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Musician hosts residency in Lanesboro

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Chris Koza will perform in Lanesboro Saturday.

Minnesota musician Chris Koza will play an intimate, listening-room show within the St. Mane Theatre in downtown Lanesboro at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Twin Cities-based singer-songwriter’s show will act as a capstone event to a mini-residency he’s hosting throughout the weekend. Koza said he is looking forward to the grant-funded events, especially hoping that music lovers, students and local residents will get to explore, learn and connect through his music.

What can people expect when listening to your music?

People sometimes really celebrate what I do, but the music that I make isn’t just roots, blues or country music. There’s an acoustic guitar present, but it’s not exactly folk music. I classify it as Americana Pop music, because I have a lot of interests, all while using the acoustic guitar.

Being based in the Twin Cities, how do you find your own identity within and outside of that music scene?

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It’s hard to not think about the work that I do and not consider the context of my peers, colleagues and community. But the best work that I do – which pushes and challenges me – is work where I can disassociate myself with the immediate community. The Twin Cities arts community is super supportive and rich, but if I ever feel stuck, it’s a good time to look outside of that space.

What do you enjoy most about residencies like this?

For me, when I connect with others, I find it’s a lot easier if I can spend time with them outside of an hour of watching me do what I do. With that interaction, you get to know the person that’s also the artist. It not only makes me feel more endeared to the work I do, but it also gives me an opportunity to dissolve any mythos that might exist around being an artist or what that process is like. Talking with students, younger artists and others, it’s an opportunity for exchange.

Out of the variety of events for your weekend, which one makes you most excited?

Other than working with younger visual artists, what I’m looking to the most is the poetry and songwriting workshop (on Thursday). We have a chance to talk about the choices we make as artists. Most people don’t want to get deep into eight words, but in a workshop like that, that part of the work will be fully explored.

Why is this type of arts programming is important, in any community?

I think everybody values music and art, but they don’t always see the connection between the benefits and the people that produce the work. So a residency helps people realize that there’s someone behind the art. That person did something of value, so therefore, people that do art get noticed as being involved in a valuable career, and they don’t get swept under the rug.

If nothing else, what’s one thing people should definitely make sure to see during your residency this weekend?

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Go to the concert on Saturday — it will have my band and hopefully some singers from the community. It will be an opportunity to see some very thoughtfully constructed music in an ideal environment within the St. Mane Theatre, and it’s a time to connect with people from different careers, demographics and lives that might not otherwise connect. If nothing else, it will be a good couple of hours to get together, set aside everything else and just experiencing the work.

Thursday, July 12

6:30 p.m. – Poetry and Songwriting Workshop at the High Court Loft. An Open Mic at High Court Pub will follow the workshop

Friday, July 13

7:30 p.m. – "Over the Back Fence" Variety Show at the St. Mane Theatre, featuring Koza as a musical guest 

Saturday, July 14

7:30 p.m. – Koza's capstone concert, featuring a full backing band, in the listening room environment of the St. Mane Theatre

Related Topics: MUSICART
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