Wine, beer, soda & bottled water for sale at the beverage tent.
Purchase 4 concert tickets at the same time and
receive a coupon for one bottle of wine, or four bottles of water.
Songwriter, Musician, Poet, Performer, Writer, Producer, Storyteller, Historian, Tent-show junkie "Man of the Cloth"
A professional musician and entertainer since the late 1960's, Warren Nelson's trail has taken him across the US, "both sides of 1970." From his first full-time professional group The Tenth Story Window (he met Elvis twice!), to Colorado where he spent five years writing and playing music in the mountains, to the Madison, Wisconsin area where he formed the Lost Nation String Band with Don Pavel. He moved to northern Wisconsin’s Bayfield Peninsula where he founded Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua in 1986. For 23 seasons, through 2008, Nelson was the ringmaster, centerpole, artistic director, resident writer and lead dreamer of the Big Top, a venue that is widely celebrated. He also started and hosted Tent Show Radio for 15 years, a nationally syndicated program.
Canvas had been in his dreams since he was a young boy in Fairmont, southern Minnesota, tagging along behind his Dad, who worked three or four county fairs a summer, five days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day in the machinery rows and the Dairy Barns. "And then there was the great State Fair," Nelson says. "I ran the bright swirling lights of the carney lots, went around and in and out of all the exhibit halls and caught every Grandstand Show and Thrill Cade. I got bit by the shine and good time. I wanted a stage from then on. I want to thank my mother who was a storyteller extraordinaire every hour of every ordinary day."
He began writing songs and performing at age 15, inspired by the Kingston Trio, Chad Mitchell Trio, Smothers Brothers, and many other folk artists. His ultimate hero and mentor was, still is and forever will be, Mason Williams.
Nelson’s career took a foretelling turn in 1976 with the production of "A Martin County Hornpipe," a concert music history show, singing and telling and showing by old photographs the story of his hometown. "In my journal, I had written an entry called "A Thing," states Nelson. "Combine your interests in history, storytelling, concert producing, songwriting, scriptwriting, humor and old photographs into a performance piece that reveals the history of place through music and visuals." It was the prototype of the unique shows that gave birth to and gives Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua it’s unique identity. He has long been admired for his songwriting, script works, and stage presence. For the story of how he got his start in producing historical musicals, you can watch the interview below.
"I grew up in Wisconsin and soon started my quest to find the best conservatory I could in a place where it didn't snow. Through a series of unbelievably lucky circumstances I got into the U.S.C. school of music, one of the leading conservatories in the world and a great "feeder school" for the recording industry there in L.A. I worked as a session musician in L.A. for 10 years, recording music in a staggering array of styles and situations. There I recorded for film and television as well as for singer/songwriters in the genres of Rock, Blues, Folk, New Age, Reggae, Latin Pop, Metal as well as for a lot for artists whose music didn't fit any category. I moved back to the mid-west in the 90's and presently I split my time between my original music project called "Chance" and recording for amazing projects that come my way." - Ed Willett
Ed Willett is a cellist, guitarist, composer, arranger, and vocalist. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in performance from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where he studied with cellist Eleanor Schoenfeld. While studying in Los Angeles, he had the great honor of being chosen principal cellist for the American Youth Symphony under Maestro Mehli Mehta and to participate in the world renowned Piatigorsky master class for cellists.
After graduation from U.S.C. he freelanced as a studio musician, participating in hundreds of recording sessions as well as performing in numerous symphony orchestras, including the Honolulu Symphony, the Pasadena Symphony, the Glendale Chamber Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra. He toured for several years for Columbia Artists Management with the Clarion Trio as part of their Community Concert Series until in 1986 he co-founded "Chance" with vocalist Cheryl Leah.
From 1986-1993 he worked in Los Angeles as a studio and orchestral musician as well as a member of the "Chance" quartet which lead to a record deal with "Rough Rider" records, a feature on the CBS hit T.V. show "Northern Exposure", countless Los Angeles performances and their 1st album release, "Something Ventured".
In 1993 Ed relocated to Wisconsin with wife and musical partner, Cheryl Leah.
From 1994-2011 he was a member of the "Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua", a festival house band and touring ensemble. He eventually became Music Director and co-Artistic Director for the organization. During this time he continued to tour with "Chance" as well as turning his attentions to writing orchestral music. Two notable premieres of this orchestral writing were the debut of his cello concerto with the Chequamegon Symphony Orchestra, for which he was the featured soloist, and the performance of his cantata, co-written with "Chance" co-founder Cheryl Leah and premiered with the "New Music" ensemble "Present Music".
In 2011 he began a two year stint of touring world wide with pop/rock icon Rickie Lee Jones. In 2013 he left Jones' band to resume work with "Chance" and to give it his full attention.
BRET & FRISK
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Sunday, August 5, 2018
Advanced Tickets: $10. Day of concert: $12.
Proceeds benefiting Dillman's Art Workshop Retreat Scholarship Fund.
Bring your own chairs/ blankets.
Wine, beer, soda & bottled water for sale at the beverage tent.
Purchase 4 tickets and receive a coupon for one bottle of wine.
Together they have put out 3 cds of adult contemporary music, mostly cover songs, but with a few of Bret's original songs mixed in. Their unique blend of acoustic instruments and vocal harmonies has gained them a loyal following of all ages wherever they have taken their act. Audiences are encouraged to make requests from their repertoire of over 400 songs, making their shows more personal than most music acts. Highlights of their musical career include sharing the stage with the band America, Three Dog Night, Charlie Daniels and performing for the owners of the St. Louis Cardinals, singing for a Denver Bronco golf fund-raising event, and last, but not least, performing hundreds of times for friends, family, and patrons of numerous venues. Bret and Frisk met in Breckenridge, Colorado and have performed throughout the US over the years.
“As we continue into our third decade of performing together, it is extremely heartwarming to have made so many special friends through our travels and performances. As we reflect over the past 25 years we realize how special you all are and that is what keeps us going! A special thanks to all of you who have supported us over the years. We are very blessed to have such special people in our lives! We are looking forward to seeing your smiling faces at our shows! "
If you have not seen a Bret and Frisk show, they pride themselves on having a classic acoustic show with over 450 memorized songs to chose from . . .no page flipping, drum machines, chord charts and other distractions. They play what the audience wants to hear.
Dillman’s Art Workshop Retreat was supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts