Rusty Swing Set

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Welcome to the first of the free concerts held in conjunction with the Great River Shakespeare Festival. Tonight’s concert was Rusty Swing Set (30’s and 40’s swing music), and it was sponsored by the Edstrom family and the Alumni Association. There is more to this casual association than you know; Josephine Edstrom is an alumni–and she is turning 100. But Jo graduated from Winona Teaching College, back in 1930. They were different times, and there were different rules–one of them being: if you don’t come to graduation, you don’t get a diploma. Jo Edstrom launched her career immediately after graduating, which meant she was teaching and not available for her ceremony…and so tonight, at a concert of music for the 30’s,  a commencement ceremony was held and President Ramaley presented the degree and other honors. It was a great celebration (and there were a few jokes about Jo needing to see the career counselor now that she was finished with school)–and better yet, the family happily donated birthday cake. Theatre du Mississippi’s free concert was thus transformed into an enormous birthday and graduation party!

I love this town.

For the rest, the music was lively and fun, held under the pavilion on the green, and the food was provided by local coffee shop Mugby Junction. That is owner Carew Halleck at left, grill-master extraordinaire. Whole marinated chicken, flame grilled to perfection, and brats with sauerkraut: very summer picnic…though you are welcome to bring your own (and many did). Speaking of picnic, I hear a rumor that one of these concerts will be fed by “picnic on a stick.” I am not sure what this means, but after my visit to last year’s Minnesota State Fair, I discovered that many things can come on sticks. Like bacon. And fried pickles. Who knew?

The next Concert on the Green is tomorrow night: French Cafe Music. Ah. Summer.

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