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'Golden Age of Radio' travels back in time

May 17, 2010
Jenn Brookens — Sentinel Staff Writer

FAIRMONT - As part of promoting "Minnesota's Greatest Generation," the Martin County Library system and Fairmont Opera House are bringing "The Golden Age of Radio" to the Opera House stage 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.

The show is part of "Minnesota's Greatest Generation in the Libraries," which brings programs to 270 libraries throughout the state through a partnership between Minnesota Regional public libraries and Minnesota Historical Society.

The main performers for "Golden Age of Radio" are Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. Johnson is a regular guest on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" and broadcasts on National Public Radio stations across the country. Chouinard has also appeared on "A Prairie Home Companion."

Article Photos

Dan Chouinard

Like many of the other "Minnesota's Greatest Generation" shows, the "Golden Age of Radio" aims to preserve and examine the legacy of those who lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and the baby boom.

"These people tour and perform nationally," said Martin County Library system director Jennifer Jepsen. "... The 'Golden Age of Radio' centers on the music that people listening to the radio heard in the '30s and '40s, and there is a slideshow that accompanies it that focuses on Minnesota and the people of the greatest generation, so there's also that historical aspect."

The high-quality performance would have cost presenters about $4,000, if not for a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Jepsen said.

"This partnership with the Minnesota Regional Public Libraries and the Minnesota Historical Society has created a series of programs available," she said. "I contacted Kathi Peterson of the Fairmont Opera House and we thought the 'Golden Age of Radio' program would be a good fit for our community. All the programs are centered around the 'Minnesota's Greatest Generation' theme; there are history plays, film festivals and musicals."

A free-will donation will be accepted at the Opera House for use of the facility.

"The Opera House is a great place to host a musical performance," Jepsen said. "The hardest part was finding a date where the program and the Opera House would be available ... But any opportunity to promote Minnesota and the community seems to be of great interest to the people here."



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