Live from the Iron Range

This winter while creating a reel for Hello, Range!, I bumped into a song by violist Lindsey Stirling. Rated the “highest-ranked female” on Forbes 2015 YouTube Artist List, Stirling played in Hibbing in the mid-2000s during her rise to fame. Her live performance stuck with me. Stirling is classically trained, but she plays violin like a rock star. Her show at Minnesota North College–Hibbing was dynamic, and hearing her music again reminded me how much I love classical music.

This fall I had the opportunity to tour the new Rock Ridge school. Among a variety of jaw-dropping attributes (have you seen the theater?), one area in particular caught my eye: the Birnstihl-Peer Music Arts Wing.

With practice rooms for lessons and a humidity controlled closet, the Birnstihl-Peer wing looks like something from a music school. At its center chairs and tables allow for coursework and collaboration. Around the perimeter are the private areas for music making–including a recording studio. And the instruments! It made me want to be a student again creating music in concert with others.

I think we forget how powerful live music can be if we have not taken in a performance for awhile. With COVID, we all got in the habit of staying home. Recently I have been working to attend arts events available to me. Last summer our family attended a performance of La Boheme, presented by Northern Lights Music Festival, at the Mesabi East theater. The venue was sold-out, and the hall rung with the powerful sounds of professional performers bringing life the classic opera.

With the new snow and return of colder temperatures, I find myself checking out the list of events at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids and the upcoming performances of the Mesabi Symphony Orchestra. I love the escape into good performance, where time disappears and creativity awakens.

One of the perks of being located where we are is the easy access to Duluth’s arts’ offerings. But we also have our own amazing events, spaced nicely on the calendar and across the region. Our new page “Arts on the Range” was created to help broadcast these opportunities.

Music and art are integral to a rich life. Seeing the music wing at Rock Ridge and the Crescendo Youth Orchestra kids carrying their violins into the Lincoln elementary, I am happy our students get the opportunity to make music. Maybe they will become famous. But more importantly, they are getting to create and in the process experience the sound and energy of LIVE music.

Perhaps I’ll see you at the next concert. 🙂








  • Essentia Health Jobs
  • Iron Range Tourism Bureau
  • City of Hibbing
  • East Range Joint Powers Board
  • Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation
  • L&M Radiator