The Back Issues - 2004 News



Raptor Studios finishes Concordia Jazz Ensemble CD
Producer/engineer Mike Coates began the Concordia College Jazz Ensemble I CD recording project in February, with a three-day location recording session. Additional tracking in the studio by student and faculty soloists took place in April and May, with editing, mixing and mastering finally completed in early July. The album includes guest performances by Concordia faculty members Peter Halverson (voice), Mary Marshall (piano), David Ferreira (piano), Russ Peterson (saxophone) and Nat Dicky (trombone).

Under the direction of Russ Peterson, the Concordia Jazz Ensemble performs around the region and the students are excited for the release of the band's debut recording, set for fall 2004 on Concordia Recordings.




Deb Jenkins Band returns to Fargo Blues Festival

It's an annual tradition - the beloved Deb Jenkins Band starts the day off with a bang on Sunday, August 21, the second and final day of the Fargo Blues Festival. This year's event includes headliners John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Lonnie Brooks, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Walter Trout, & Little Charlie & The Nightcats, plus a special reunion by the Keller Brothers Band. The Fargo Blues Festival was featured nationally on the House Of Blues Radio hour with "Elwood" on July 4th.

The Deb Jenkins Band will again welcome back their guest horn section for this show - here they are pictured at the 2001 Blues Fest: (l to r) Mike Jenkins on keyboard, John Pederson on trumpet, Russ Peterson and Matt Patnode on tenor and bari sax, Jeremy Cahill on bass, Deb Jenkins, and guest backing vocalists Patty McVane and Linda Coates (hidden - Frank McDaniels on drums and Ron Meier on guitar).


Brennen Leigh touring with bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley
Brennen Leigh, the Moorhead native whose debut album Lonesome, Wild & Blue on Barking Dog Records helped launch Brennen and her brother and duo partner Seth Hulbert in their new hometown of Austin, will be seen back in Fargo and around the nation opening for Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys at a number of shows in July. Many are familiar with Ralph Stanley because of his work on the soundtrack to O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, however, Mr. Stanley has been playing his brand of gospel/bluegrass for over 50 years. For more information on Ralph Stanley, check out his website. Here the dates at which Brennen will be opening:
7/13 - Sioux Falls
7/14 - Fargo
7/16 - Billings
7/21 - Omaha
7/22 - Wichita
7/23 - Lawrence
7/24 - Des Moines
7/26 - Springfield, MO (tentative)

For current information on Brennen, visit her new website at


Mike Coates at PD's on First
Mike Coates
, co-owner of Barking Dog Records & Raptor Studios, is looking to bring classical music into the fine dining world of Fargo-Moorhead. Although several restaurants offer special jazz nights or jazz performances on a regular basis, live classical music is not currently heard around town. That's about to change - come hear classical guitarist Mike Coates and enjoy some of the area's finest cuisine!

Owner Paul Dobbins (who used to be part of the team at Monte's on Broadway) has created an upscale yet unpretentious restaurant in the heart of downtown Fargo. Click here to read the Forum's restaurant review. Hooray for local entrepreneurs!

PD's on First
Wednesday, May 5
Saturday, June 12
Saturday, July 17
all 7:00 - 9:00 pm



Linda Coates wins seat on Fargo City Commission
Linda Coates
, co-owner of Barking Dog Records and Raptor Studios, was the top vote-getter for Fargo City Commission among seven candidates in the election held June 8. Linda Coates and the second winning candidate, Mike Williams, were both endorsed by the editorial board of The Forum daily newspaper and also the High Plains Reader alternative weekly.

Coates noted during her campaign, "I believe my range of professional and administrative experience as a small business owner, as an educator and as an arts administrator will bring a broad perspective to the City Commission. I am interested in livability issues, managing growth and development, ensuring that all the citizens of Fargo have welcoming access to public services, and working toward an exciting vision for the future of Fargo. I look forward to the opportunity to help shape Fargo's future in a creative and progressive way."

Fear not - this will be a part-time commitment for Linda and she will still be fully engaged with Barking Dog Records and Raptor Studios. However, she is eager for the opportunity to step up and become more actively involved in city governance.


Raptor Studios preparing two Concordia College CD releases
Mike Coates has been seen at Concordia College a lot lately, most recently on location recording the Concordia College Jazz Band, directed by Barking Dog Records recording artist Russ Peterson. Additional tracking in the studio is scheduled for April, and mixing/mastering will be done in the summer in preparation for a fall release. Mike also just finished post-production for the Concordia College Orchestra, directed by Bruce Houglum. This debut CD, titled "Orchestral Favorites," (pictured left) includes Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, Barber's Adagio for Strings, Sibelius' Finlandia, and more popular symphonic works. Both CDs will be available online through Concordia Recordings.




Fargo Kiwanis Classical CD release May 4
After nearly a year of production, the Kiwanis Club of Fargo's classical CD project is completed and set for release on Tuesday, May 4 at noon at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. The release event will feature performances by several of the musicians featured on the CD: Jay Hershberger (piano), Neil Mueller (trumpet), Concordia Woodwind Quintet (Debora Harris, Jennifer Peterson, Leigh Wakefield, Russ Peterson and Karin Wakefield), Madeline Capistran (vioin) and Mike Coates (guitar).

This project is part of the Kiwanis Club's Young Children Priority One effort. The club will distribute classical music CDs featuring local artists to all new babies born in Fargo during the next year. MeritCare and Innovis hospitals in Fargo and Stork's Nest birthing center in Moorhead will receive 3,000 copies to distribute as part of the kit given to all new parents.

This project grew out of project chair's Margie Bailly's reading on what is known as "The Mozart Effect," which claims that listening to Classical-era music promotes brain development in babies and young children. This project, featuring all local musicians selected by producers Mike and Linda Coates, created an all-local sampler of classical music performed by a wide variety of soloists and small ensembles, plus one piece by the full Fargo-Moorhead Symphony. The CD opens with Mozart's "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Variations" performed on piano by David Worth and ends with baritone Peter Halverson singing Brahms' "Lullaby" in the original German, accompanied by marimba (played by Dr. David Eyler and Scott Raveling).

Click here for a full list of track titles and performers.

The CD will be for sale for $15 at Zanbroz, Barnes & Noble, Strauss and the MeritCare Hospital gift shop in Fargo.



Deb's Chips get great press in Minneapolis
Barking Dog Records blues artist Deb Jenkins is also a great cook, as folks in the region know who are familiar with her catering business (she is both performer AND caterer at the annual Fargo Blues Festival every August). Her famous Texas-size homemade chips (available in Fargo and Grand Forks at Happy Harry's stores and on EBay) are now making a splash in the Minneapple. Check out this feature story about Deb and her chips in the February 9 business section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune!






Brennen Leigh is a finalist in Nashville Star!
Brennen has been chosen as one of the 20 National Finalists (out of approximately 8,000 musicians around the country) in the second USA Network "Nashville Star" contest! "Nashville Star" is a television show on the USA network that is a grassroots talent search to find the next country music star. The contest features live performances by the 20 finalists who are judged by industry professionals and the television viewing audience as they compete for a recording contract with Sony Music Nashville.

The final competition will be edited into the first episode of the TV series. Of the 20 contestants, the judges will pick 10 and the home audience will vote for the 11th contestant. These 11 contestants will move into the "Nashville Star" house to give fans a behind-the-scenes look as they live together in a house in Nashville for the duration of the competition. So Brennen is guaranteed to appear on the first episode at least, if not the whole season!

Here's what Brennen had to say about the competition:

"I was invited to try out at Roper's in Austin, TX last month. There were about thirteen invites, and I was the only one who played the mandolin. In fact, I was the only mandolin player in the entire tryout (I think it was 8,000 total). We were all to sing a cover song from a specified list as well as a song we had written. I sang a Buck Owens song. Well, I made it to the regional final in Fort Worth. There was a lot of sitting around and waiting but we did interviews on camera and a set of two songs with the Nashville Star Band. They are all very talented musicians."

Our set was performed in front of a panel of judges who made comments after our songs. After what they told me, I was pretty confident that they hated my music. They didn't show much of a liking for traditional country music at all and didn't say much except that I would never get played on the radio. But apparently somebody wanted me on the show because I turned out to be one of the 20 contestants on the first episode. Maybe the judges were just giving me a hard time to see how I would react.

In the middle of February I'll go to Nashville to film the first episode. If I am chosen to be one of the top ten contestants, I'll move into the Nashville Star house in March for the rest of the season. I'm looking forward to going out to Tennessee again; Nashville is a great town. Even if I don't make it into the top ten, being on the first episode is great publicity for the Brennen Leigh Band. Hopefully we'll be able to get some good gigs here in Texas after the show. The other guys in the band are very excited for me. I wish I could bring them along. I'll keep you updated on how things are going."

Brennen and her brother Seth are heading to Tennessee for the taping of the first episode of USA network's television show "Nashville Star" which will be airing Saturday, March 6th at 10pm ET/9pm CT. (Thanks to Peppermint for the story info)

Brennen now has her own website up and running - check it out at That's where you will now find updated information and her touring calendar.


7th Annual Celebration of Women Concert set for Feb. 21
The seventh annual Celebration of Women and Their Music is scheduled for Saturday, February 21, 2004, at 7:00 PM at the historic Fargo Theatre in downtown Fargo, ND. Tickets are available in advance at the Fargo Theatre Box Office and will also be available at the door.

The Celebration of Women and Their Music is the brainchild of Deb Jenkins, Fargo, renowned blues singer, chef and caterer. Over the years the show has featured regional women performing a variety of musical genres from popular to classical. Each year brings newcomers to the stage as well as select returning favorites from previous years, in a celebration of the talent and artistic cameraderie of women in the Fargo-Moorhead region.

The money raised at this event goes into an award endowment fund established with the F-M Area Foundation. This endowment provides the funds for an annual award, which is selectively awarded to one or more local high school female artists each year. The sixth annual Celebration of Women Awards will be presented during the concert, and the show will feature a performance by the recipients. This year, Barking Dog Records and Raptor Studios are sponsoring the special Outstanding Musician Award.

List of Performers:

Lucy Thrasher, soprano - Fargo
Lily Chia Brissman, piano - Wisconsin
Margot Wagner, singer-songwriter - Minneapolis (formerly Fargo)
Shannon Murray, Bemidji
Nita Velo, Pelican Rapids
Sarah Morrau, Fargo
Connie Hill, Fargo
Mary Marshall, Wahpeton
Mary Cutrufello, Minneapolis
Deb Jenkins, Fargo
Merry Helm, Fargo
Calli Kimball, Fargo

Margot Wagner at Monte's on Friday before the Women's Show
Start the Celebration of Women weekend out in style by heading to Monte's on Broadway in Fargo to hear Margot Wagner's first performance back in her hometown in many months.

Monte's on Broadway
Friday, Feb. 20 - 9:30-11:00pm

For more information about Margot, check out her website!


Deb Jenkins Band to perform at 4th Annual Winter Blues Fest
They've been on every summer's Fargo Blues Fest, now Barking Dog Records artist Deb Jenkins Band has been picked to perform on the 4th Annual Winter Blues Fest along with Li'l Ed & the Blues Imperials, the Joe Moss Band, Big John Dickerson & The Celebrators and Molly Nova & The Hawk. What a great idea for a hot Valentine's Day!

4th Annual Winter Blues Fest
Sunday, February 14, 2004 (Valentine's Day)
Playmakers Pavilion 1-866-55-BLUES






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