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Trombone Shorty joins Sue McLean lineup; Hopkins Center announces nine-concert season

ALSO: The Trademark Theater announces new season; SPCO offers livestreamed concerts free; and more.

Trombone Shorty
Trombone Shorty will perform this Sunday, Sept. 5, at the Hilde Performance Center, an outdoor venue in Plymouth.
Photo by Mathieu Bittoni

Missing from Sue McLean & Associates’ original announcement of its summer 2021 not-in-the-Zoo concert series was a night with Trombone Shorty, who has been a Music in the Zoo regular – or at least has seemed like one, his presence and personality are so large. Shorty and his band, Orleans Avenue, have squeezed Minnesota into the tour for their latest album (and Blue Note Records debut), “Parking Lot Symphony.” See them this Sunday, Sept. 5, at the Hilde Performance Center, an outdoor venue in Plymouth. Local artist L.A. Buckner and BiG HOMiE will open. Gates at 6 p.m., show at 7. FMI and tickets ($56.81). Seating is not provided, so bring a lawn chair or blanket.


All upcoming shows by the New Standards and the Suburbs have been canceled while keyboardist/singer Chan Poling undergoes unspecified treatment at Mayo Clinic. From the Suburbs’ Facebook page: “All shows can be considered postponed as his goal is to be back to work before the end of this year.” And the New Standards’ Facebook page: “We are working to reschedule shows even now and are sorry to mess up your plans. … At present these postponements do not include certain December shows that would break our hearts to bag.” They’re referring here to the Standards’ wildly popular holiday concerts, usually held at the State Theatre to sold-out audiences.


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Just two weeks after tickets went on sale to the Blenders’ “Holiday Soul Tour 2021” at the Pantages, the group canceled the whole thing. From their Facebook page: “With current and anticipated restrictions, and more importantly safety and wellness at stake, we feel it’s the right thing to do. … This is entirely our decision based on what is best for us, our band, our crew and our fans, so please do not place any blame on venues that are doing their best to navigate these times. We encourage you to continue to support them.” When last year’s holiday shows were canceled, the Blenders put together a pretty great virtual concert series. The Facebook post mentions “an exciting project planned for this year.”


After presenting a virtual season in 2020-21 – an updated audioplay version of its 2018 production of “Understood” and digital workshops for two new projects – Trademark Theater has announced its 2021-22 season, and everything about it sounds unconventional and interesting.

In November: a virtual reading of “5,” JuCoby Johnson’s new play about gentrification, racial tensions, friendships and the collapse of a community. The reading will be a partnership with the Playwrights’ Center. Trademark and Johnson have worked together for a year on the play, which is already a 2021 finalist in two important playwrights conferences.

Meghan Kreidler of Kiss the Tiger
Photo by Christoper Goyette
Meghan Kreidler of Kiss the Tiger
Every Wednesday night in January 2022 at Icehouse: “Stone Baby,” a live rock show presented with Kiss the Tiger. Trademark’s associate artistic director, Tyler Mills, said in a statement, “Kiss the Tiger is the perfect group to get up on stage and break the rules on what live performance is supposed to be.” Led by multitalented actor/lead singer Meghan Kreidler, KTT is also getting hotter by the minute and recently played the State Fair’s “Music on a Stick” concert at the Grandstand. “Stone Baby” will be a fusion of rock and spoken word.

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In May 2022: the first staged reading of “The Reunion: A Murder Mystery.” Trademark’s first fully comedic production will reimagine a classic murder mystery for a modern audience. “We wanted to explore what a murder mystery is for our generation and maybe create some tropes of our own along the way,” Mills said.

Trademark will also continue three commissioned projects behind the scenes: Harrison David Rivers’ “What You Can’t Keep, Part 2,” “Four Measures” by Kira Obolensky and David Darrow, and “Outlaws” by Keith Hovis, whose “Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant” went from Fringe hit to a full-length play that premiered at the Park Square Theatre in 2019. Maybe we’ll see them in 2022-23.


Hopkins Center for the Arts posted an early peek at its 2021-22 concert season on Facebook and its website in mid-April. It returned late last week with an official announcement – and some exciting new additions. Here’s how the line-up looks now:

Oct. 16: Taj Mahal. This evening with the two-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, film composer, multi-instrumentalist and consummate bluesman has been rescheduled from 2020-21.

Nov. 20: Squirrel Nut Zippers. Also rescheduled, the Zippers’ quirky, zany mix of jazz, folk, and punk rock with roots in New Orleans is a guaranteed good time.

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Dec. 18: Watkins Family Hour. The brother-sister duo grew up with Chris Thiele and formed the acoustic ensemble Nickel Creek together. With that group on hiatus, Sean and Sara Watkins did their own things, then regrouped for another album together. Recheduled from 2019-20.

Jan. 15, 2022: Lisa Fischer. Backup singer for the Stones, star of the hit documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” Fischer doesn’t have to sing backup for anyone, she’s so charismatic and powerful on her own. We’ve seen her several times and she always brings it.

Feb. 5, 2022: Kathy Mattea & Suzy Bogguss. The country stars have been friends for ages but seldom collaborators. This will be a rare opportunity to see and hear them together.

March 15, 2022: David Wilcox. Rescheduled from 2019-20, the “songwriter’s songwriter” returns to Hopkins with old favorites and selections from his latest album, “The View From the Edge.”

Dee Dee Bridgewater
Courtesy of the Kurland Agency
Dee Dee Bridgewater
April 30, 2022: Dee Dee Bridgewater and Bill Charlap. This is one of the additions that made us sit up and go “Wow!” Bridgewater is a daring and powerful jazz singer, a three-time Grammy winner, Tony winner and 2017 NEA Jazz Master who commands any stage she’s on. Charlap is a superb New York City-based jazz pianist, with every good thing that means.

May 7, 2022: Asleep at the Wheel. They’ve won 10 Grammys, made 20 studio albums and had 20 singles on the Billboard country charts. This venerable band, now eight members, is an American classic. Rescheduled from 2019-20.

May 14, 2022: Roger McGuinn. The leader of the great ’60s group the Byrds, Grammy nominee McGuinn is the original Mr. Tambourine Man, creator of the folk-rock genre and country rock influencer.  Rescheduled from 2019-20.

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There’s something here for almost everyone. FMI and tickets; prices vary per concert and seating level. Every concert is preceded by a social hour in the center’s spacious lobby. Park for free in the municipal parking ramp down 11th street, and send sad vibes in the direction of the Mann Hopkins Cinema 6, a beloved budget-priced multiplex that closed permanently during the pandemic.


The 2021-22 season the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra announced in June wasn’t quite complete. It included more than 70 concerts from opening weekend (Sept. 10-11) through the season finale (June 10-12, 2022), all at the Ordway Concert Hall. It did not yet include the SPCO’s usual Neighborhood Series, which will resume (we all hope) in January 2022. And it mentioned that the SPCO would livestream “at least seven performances – and up to 14 performances, pending funding” through its online Concert Library.

We now know the first half of the SPCO’s digital concert season – which concerts will be livestreamed and when, for listeners who can’t or would prefer not to come to the Ordway Concert Hall. From September through January, anyone can watch these live, high-definition digital concerts for free.

Here’s the schedule. The links lead to more information and printable concert programs. Note the return of artistic partner Jeremy Denk, who has been sorely missed during the pandemic. PaviElle French’s “Sands of Time” will be the world premiere of an SPCO commission. All concerts will start at 8 p.m. and will include live post-concert conversations with musicians.

Saturday, Sept. 18: Bologne’s Second Symphony
Saturday, Oct. 9: Eunae Koh Plays Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”
Saturday, Oct. 30: Jeremy Denk Plays Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14
Saturday, Dec. 11: Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concertos 1, 2 and 3
Saturday, Dec. 18: Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concertos 4, 5 and 6
Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022: “Sands of Time” with PaviElle French

Since the start of the pandemic, the SPCO has broadcast more than 40 live concerts from the Ordway Concert Hall. Its online concert library includes 23 full-length video concerts and dozens of audio concerts available on demand, with more video concerts coming, some of performances broadcast during the 2020-21 digital season. The concert library is an increasingly valuable resource, and astonishingly still free.