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Austin library to host free concert

Musician Lauren Pelon and poet/essayist Gary Holthaus have teamed up to offer a new program called "Story of Music, Stories from Home."

A free concert with the pair will be held at 7 p.m. Friday in the Austin Public Library. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The event is funded by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Pelon will play a variety of instruments, from the lute, lyre and concertina to recorders, gemshorn and electric wind instruments.

Both the music and the readings offer perceptions of the natural world and celebrate a sense of place, community and home.


Pelon has performed throughout the U.S. and in China, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Kazakhstan and Australia. She's won recognition not only for her diverse use of instruments, but for her soprano voice and arrangements of music from many countries and cultures.

She's performed with the Philadelphia String Quartet; on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" and at the Russian Institute for the History of the Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia. Pelon was named the 2001 Artist of the Year by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council .

In 2010, she received the Artist Initiative Award from the Minnesota State Arts Board .

Holthaus has four books of poems, three books and three collections of essays, all of them rooted in the earth.

He recently worked with the Experiment in Rural Cooperation to write "From the Farm to the Table," a book about agriculture in southeastern Minnesota. He was also the first director of bilingual education for the state of Alaska.

"We're so pleased that we're able to present this performance in our community," said Ann Hokanson, director of the library.

"Lauren and Gary combine such unique talents that this program will remind us of the importance of music and stories in creating community and celebrating home," she said. "It's sure to be entertaining, though-provoking and illuminating."

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