Jazz on display at Mower County Fair

Published 7:58 am Friday, August 13, 2010

Christine Rosholt sings just outside the Mower County Historical Society at the Mower County Fair Thursday evening. --Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The sounds of 30s and 40s jazz floated through the air in the Mower County Fair Tuesday.

The source of the music was Christine Rosholt, a jazz vocalist from Minneapolis who performed in the Mower County Historical Society grounds as part of the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation series. The series was arranged by the Austin Public Library in conjunction with a coalition of local institutions.

Rosholt has been performing jazz across Minnesota for the last eight years, which has allowed her to sing at a variety of interesting places. She said one of her favorites was performing at Surdyk’s Liquor Store in Minneapolis.

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“It’s a really nice, high end place. It’s not just a hole-in-the-wall liquor store. They do promotional events and shows,” said Rosholt. “It was fun because everyone thought it was piped in through the speakers, since there was all these aisles and aisles in the liquor store. But they would round the corner and go ‘Oh! It’s a real singer!’ People loved it.”

She added that since she would be playing in front animal exhibits at the fair, this performance would be memorable as well.

Rosholt has been a singer for almost her whole life. She first started her appreciation of jazz when she performed with a friend in a tongue-in-cheek country band. Her act was to play the cousin that sang jazz.

“It was kind of stick. But in doing it, I decided I wanted to do it for real,” she said.

She said she chose the jazz of the 30s and 40s because of how well they appealed to what she loves in music.

“I love lyrics and they were made in a time when lyrics were very important. They are all like poems set to music. Its just an era that I connect with,” she said. “The songs to me are really timeless, and I want to keep them going.”

She said she is inspired by the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Tyrone Sutton and Stacey Kent.

Rosholt has produced a demo and two CDs. Her second CD, Detour, was nominated for best Jazz CD of the year by the Minnesota Music Awards. She is currently working on non-jazz music with British composer Kevin Hall. The CD is slated to be released in January.

The performance was part of the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation in the Libraries series offered by the partnership of the Minnesota Regional Public Libraries and the Minnesota Historical Society. The Greatest Generation program is funded by a grant from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Funds. The goal of the program is to preserve and share the history of the Minnesota people that grew up during the Great Depression, World War II and the Baby Boom by providing free events to libraries around Minnesota.

The local coalition that helped organize the event consists of Austin Public Library Southeastern Libraries Cooperating, Mower County Historical Society, Hormel Historic Home and Riverland Generations.

Rosholt said she felt the music was appropriate for the series.

“Jazz is a very distinct, American art form. It was created here, it was founded here. So, it’s kind of patriotic in a way. It’s an art form that is truly American,” she said.