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Unplugged & Birch Bark Bash 2019

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Thank you for joining us for Unplugged 2019 — we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

Feel free to browse the details for this past event below, and make sure to mark your calendars for Unplugged 2020: September 18th - 19th!

Celebrate community, music, craft and storytelling along the lakeshore at our classic Fall celebration.

Friday night will feature the Birch Bark Bash fundraising celebration with a dinner that explores the northern landscape provided by chefs Judi Barsness and Scott Graden, followed by our guest speaker, Carol Sauvion of PBS' Craft in America.

For this year's Saturday night concert, we are very excited to welcome:

  • Special Guest: Detroit-based roots & blues musician and 2018 Kresge Arts Fellow Reverend Robert Jones.
  • Seven Featured Performers: Claudia Schmidt, Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard, Marc Anderson, Simone Perrin, Dane Stauffer, and Bradley Greenwald. See below for perfomer details!
  • Host & Storyteller: Our good friend, renowned storyteller & All Things Considered contributor Kevin Kling.

It will be an unforgettable evening of performances. We hope you can join us!

This engaging weekend also includes our Folk Artisan Marketplace, speaker series, Points North Auction, workshops, coursework and more.

View the event program here!

Saturday Night Performance

Saturday Night Performance

Detroit-based roots & blues musician and storyteller Reverend Robert Jones will join Claudia Schmidt, Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard, Marc Anderson, Simone Perrin, and Dane Stauffer in a memorable night of music and stories, hosted by Kevin Kling.

Perfomer Details

Birch Bark Bash

Birch Bark Bash

This fundraising celebration provides a taste of the best North House has to offer. The evening includes a dinner provided by chefs Judi Barsness (Chez Jude) and Scott Graden (New Scenic Cafe) inspired by our northern landscape, a live auction of craft items and experiences supporting North House's programming, and culminates with our featured speaker, Carol Sauvion of PBS' Craft in America.


Points North Auction

Points North Auction

Consisting of both an online and a live auction, the Points North Auction features one-of-a-kind hand crafts and engaging North Shore experiences for you to bid or. All proceeds support North House's mission so bid high and bid often!

See the items and bid here!

Featured International Instructor: Anders Lindberg

Featured International Instructor: Anders Lindberg

Woodworker Anders Lindberg of Gothenburg, Sweden will teach two courses in green woodworking and offer a public demonstration on Saturday.

Course Details

Folk Artisan Marketplace

Folk Artisan Marketplace

Meet the hands-at-work behind beautiful and useful items for sale. Baskets, felted goods, carved bowls and spoons, jewelry, leather goods, and more will be available for purchase!


Craft Speaker Series

Craft Speaker Series

Four North House instructors, each from one of the major themes of North House coursework, reflect on where they find inspiration and fresh approaches in their craftwork.


Making Music

Making Music

A mini-course, community sing-along, jam session — there are many ways to join in on the music during Unplugged Weekend!


Event Details

Birch Bark Bash

The Birch Bark Bash will feature a multi-course celebration dinner inspired by our northern landscape, the Points North fundraising auction, and a featured talk with Carol Sauvion of PBS' Craft in America. A celebration and fundraiser on the harbor - a night at North House not to be missed!


The evening meal includes hors d'oeuvres, beverages from North Shore Winery, Voyageur Brewing & Fulton Beer, and a multi-course dinner celebrating local growers & providers prepared by Chef Judi Barsness of Chez Jude and Chef Scott Graden of New Scenic Cafe.

Featured Speaker

Carol Sauvion, famed creator and producer of the PBS series Craft In America.

Points North Auction

Dinner with an explorer, a dogsledding adventure, beautiful hand crafts, weekend experiences — the Points North Auction features favorite North Shore experiences and items for you to bid on! Proceeds support North House's mission-driven work, so bid high and bid often! See the items and bid here!

Saturday Night Featured Performers

Reverend Robert Jones, Special Guest

This year we're incredibly excited to welcome Reverend Robert B. Jones Sr. as our special guest. Hailing from Detroit, Rev. Jones is an award-winning multi-instrumental blues and roots musician and inspirational storyteller, as well as being a 2018 Kresge Arts Fellow. See his website for more information and videos.

Prudence Johnson, Featured Performer

Prudence Johnson’s career has taken her from honky-tonks to Carnegie Hall, from the theater stage to the Silver Screen, from the Midwest to the Middle East. With her roots in folk and country music, Prudence developed a passion for jazz and the work of the 20th century’s great songwriters. Visit Prudence's website for more.

Simone Perrin, Featured Performer

Simone is a theater artist and player of quirky instruments that accompany her loud and expressive singing voice. When she's not singing on stage (including a feature on The Prairie Home Companion and a yearly Holiday romp at The Guthrie Theater) she keeps busy with her two little boys, a humble community garden plot and a variety political projects inspired by her woodworker/politician husband, John. Visit her on Instagram and Facebook.

Claudia Schmidt, Featured Performer

Known for her 12-string guitar and mountain dulcimer playing, Claudia has recorded 19 albums and performed across North America and Europe, exploring folk, blues, and jazz. For 45+ years, her gifts as a performer have brought the stage alive and celebrated the power of community in the world. Visit Claudia's website for more.

Dane Stauffer, Featured Performer

Dane Stauffer’s recent credits include another starring turn in “Glensheen” at the History Theatre. He also starred as Scrooge in Dolly Parton's Smokey Mountain Christmas Carol at the Ordway.( Working wtih Dolly was a highlight!) He sings regularly at Crooners Lounge in the Twin Cities, and recently performed in an indie short based on Lorna Landvik’s “ Oh My Stars.” He will be directing “Annie”; at Steppingstone Theatre for Youth this fall, and he continues to teach empowerment through the arts to children and adults in all settings. Visit Dane's website.

Marc Anderson, Featured Performer

Marc Anderson is an internationally acclaimed percussionist with credits on more than 250 recordings and numerous national and international tours. He is a priest in the Soto Zen lineage, and the founder / director of the M2 Foundation, a St. Paul non-profit that advocates for more mindful and compassionate communities. He’s on staff at Macalester College in the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life and at Hamline University in both the anthropology department and with the Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service and Social Justice.

Dan Chouinard, Featured Performer

Pianist, accordionist, accompanist and jack-of-all-genres. Creator of shows for MPR, TPT and other acronyms. Enabler of community sing-alongs. Leader of Lush Country (a classic country band comprised of Prairie Home Companion alumni). Regular and lucky colleague of everyone in the Unplugged band of performers. Visit Dan's website.

Bradley Greenwald, Featured Performer

Bradley Greenwald performs opera, theater, music-theater, concert and recital repertoire with several Twin Cities’ arts organizations. As a writer he adapted Madeleine L'Engle's novel A Wrinkle in Time into a libretto for Libby Larsen’s opera, and wrote the book and lyrics for C., an adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, produced by Theater Latté Da. Bradley made his directing debut in June with L'elisir d'amore for Lyric Opera of the North in Duluth. Visit Bradley on Facebook.

Kevin Kling, Host & Storyteller

Kevin Kling is from Minneapolis, Minnesota where he lives on purpose. ‘When you freeze paradise it lasts a little longer.” He has performed his stories in libraries, school gymnasiums, The Kennedy Center, Off-Broadway, Regional Theaters and Storytelling Festivals around the US, including the National Festival in Jonesborough. His international tours include Australia, Europe and Thailand. He has been a commentator for National Public Radio's “All Things Considered”. Kevin works often with Interact Theater, a company of performers with and without disabilities, exploring how, through our stories, we are connected. Visit Kevin's website for more.


Folk Artisan Marketplace

Friday, 12pm - 4pm and Saturday, 10am - 7pm | Red Building

Meet the hands-at-work behind your favorite beautiful and useful items. Baskets, felted goods, carved bowls, wooden spoons, jewelry, leather goods, and more for sale!

Julie Arthur Woven textiles
Woodspirit Handcraft Wooden utensils, tableware, woven textiles, birch bark craft
    Jarrod Dahl  
    Jazmin Hicks-Dahl  

Crown Trout Jewelers

    Liz Buchiet

    Michael Seilar

Todd Hawkinson Jewelry
Candace LaCosse Leather
Jackson Sneve Birch bark weaving
Julie Kean Birch bark weaving
Otlak felt Studio Felted goods
    Mary Reichert  

Making Music

Tune your banjo, wet your whistle, and join the fun with these musical workshops and events!

Mini Course: Join the Choir - Perform at Unplugged!

Friday, 2 - 4pm

Ever wanted to appear on stage at Unplugged? This is your chance! Performers Dan Chouinard and Bradley Greenwald invite anyone who loves to sing to join their pop up choir. In this short workshop, you’ll learn a four part arrangement of a popular song and perform it on stage on Saturday night. Workshop price includes a ticket to the Saturday night Unplugged performance!

$30 tuition, includes a ticket to the Saturday night performance. Register here.

Public Program | Minnesota Music: Community Sing-Along with Dan Chouinard

Saturday 10am | Blue Building | Free

Humans have been making music together since long before the piano bar and beer choir. Come join this community sing-along with enabler extraordinaire Dan Chouinard, who'll host and accompany at the piano. Bring your favorite sing-along ideas and everyone will join in. All familiar and group-singable songs welcome, from Bach (Lover’s Concerto?) to Broadway to Beatles and beyond. All voices welcome (including kids!).

Music on the Commons

Saturday 10am - 3pm | Blacksmith Shop | Free

Bring an instrument and join in or just pull up a chair and listen as tunes float up under the eaves of the Blacksmith Shop.

10am - 12pm: Old-time music jam session
1pm - 3pm: Singer-Songwriter music circle

Craft Speaker Series

Saturday, 12pm - 4pm | Blue Building | Free to members, $5 each for all others

The composer Gustav Mahler stated “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” How do accomplished craftspeople fan the flames of tradition while exploring new ideas? We’ve invited four voices, each from one of the major themes of North House coursework to reflect on where they find inspiration and fresh approaches in their craftwork.

11am | Looking Back, Looking Forward: Vesterheim's Folk Art School w/ Chris Johnson
12pm | FOODS: Simple, Honest, Aware - A Scandinavian Approach w/Chef Scott Graden
1pm | WOOD: Past & Present: Explorations into Design, Use, and Beauty w/ Jarrod Dahl
2pm | FIBER: History to Handcraft: Cook County History Comes to Life through Fibers w/ Carol Colburn
3pm | METAL: Traditions in Transition: Fantasy Filigree Jewelry w/ Liz Bucheit
4pm | FEATURED GUEST: Behind the Scenes at Craft in America w/ Carol Sauvion

Latest Update: View recent changes →

Course Offerings

Join the Choir! Perform at Unplugged!

Fri, Sep 13th, 2019
Instructors: Dan Chouinard

Lofting and Pattern Making for the Herring Skiff

Sat, Sep 14th, 2019
Instructor: Josh Tolkan

Green Wood Chair Making with Anders Lindberg

Tue, Sep 17th, 2019  –  Sun, Sep 22nd, 2019
Instructor: Anders Lindberg

Green Wood Stool Building with Woven Seats with Anders Lindberg

Mon, Sep 9th, 2019  –  Thu, Sep 12th, 2019
Instructor: Anders Lindberg

Following the Thread: Songwriting with Claudia Schmidt

Fri, Sep 13th, 2019

Natural Dyes in the Steam Box

Wed, Sep 11th, 2019
Instructors: Cheryl Larsen, Karen Smaby

Sámi-Inspired Friendship Bracelet

Wed, Sep 11th, 2019
Instructor: Liz Bucheit

Silversmithing: The Jeweler’s Palette

Wed, Sep 11th, 2019  –  Thu, Sep 12th, 2019
Instructor: Michael Seiler

Birch Bark Tutorial

Wed, Sep 11th, 2019  –  Thu, Sep 12th, 2019
Instructors: Julie Kean, Jack Sneve

Leaf Printing in the Steam Box

Thu, Sep 12th, 2019

Sámi-Inspired Friendship Bracelet: Continuation

Thu, Sep 12th, 2019
Instructor: Liz Bucheit
Mon, Sep 16th, 2019  –  Thu, Sep 19th, 2019
Instructor: Wayne Potratz

Cedar-Strip Boatbuilding: Build Your Own Canoe or Kayak

Mon, Sep 16th, 2019  –  Thu, Sep 26th, 2019
Instructor: Ken Koscik

Blacksmithing: Crafting The Tools of the Trade

Mon, Sep 9th, 2019  –  Wed, Sep 11th, 2019
Instructor: Cody Myers

Wood-Fired Baking: Unplugged Mini Course

Sat, Sep 14th, 2019
12pm - 2pm
Instructor: North House Staff

Wood-Fired Baking: Unplugged Mini Course

Sat, Sep 14th, 2019
3pm - 5pm
Instructor: North House Staff