett Carter of Bagley, along with Doug and me. Our producers and stage staff included Sarah Bignall, Heidi Holtan and Tammy Bobrowsky.

Many people from Northern Community Radio make this show happen. If you would do one thing to help this totally free blog, please become a member of Northern Community Radio. They’ve invested much in my professional pursuits over the years. This wonderful media organization does original journalism, music programming, and cultural events in Northern Minnesota.

Otherwise, just enjoy the Great Northern Radio Show. Our next program is Oct. 14, 2017 at my beloved Hibbing Community College.

The Great Northern Radio Show tells the story of small towns, rural areas, and overlooked locations with original music, comedy and storytelling. We travel to towns all over Minnesota. I plan to keep going as long as there are stories on the cold winds and music in the hot summer air.

Or until my funding runs out. So far, so good.

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