Folk music, fundraiser to join forces at Nature Center

Published 8:26 am Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Singer and songwriter Ann Zimmerman is returning to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center this Thursday, along with a special occasion that’s likely to continue for years.

Zimmerman’s concert — her second at the nature center — will couple with a fundraiser in honor of former Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Pastor Don Deines, who died in June 2010, and those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Zimmerman will perform a 9 a.m. senior special, 1 p.m. family special and full evening concert at 7 p.m. with free-will donations being accepted for Alzheimer’s research at the Mayo Clinic.

Nature Center intern Maria Anderson, whose family knows Zimmerman, helped bring her performance to Austin; and according to Nature Center Director Larry Dolphin, Zimmerman fits in well. Zimmerman sings witty and heartwarming folk songs of growing up on the prairie and respecting nature. While preserving nature is obviously something Dolphin believes in, his longtime friend Deines believed that message, as well. Dolphin hopes to honor Deines and others affected by Alzheimer’s with an event and fundraiser each year.

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“As long as I’m here, I think we’ll carry on this tradition,” he said.

Deines was honored with a fundraiser and bagpipe walk last year at the nature center.

“I never really dealt with anybody with Alzheimer’s before, so it was a totally new experience for me,” Dolphin said about his friendship with Deines. “It was tough to see a man that you knew very well lose the ability to remember and finish sentences, or lose his ability to walk.”

While Thursday’s event and events in years to come will honor Deines, Dolphin reminds people to relax, enjoy the music and have a good time because that’s the way Deines — a music lover himself — would have wanted it.

Thursday’s event is free and open to the public. Guests are urged to RSVP at 507-437-7519 by Wednesday.