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Grand Opening - Bios

MEET ME AT THE MASTODON
for an epic celebration!

Grand Opening! ND Heritage Center & State Museum
Grand Opening!

November 2, 2014
10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

ND Heritage Center
& State Museum

All events are FREE

Debi Rogers

Debi Rogers

Debi Rogers is a teller of tales, musician, actress, director, and artist-in-resident for the North Dakota Council on the Arts. With degrees in Theater Arts and Choral Music and numerous acting and directing roles to her credit, she's at home on the stage - from concert hall to school, outdoor festival to senior center, theatrical stage to Irish pub. As a K-12 educator Debi was awarded a Fulbright to study in Japan, served as an artistic ambassador for North Dakota in Iceland, sang a soprano solo onstage at Carnegie Hall, and is a featured solo artist on the Prairie Public Television series, “North Dakota Musicians.”

Through travels to Ireland and Scotland and from her master teachers Debi has learned a wide repertoire of Celtic (Kel-tic) songs, dances, tales and tunes which she incorporates into her residencies and performances.

Her earliest memory as a wee child was practicing flying and harping in her basement to become an Irish fairy.

The Heritage Singers

The Heritage Singers

It is fitting that a mens’ chorus called “The Heritage Singers” appear in concert to help us celebrate North Dakota’s 125th Anniversary and the grand opening of the new North Dakota Heritage Center, especially since they also performed at the Heritage Center’s original opening ceremonies in 1982.

With more than 40 members from Minot and the surrounding area, The Heritage Singers’ reputation for outstanding musical performance is only outmatched by their tireless charitable work supporting their community and promoting male choral singing. The Heritage Singers are the primary sponsors of three music scholarships at Minot State University, and during the devastating flood of 2011, raised and distributed over $50,000 to assist with flood relief. The bulk of their fundraising comes from a yearly variety show each February which has become a high point in Minot’s entertainment calendar. Along with the variety show, their concert season includes an annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, a Christmas concert called “A Festival of Lessons and Carols,” and a spring concert.

It has been the Heritage Singers’ privilege to serve as the Governor’s Chorus, and to represent Minot, North Dakota, and the United States with concert tours of Norway, Austria, Germany, Scotland, Ireland, and most recently Italy where they performed in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Robert Evans

Robert Evans

Robert Evans recently finished painting a 6’ x 50’ cyclorama scene of Double Ditch Indian Village within the Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples. Robert painted this extraordinary scene for four months.

He has been painting murals and exhibit paintings professionally for over 20 years. His murals can be seen in museums, zoos, aquaria, civic buildings and residences in the Boston area and across the United States.

Rob employs a variety of techniques, including painting directly on exhibit site walls, and painting full-scale murals on canvas or panels, which are shipped from the studio and installed on-site. A third approach is to create smaller-scale paintings that get digitally enlarged, printed on canvas or other materials, installed and touched up on-site.

Chuck Suchy

Chuck Suchy

Chuck Suchy (pronounced soo-key) is the real thing--one of the foremost musical voices of the American Great Plains. A working farmer, born and raised and at home in the blue hills along the Missouri River south of Mandan, North Dakota, Chuck Suchy has a love for making music that goes back to his childhood. Throughout his youth and young adult life, he found time to perform in the area's halls, clubs and lounges, singing and playing guitar and accordian. In 1982 a major event occurred when an acquaintance gave him a tape of Canadian troubadour Stan Rogers singing his classic Field Behind The Plow. "It was at that moment," Suchy says, "that I realized that the life I was immersed in was worthy of song." He began writing his own ballads and songs, slipping them into his performances and it was soon obvious that he was on to something quite unique -sensitive and honest portrayals of contemporary American farm life, but from an insider's point of view.

In the decade since, Chuck Suchy has continued to write, sing and record songs evoking and extolling the Great Plains region and lifestyle. His themes have expanded to include songs about human relationships, spirituality, motorcycles, and even sailing. The Plains have seen a lot of change over this time, including farm crises, loss of population, and a major restructuring of the agricultural economy. Chuck remains an astute observer of it all and his songs chronicle not only the events, but the emotions and feelings that accompany such upheaval and change.

CROSSROADS MAGAZINE has called Chuck "one of the shining lights of the Upper Great Plains." His music and stories speak to everyone -urban and rural- because laughter, love, gain and loss are common human property.

Steve Stark

Steve Stark

Steve Stark has appeared across North Dakota and the nation with unique history presentations. While telling the story of historical people and events he fast draws those tales in charcoal on giant rolls of paper. Over the years in Fargo, Moorhead and West fargo, students have dubbed him “Mister History”.

As a State Historical Society of North Dakota traveling scholar with his portrayal of Theodore Roosevelt, he’s entertained thousands. Even more have seen him in 28 states across the nation. He also appeared playing Teddy Roosevelt on The History Channel and History Channel International.

Steve’s a national and state award winning editorial cartoonist and he continues to create political cartoons for The Forum newspaper in Fargo Moorhead. Thousands of his illustrations and cartoons have appeared in books, newspapers, magazines and educational publications.

He was a North Dakota Centennial Celebration performer and is currently a North Dakota Council on the Arts artist-in-resident teaching cartooning to school students in the state.

He lives in Fargo where he and his wife Gwen have two sons and two grandchildren

Kevin Locke

Kevin Locke

Kevin Locke (Tokeya Inajin is his Lakota name, meaning "The First to Arise") is known throughout the world as a visionary Hoop Dancer, the preeminent player of the indigenous Northern Plains flute, a traditional storyteller, cultural ambassador, recording artist and educator.

Kevin is Lakota (Hunkpapa Band of Lakota Sioux) and Anishinabe. It was from his mother, Patricia Locke (1991 MacArthur Foundation Grant winner), his uncle Abraham End-of-Horn, mentor Joe Rock Boy, and many other elders and relatives that Kevin received training in the values, traditions and language of his native culture for which he works tirelessly. While his early instructions were received from his immediate family and community, from his extending family in every part of the world Kevin has learned many lessons in global citizenship and how we each can draw from our individual heritages to create a vibrant, evolving global civilization embracing and celebrating our collective heritage.

Kevin Locke's concerts and presentations (please see live performances schedule) at performing arts centers, festivals, schools, universities, conferences, state and national parks, monuments and historic sites, powwows and reservations number in the hundreds annually. Approximately eighty percent of his presentations are shared with children. He is a dance and musical hero and role model for youth around the world. His special joy is working with children on the reservations to ensure the survival and growth of indigenous culture.

Kevin Locke is acknowledged to be the pivotal force in the now powerful revival of the indigenous flute tradition which teetered on the brink of extinction just twenty years ago. In 1990, Kevin was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) which recognized him as a "Master Traditional Artist who has contributed to the shaping of our artistic traditions and to preserving the cultural diversity of the United States."

As a folk artist he is often characterized as being oriented from a tribal-specific background only. But Kevin draws from deep wellsprings of knowledge, distilled and refined over many generations until yielding a profound sense of the universality of the human spirit and its inclination toward harmony, balance, beauty, peace, and the sacred through movement and dance, sound and music. It is universal spirit that Kevin strives to convey through his stories, music, humor, dances and workshops.

Kevin's goal is "to raise awareness of the Oneness we share as human beings." His belief in the Unity of human kind is expressed dramatically in the traditional Hoop Dance which illustrates "the roles and responsibilities that all human beings have within the hoops (or circles) of life."

Touring for two decades, Kevin has performed and lectured in more nearly 80 countries, sharing his high vision of balance, joy and diversity. He has served as a cultural ambassador for the United States Information Service since 1980. Deeply committed to the conservation of Earth's resources for future generations, Kevin was a delegate to the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil and a featured performer and speaker at the 1996 United Nations Habitat II Conference in Turkey.

"All of the people have the same impulses, spirit and goals," reflects Kevin. "Through my music and dance, I want to create a positive awareness of the Oneness of humanity."

Since 1982, Kevin has recorded twelve albums of music and stories, most recently The First Flute, Open Circle, Keepers of the Dream, and Dream Catcher.

Elks Chorus

Elks Chorus

The Elks Chorus has been in existence for decades, bringing music to our state. Several members have 50-plus years of singing with the Chorus.

The Chorus has sung at national Elks conventions. This year they were featured at the commissioning of the nuclear submarine, the USS North Dakota, in Connecticut.

Jessica Rockeman

Jessica Rockeman has been writing and illustrating books for more than 10 years. Jessica and her husband, Karl, live in North Dakota with their dogs and an ever-changing cast of cats.

Kimberly Jondahl

Kimberly Jondahl

Kimberly Jondahl is a North Dakota author, editor, and slightly obsessed cat owner. She wanted to share Nancy Hendrickson’s outstanding images, and Cattitude was born.

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phone: 701.328.2666
email: histsoc@nd.gov