Annual Winter Solstice Celebration of Local Musicians + Community Connections
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Begins @ 7pm
Free to attend & open to all!

All are welcome to join us for our annual winter solstice celebration of local musicians and community connections, as the world turns toward the longer days of spring. This concert is FREE to attend!

A bevy of artists will be at the Center to celebrate the winter solstice and the season of light, including:

  • Bruce Engebretson
  • NYM Community Band
    Comprised of several well versed and talented community musicians, the NYM Community Band is proud to play for the Longest Night Music Festival for the second year in a row!
  • Ben Ranson
    Ben Ranson, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, is a singer songwriter who infuses humor into much of his work. Playing the guitar, bass, and other string instruments, Ben’s repertoire draws from many genres including jazz, folk, country, and rock and roll. Ben has worked with Blind Joe and the duo has performed as the opening act for Leon Russell.
  • Kevin Mastel
    Kevin Mastel lives in New York Mills and grew up in Beach, North Dakota. At age 8, Kevin picked up his dad's Yamaha classical guitar with instruction book. Taught myself how to play This
    Land Is Your Land and kept learning new songs. At age 9 started piano lessons which were convenient as my piano teacher lived right across the street. Early musical influences include: John Denver, Carole King, James Taylor, Elton John and The Carpenters. Have played a variety of stringed instruments over the years including: guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele and stringed
    bass. Currently play guitar, mandolin and piano. Have sung in choir all my life. My musical tastes include: folk, rock, bluegrass, Americana, Contemporary Christian and Showtunes. Currently
    using my musical talents at St. Lawrence Catholic church singing and playing guitar in the choir. The songs I will be singing I consider Eclectic Folk.
  • Kristina Martino
    Kristina is our Artist in Residence during the Longest Night Music Festival. She will be reading a poem from her collection.
  • Katie Baker
    I had tried piano, drums, and violin, but nothing satisfied me until I picked up a guitar in 7th grade. The sounds it conveyed hooked and captivated me instantly; now I had an instrument I could put my music to. Born an Otter Tail County native, it was easy to find talent shows and open mics to challenge myself as a musician. My family supported me immensely as both sides included musicians and music lovers. Now, I spend time in Music Ministry at area Assemblies of God and making music with a five-piece band! I’ll play and sing nearly anything, and I don’t intend to stop using this gift until the Good Lord decides!
  • Dave Virnala
    Dave, a dedicated regular at the Cultural Center’s Open Mic nights, began playing guitar at the age of eight. His influences include John Prine and Guy Clark. Dave has performed at every Longest Night Music Festival
  • Erik Keranen
    Erik Keranen is a singer-songwriter-poet-troubadour from the frozen tundra (aka Otter Tail County). Erik recently did a stint in the Nashville scene, and though it was a great run, he is happy to be back in Minnesota. Erik began his musical journey on the piano at age 5, picked up the trumpet in 5th grade and was playing guitar with Jim Sunstrom and the Country Aires by age 15. Since then he has added harmonica, ukulele, lap steel, bass guitar and a few other things with strings to his expanding musical plate. Erik has issued two independent albums of original music called “Grin” and “Wake Up Call” and has played with The King Bees, Atomic Cafe, and loads of other bands over the years.
  • Amanda Standalone
    Amanda Standalone is a writer, folk musician and multi-instrumentalist from Minnesota. Her music is a blend of acoustic folk/blues strongly influenced by American Roots music. She skillfully attacks the guitar, banjo, and her single stringed washtub, while packing an extra punch with her rich vocals.

We hope you can join us for this FREE community event, the last Cultural Center concert of 2019, and a wonderful chance to PAUSE + CONNECT with neighbors and friends amidst the flurry of holiday activities.

Enjoy Backwoods BBQ pulled pork nacho fixings and assorted beverages thanks to Backwoods BBQ and Mills Market for the delicious food!

This free community event is our way of celebrating local artists and community, and saying THANKS for all the support all year long. We are so grateful for all of our donors, volunteers and supporters that make our work possible!

The night begins at 7:00. Doors open at 6:30, with pre-event music by Bruce Engebretson. ALL are welcome!

NOTE: The letterpress print image pictured here is designed by local artist and print-maker, Nikki Thompson of Barn Owl Press. Prints are for sale at the Cultural Center, along with more of Nikki’s beautiful work. To learn more, visit or