Updated 1/10/2009

Sarah Morrau records third CD at Raptor Studios

Sarah Morrau CD coverFargo singer-songwriter Sarah Morrau recorded her third CD, "Here's To Life," at Raptor Studios throughout 2008, releasing it just in time for the holiday season. Her previous two releases, "Storm Warning" (1997) and "To Hold You" (1999) were both recorded at Raptor Studios and produced by Mike Coates. Sarah's regional fans have been waiting a long time for another collection of Sarah's trademark warm and intimate vocals, exquisite acoustic arrangements and appealing mix of cover tunes and originals. 

Sarah writes in her liner notes, "'Here's to Life' is a mixture of songs that I've grown up with, songs of nostalgia, and songs about moving forward. They are about the inevitable passage of time, but ultimately about hope. Even the sadder songs have an element of hope. We can at times be moved to tears by music but also moved to smiling, dancing and remembering. In this CD, there is acknowledgement of the pain and changes of life, but also encouragement that we still have what's ahead of us and that, to me, is hopeful."

Tracks on the album include fresh, acoustic arrangements of iconic songwriters' classics such as "Woodstock," "Vincent," and "I Think it's Going to Rain Today" featuring piano, violin, and cello; jazz/torch favorites "Sunny Side of the Street," "Pure Imagination" and "I'll Catch the Sun" with guitar, bass, drums and keyboard combo; and contemplative originals "Away" and "Still Time." An infectious version of "Those Were the Days" features a veritable menagerie of instruments from tuba to klezmer-style soprano sax, and a rousing gospel chorus provides the foundation for the contemporary Christian hit, "Go Light Your World." The album closes with an intimate, breathtaking interpretation of the title cut.

"Here's To Life" is available locally at Zandbroz Variety and Barnes & Noble, and will soon be available online.

Contact Sarah

Mike Coates hired by NDSU as audio specialist

Beginning August 2008, Raptor Studios owner Mike Coates has joined the staff of the NDSU Division of Fine Arts as Audio Specialist. His position includes supervision, design and maintenance of all sound recording and reinforcement and audio equipment in Festival Concert Hall and Beckwith Recital Hall, training and supervision of audio staff, and post-production of department recordings. NDSU has also added classical guitar to its applied music offerings, at the undergraduate and graduate level, and Mike also serves as Adjunct Instructor of classical guitar. Mike continues to teach classical guitar at Concordia College in Moorhead.

Raptor Studios records Chris Coste audiobook, "The 33-Year-Old Rookie"

Catcher Chris Coste of the Philadelphia Phillies, who played for several years with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, just published a new book, titled "The 33-Year-Old Rookie - How I Finally Made It to the Big Leagues After Eleven Years in the Minors," which was published by Ballantine Books (a subsidiary of Random House). Oasis Audio of Chicago contracted Mike Coates and Raptor Studios to have Chris Coste come into the studio in January 2007 to record his reading for an audiobook version. It's an inspiring story of a guy called up to the majors after years of life in the minors. Here's what Chris had to say at the end of the 2007 season:

"Now that the 2007 season has come to a close, I would like to say thanks to all the fans that have supported not only me, but the entire 2007 Phillies as well.

This was definitely a magical season to be a part of, and on a personal note, in many ways, as great as it felt to solidify myself with my breakthrough 2006 season, the 2007 season was even more rewarding and redeeming. After starting the season in Ottawa (triple-A) and eventually being as far down as Reading (double-A) in June, I was able to once again establish myself as a major leaguer. Also, on the final day of the season, I got to experience the highlight of my major league career by catching the final pitch from Brett Myers that clinched the National League East Title, the Phillies' first title since 1993.

Once again, thanks to all, and here's to an even better 2008 season!"Chris Coste and Keith Coates

Chris Cost in the studioIt was truly a treat having Chris in the studio, particularly since Mike is a former baseball player himself, as well as an avid coach of our Raptor Studios Babe Ruth baseball team. Perhaps it was some of Chris's good luck and Midwestern work ethic rubbing off on the guys, but the "Raptors" 14-year-old team won the league championship this year! 

Here is Chris in the studio recording his voice-over, and with our son, Keith.

Chris Coste's audiobook is available at all bookstores and online outlets.

Minneapolis opera company comes to Fargo to be recorded by Raptor Studios

The folks at Skylark Opera Company (formerly North Star Opera) in Minneapolis like the sound of Peter Halverson's CD American Portrait: Songs from the Parlor to the Stage so much that when they decided to record a CD featuring their long-time stars, soprano Norah Long and baritone Peter Halverson, they made the trip to Fargo to record at Raptor Studios. Producer Mike Coates recorded the tracks on location at Concordia College in Christiansen Recital Hall, then did the post-production work in the studio. The CD was just released in Fall 2007, and it is a sampling of operetta favorites in the style of Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald.


Obsidian finishing second CD

It was a long project with some obstacles and detours, but Barney Haugen and the guys of Fargo death-metal band Obsidian are tenacious and determined. We are finally finishing up post-production, and their CD will be released in March 2008. They recorded their debut CD, human distortion, at Raptor Studios in 2000.


Lucy Thrasher releases debut CD

Soprano Lucy Thrasher, professor of voice and opera workshop at Concordia College in Moorhead, recorded her debut CD, "CABARET - Songs from Schoenberg to Sondheim" with producer Mike Coates last summer, and post-production took place this spring.

Lucy has sung leading roles with opera companies throughout the Midwest, has won District and Regional Metropolitan Opera auditions awards and was the Young Artist of 1983, North Dakota, for the National Federation of Music Clubs. She is an active recitalist and symphonic soloist, and her performances of opera excerpts for children have been seen by over 60,000 children in Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. She is known for her vivacious stage personality and this selection of cabaret repertoire is a perfect fit!

Lucy Thrasher is also Resident Opera Artist Program Director of Pine Mountain Music Festival in Michigan. She is co-founder of the festival's Resident Opera Artist Program and has been its director since its inception in 1998. Lucy released her CD in Michigan during the 2007 festival, and in the Fargo-Moorhead area in September 2007.

Margot Wagner to perform in Fargo after three-year hiatus

Barking Dog Records singer-songwriter Margot Wagner returns to Fargo to perform for the first time in three years!

Margot left the touring life three years ago to concentrate on earning a bachelor's degree in French from the University of Minnesota, which she accomplished in record time. Her studies included a semester on her own in Senegal, researching linguistic relationships between French, African and Arabic in that country.

Now spending the summer with family before embarking on graduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley in French Literature, she is giving a concert at the Green Market in downtown Fargo on Monday, July 30.

Margot Wagner & friends

Monday, July 30th
6-8 pm - $5 cover
The Green Market
623 NP Ave, Fargo
food & beverages available for purchase



Jessie Veeder's touring schedule brings her back to Fargo and Grand Forks

Barking Dog Records artist Jessie Veeder is busy touring the Midwest full time, playing at colleges and venues all across the Midwest from Wisconsin and Illinois to Missouri and Texas. Don't miss seeing her perform this week when she comes back to her home territory! She will be performing at the 10th Annual Celebration of Women and their Music concert this Saturday at 7:00 pm at the Fargo Theatre, then again afterwards at the Post Show Songwriter's Rounds at The Aquarium at 10:00, and then on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7:00 pm at Tabula Coffeehouse in Grand Forks.

Jessie's 2005 CD, A Place to Belong, produced by Mike Coates at Raptor Studios, has received critical acclaim and has opened the door to a full-time touring schedule. Here's what a couple had to say:

"Add another name to the talented stable of young female singers who've emerged from Fargo's Barking Dog Records. Jessie Veeder's A Place to Belong crackles with the same earthy spirit as Brenda Weiler's first offering back in 1997. Veeder's Watford City (ND) voice doesn't carry a country twang, but the songwriter gets a kick from producer Mike Coates and various studio musicians. Her subtle combo combo of contemporary country and pop should secure her radio airplay." (John Lamb-The Forum, Fargo ND)

"The more I listen, the more I like. After hearing A Place to Belong a few times I realized this is some of the best stuff I've heard in months or even years. It's one of those collections where it seems like a sin to just listen to one song ­ hearing it unfold from start to finish is essential. But that's what makes a great CD great." (Win Farrell-Becomedia, Austin, TX)

You can order Jessie's CD online here - check it out!

Raptor Studios client Julie Joyce releases "She Believes"

More than a year in the making, contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Julie Joyce released "She Believes" to a packed house at the Fargo Theatre in December. Produced by Mike Coates, this album is a high-production showcase for Julie's original songs, vocal interpretation and piano talents. Arrangements include not only a back-up band and singers, but also unexpected touches including solo cello, saxophone, pennywhistle and more, performed by some of the region's finest solo musicians including saxophonist Russ Peterson.

Known throughout the region for her years performing at the Radisson and also as former longtime music director at Hope Lutheran Church, Julie has poured her soul and prodigious talents into this outstanding CD. "She Believes" is available for sale at retailers in the Fargo area and also online at Fargostuff.com.


NEW RELEASE - "Transfigured Shadows" by pianist Jay Hershberger

Pianist Jay Hershberger, Associate Professor of piano at Concordia College and internationally-recognized specialist in the piano music of Franz Liszt, will release his debut CD, titled "Transfigured Shadows: Select Piano Works of Franz Liszt" on Tuesday, October 12.

Jay Hershberger has appeared in concerts and recitals throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and in Europe. He has performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, is a frequent participant in the Great Romantics Festival in Hamilton, Ontario, and has played in Europe at the Amalfi Coast Festival in Italy and the South Bohemian Music Festival in the Czech Republic. An active adjudicator, Hershberger has served on the juries of the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, the Sorantin Awards in San Angelo, TX, the Phoenix Young Artist Competition, and for several of the Music Teachers National Association performance competitions.

Jay Hershberger is vice president of the American Liszt Society, and is an advocate for informed scholarship and performance of the Hungarian composers music. He received his degrees from Arizona State University, Wichita State University, and the University of Tulsa. His principal teachers were Robert Roux, Boaz Sharon, and Robert Hamilton. He also coached with Luiz de Moura Castro.

The piano music of Franz Liszt has never been surpassed for dazzling virtuosity. Liszt, a fascinatingly complex man, was not only the greatest pianist of his time, but also an influential composer and conductor. Many of his compositions reflect his phenomenal technique, and still tax the best of pianists. His contemporary, Anton Rubenstein, also a virtuoso pianist, observed that compared with Liszt all other pianists were 'children.'

The CD "Transfigured Shadows" includes the famous "Mephisto Waltz" as well as other Liszt masterpieces including "Ballade No. 2," "Les Jeux d'Eaux" and "Vallée d'Obermann."

Jay Hershberger's "Transfigured Shadows" CD joins the Barking Dog Records catalog of recordings of regional pop and classical artists, including releases by Peter Halverson (baritone), Harris-Coates Duo (flute and classical guitar) and Russ Peterson (saxophone).

CDs are available online at Fargostuff.com, ConcordiaRecordings.com, and at Amazon.com.

In the Fargo-Moorhead area, you can find Jay's CD at Zandbroz, Barnes & Noble, Eckroth Music and Concordia College bookstore.



Barking Dog Records releases now at Fargostuff.com

We're happy to be part of a new source for art of all kinds from Fargo - Fargostuff.com! It's a terrific source for music, art, sculpture, cards, jewelry and more. It's also a great place for area organizations to sell tickets to their events. Created by John and Kathy Borge, here's what they say:

"We work, live, play in the greater Fargo North Dakota area.

"We're a group of creative art type folks who really like cool, hip, fun art type things. We would like you to buy some so that you can be cool, hip and fun, too. (although if you're reading this, most likely you already are.)

"At Fargostuff.com, you'll find great gifts, things for your home and office, things that you normally can't find anywhere else. So, start browsing and buying. We hope the items you select will enhance your life, make your friends say "WOW!" and be good for you. No doubt it'll be good for us, too."

Check it out for Barking Dog Records CDs and much more!


Mike Coates publishes guitar-flute duo and solo guitar repertoire

For several years, Mike has transcribed and arranged many of the pieces that are performed by the Harris-Coates Duo and as a solo classical guitarist and professor of classical guitar at Concordia College. With the help of Sibelius music notation software Mike is now printing and self-publishing his own catalog of guitar-flute and solo guitar pieces. Five were prepared just in time for the Harris-Coates Duo's performance in San Diego, including a brand new transcription/arrangement of Manuel de Falla's "Danse Espagnole #1 from La Vida Breve" which received a tremendous positive response.

All Mike's pieces are painstakingly researched, transcribed/arranged for optimum playability, clearly and meticulously notated and fingered. Flute parts (for the flute-guitar duo pieces) are edited and proofed by Debora Harris. They are beautiful editions of the highest quality, some of which have never before been available for flute-guitar duo.

These editions are now for mail order sale on the Raptor Publishing page. Check back often as pieces will be added frequently.



Catch up on the news

What's New Back Issues: 2005
New Barking Dog Records Release: A PLACE TO BELONG by Jessie Veeder
New Barking Dog Records Release: AMERICAN PORTRAIT by Peter Halverson
Harris-Coates Duo performs by invitation at NFA convention in San Diego
Raptor Studios produces Fargo-Moorhead Area Youth Symphonies double CD
Raptor Studios client Susan Ekberg releases second meditation CD, "Away"
New radio shows by Deb Jenkins and Susan Ekberg

What's New Back Issues: 2004
Deb Jenkins returns to Fargo Blues Festival
Barking Dog Records announces 3 new recording projects
Brennen Leigh to perform with Ralph Stanley
Mike Coates to perform at PD's on First
Linda Coates elected to Fargo City Commission
Raptor Studios preparing two Concordia College releases
Kiwanis Classical CD sampler release May 4
Deb's Chips getting press in Minneapolis
Brennen Leigh is a finalist on Nashville Star
7th Annual "Celebration of Women and their Music"
Margot Wagner performing at Monte's
Deb Jenkins Band to perform at 4th Annual Winter Blues Fest

What's New Back Issues: 2003
Christmas CD release by Concordia Percussion Ensemble
Margot Wagner at 400 Bar in Minneapolis
Mike Coates teaching classical guitar at Concordia College
Burnside and Peppermint to distribute Brennen Leigh CDs
New reviews for Mike Coates' ASIA collectors' albums!
Raven Darkcloud debut recording
Susan Ekberg opens new Energy Center
Raptor Studios goes to hard disk recording with our new Mackie HDR24/96
Barking Dog Records artists Brennen Leigh and Deb Jenkins performing at Summerfest
Upcoming performances by Barking Dog Records artists
More great national and international reviews!

What's New Back Issues: 2002
Deb Jenkins releases autobiographical cookbook
Brennen Leigh & Margot Wagner back home for some holiday gigs
Concordia Percussion Ensemble holiday performance & CD recording
Margot Wagner signed by Hello Booking
Brennen Leigh tears up Texas
New Barking Dog Records Release: THE WHITE PEACOCK by the Harris-Coates Duo
Fargo-Moorhead Symphony releases Russ Peterson CD
New Barking Dog Records Release: LONESOME, WILD & BLUE by Brennen Leigh
Margot Wagner and Brennen Leigh on summer tours
Deb Jenkins to perform with horn section at 2002 FARGO BLUES FEST
New Barking Dog Records Release: FIREFLY by Margot Wagner
Harris-Coates Duo and Russell Peterson perform live on MPR Morning Show
Barking Dog Records and Raptor Studios artists perform in 2002 Women's Concert
Russell Peterson to perform in Chicago, Florida, Wisconsin
Deb Jenkins Band to headline Duluth Winter Blues Reunion
Margot Wagner back in the studio to record second album on Barking Dog Records

What's New Back Issues: 2001
Harris-Coates Duo performance in Texas; set to record third CD
New enterprise and website for Deb Jenkins
Raptor client Susan Ekberg releases debut double CD
New Barking Dog Records Release: OPEN BLUE SKY by Margot Wagner
Mike Coates produces recording for Minnesota Public Radio statewide broadcast
Raptor client Hot Huapaya releases debut CD, BENEATH THE SKIN
Debora Harris principal flute of Berkshire Opera Company (July)
Mike and Linda Coates perform double bill with Margot Wagner at ND Museum of Art
Russ Peterson Quartet on Plains Art Museum Summer Jazz Series
CD release and album review by Raptor Studios client Obsidian
Mike Coates and Todd Queen perform tenor/guitar recital
Raptor Studios news - new gear
New Barking Dog Records Release: AMERICAN BREATH by Russell Peterson
New Barking Dog Records Release: DOWN HOME BLUES by Deb Jenkins Band

What's New Back Issues: 2000
New reviews of DANCES IN THE MADHOUSE by Harris-Coates Duo
Barking Dog Records signs classical saxophonist Russell Peterson
Linda and Mike Coates contracted for design and recording services by Fargo-Moorhead Symphony
Ded Walleye performs at local band benefit
Debora Harris presents Flute Day at Minnesota State University Moorhead
Fargo Folk Festival 2000
Mike Coates to perform with tenor Todd Queen on FM Civic Opera's Chamber Music Series
3 Minute Hero breaks up, Brenda Weiler self-releases 3rd CD
Brenda Weiler and 3 Minute Hero win Minnesota Music Awards
New Barking Dog Records Release: DANCES IN THE MADHOUSE by the Harris-Coates Duo
Brenda Weiler live at Luigi's
3rd Annual Celebration of Women concert
Plains Art Museum Rush Hour Concert Series - Spring lineup
Peppermint Songwriter Panel a success

What's New Back Issues: 1999
Date set for 2000 Fargo Folk Festival
High Plains Reader's 5th Anniversary Bash
Brenda Weiler and 3 Minute Hero in Minnesota Monthly feature story
Deb Jenkins Band opening for Jeff Healey, pictures from Fargo Blues Fest
Fargo Folk Festival debut a success
Barking Dog Records featured in Pulse magazine
Sarah Morrau finishes second CD
Mike Coates re-releases lead guitar book with CDs
Harris - Coates Duo picked to perform at national college music convention
Raptor Studio Samplers available
3 Minute Hero and Brenda Weiler nominated, perform at Minnesota Music Awards
Harris-Coates Duo present concerts
Deb Jenkins feeatured performer at KVLY Women's Showcase
Meet Jessica, Barking Dog Records Promotion Director
Brenda Weiler added to Peppermint Roster
Brenda/Ellis show at Luigis
Harris-Coates Duo chosen to perform at international flute convention
Barking Dog Records featured twice on regional public television
New Barking Dog Records release: CRAZY HAPPY by Brenda Weiler

What's New Back Issues - 1998
New Barking Dog Records release: CRANKBAIT by Ded Walleye
Mike Coates writes equipment review for January issue of KEYBOARD magazine
Barking Dog Records artists named to High Plains Reader's annual BEST BETs poll
New press reviews of Brenda Weiler's TRICKLE DOWN and 3 Minute Hero's EVERYDAY NINJAS
New Barking Dog Records release: FREEDOM by Deb Jenkins
New Barking Dog Records release: THE SUMMER AIR by Mike & Linda Coates and friends
Lisa Briggs featured performer at Italian Street Fair in Nashville
New Barking Dog Records Release: EVERYDAY NINJAS by 3 Minute Hero
High Plains Music Biz Conference a success
Barking Dog Records artists perform on "A Celebration of Women and their Music"
3 Minute Hero nominated for Minnesota Music Award "Best New Band"
Brenda Weiler featured in Forum cover article
New Acoustic Series at the Plains Art Museum: Unplugged at the Plains Rush Hour Concert Series
Debora Harris featured concerto soloist with Fargo-Moorhead Symphony
Barking Dog Records featured as High Plains Reader cover story

What's New Back Issues - 1997
New Barking Dog Records Release: TRICKLE DOWN by Brenda Weiler
New Barking Dog Records Release: THE NEST HAS FALLEN by Jay Walters
Barking Dog Records presents two acoustic showcases
Mike and Linda Coates present December performances
Barking Dog Records/Raptor Studios undertake flood relief project
Raptor Studios announces facility addition
New Barking Dog Records Release: REVERIE by Debora Harris
3 Minute Hero does Halloween
Raptor Studios client Sarah Morrau album release - STORM WARNING
Mike & Linda Coates perform at grand opening of Plains Art Museum
3 Minute Hero named Region's Best Band, acquires $22,000 sound system, announces tour
Raptor Studios client Soul Doubt performs unplugged at Fargo's Zandbroz
Barking Dog Records artist Jim Langemo headlines Moorhead State's 4th of July evening concert
Mike & Linda Coates inaugurate performance series at North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks
3 Minute Hero films promotional video
Linda Coates attends national indie music convention in New Orleans
New press reviews of BDR artist Lisa Briggs' album COFFEE & GIFTS
BDR release by Jim Langemo, WELCOME TO SADIEVILLE a hit with the mayor of Sadieville, KY