Ann Reed, Claudia Schmidt, Sara Thomsen at Sacred Heart
201 W 4th St
Duluth, MN, 55806
Doors 5:00 PM / Show 6:00 PM
Ann Reed's rich alto, deft songwriting, skilled guitar-playing, and engaging rapport with her audience have had devoted fans lining up at the box office for more than a quarter-century.
The Twin Cities-based artist's career combines 20 recordings, countless concerts, festival dates at world-renowned venues such as the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and television and radio appearances that include Good Morning America and A Prairie Home Companion.
She also wrote, directed, and performed the stage shows Heroes and Song for Minnesota, which were presented at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, and subsequently broadcast statewide.
In addition, she has been honored with umpteen awards from the likes of Billboard magazine, the National Association of Independent Recording Distributors, the Minnesota Music Academy, and the Girl Scouts. These reflect a satisfying professional life by anyone's measure — made even more so since Ann dovetails her artistry with community involvement: She donates about 25 percent of her time to the support of nonprofit groups that primarily benefit women and children.
But it all boils down to this: Ann loves what she does. And the people who hear her music love what she does. Symbiosis at its best.
More than 4 decades as a
touring professional have found
Michigan native Claudia Schmidt
traversing North America as well as
Europe in venues ranging from intimate
clubs to 4,000 seat theatres, and festival
stages in front of 25,000 rapt listeners.
She has recorded nineteen albums of
mostly original songs, exploring folk,
blues, and jazz idioms featuring
her acclaimed 12-string
guitar and mountain
“Thomsen’s soulful voice, poetic lyrics and unforgettable melodies cut through to the heart and the soul of human experience,” proclaims the Minnesota Women’s Press. With a voice rich as the best mid-west soil, Sara's songs carry you inward and outward—in, to the particulars of your own life, and out—into the shared humanity of us all. Her performance style is easygoing and full of humor and depth, capturing the audience’s engagement. Sara’s music gently enfolds and unfolds the listener.
Somewhere to Begin is Thomsen’s most recent solo album. “The kind of music she’s making is well-crafted, sung beautifully, and recorded immaculately,” states the Duluth News Tribune review. “Fans of Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary might want to check this out.” The album is “deep and well written” proclaims The Reader, with “excellent songwriting and storytelling.” Thomsen's song "Precious Waters" received a Woody Guthrie Songwriting Award.
Everything Changes, Thomsen’s previous solo release, is “a powerful collection from a grounded talent,” writes Sing Out! Magazine. The recording is “a patch-quilt of musical styles stitched together by Thomsen’s lonely alto voice and evocative writing style,” declares the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “In Everything Changes she has produced a self-portrait that is radiant with elegance, grace and honesty," asserts the Duluth News Tribune. "It weaves its way into your soul." Off this album, Thomsen's song “A Woman’s Place”won a Mountain Stage NewSong Contest Top Finalist award in the midwest regional round. “I Remember These” won a Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua's Songwriting Competition Top Finalist award.
For her songs “Irene Marguerite” and “Keepin’ the Peace” (By Breath) Thomsen was awarded Winner of the Minnesota Folk Festival’s New Folk Songwriting Contest. For the song “Is It For Freedom” (Fertile Ground) Thomsen won a Music To Life Top Finalist award —a nationwide contest created by Noel Paul Stookey (of “Peter, Paul and Mary”) to recognize songs of sociopolitical concern. Sara's songs “Is it For Freedom” and "A Woman's Place" were both chosen for publication in Sing Out! Magazine.
Dubbed in her local press as “one of Northern Minnesota’s best kept secrets,” Thomsen’s home base is in the Lake Superior region near Duluth, MN. “The Twin Ports folk singer picks up the torch carried by the balladeers of decades past: Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, and Peter, Paul, and Mary” writes the Duluth Reader Weekly. “She could make Conan the Barbarian drop his sword and collapse blubbering.”
In addition to her solo work, Sara is a weaver of song and community singing. At concerts, conferences, classrooms, workshops, retreats, jails, places of prayer, and lines of protest, to be with Sara is to want to sing. Increasing wonder and awareness, deepening spiritual connection, and widening social engagement through song is at the heart of her work. Sara's ability to get people singing magically transforms gatherings into communities empowered with possibility.
Sara is the artistic director of "Three Altos," comprised of Rabbi Amy Bernstein, Thomsen, and professor Paula Pedersen. The trio has released two CDs: Camaradas and One Voice.
Sara is the founder and artistic director of the "Echoes of Peace Choir," a non-audition community choir in Duluth, Minnesota, with a repertoire of world music and a membership of 70+ voices. Thomsen later founded the Echoes of Peace non-profit to expand and develop the work of examining critical social issues using music and the arts to build and bridge informed, engaged, and caring communities.
Sara grew up surrounded by a family and community that loved to sing. From listening to her father sing lullabies and onward, Sara’s life has been infused with music. She is a staunch supporter of struggles for human dignity and ecological sustainability. Slowing down enough to see and hear the vibrant wonder of the commonplace is her work and play. All this can be felt in her music. Whether it is a song welcoming a newborn, protesting a policy, depicting night falling or describing a loved one, her music is alive and pulsing.