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Curtis & Loretta in concert April 2 in NYM

Photo provided Curtis & Loretta

Curtis & Loretta will present Minnesota Heritage in Song at New York Mills Cultural Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. Admission to this concert is $12 advance sale or $15 the day of the concert. Student admission is $5 anytime.

Traditional folk music duo Curtis & Loretta present a brand new program, Our Minnesota Heritage in Song, which grew out of a project created for the 2008 Minnesota Sesquicentennial. This is a concert made up entirely of songs folks would have been singing in Minnesota in 1858, when it was a new state. These traditional musical gems highlight the married couple's old world charm as never before. Dressed in 1800s costumes, the duo makes history come alive with their seamless harmonies and period instruments, including banjo, celeste (a charming antique keyboard that plays bells), folk harp, mandocello, harmonica and guitar.

The concert illustrates our state's history, with topical threads that remain relevant today. Aside from being entertaining, this show is very educational in terms of Minnesota history as it became a state, and also how it influenced, and was affected by, the rest of the United States. Between songs, Curtis & Loretta impart much knowledge of Minnesota history. Before "Lincoln and Liberty," the duo lets the audience know that this was Lincoln's campaign song in the 1860 election. It is thought to be written by Jesse Hutchinson Jr., of the family that founded Hutchinson, Minn. This was the infant Minnesota's first time voting in U.S. history, and we helped elect Lincoln, against great odds.

Before "Darlin' Nelly Gray," a very famous abolitionist anthem, the duo illustrates the fact that Minnesota first influenced national politics in a big way back in 1857. Dred Scott, with his "master," lived at Fort Snelling for a time. When he returned to Missouri, a slave state, and his "master" died, he petitioned the Supreme Court to become a free man, since he had lived in Minnesota, which was free territory. Of course the Dred Scott Decision of 1857 turned him down, and helped lead up to the Civil War. "When This Cruel War is Over," the most popular song in the Union during the Civil War, of course ties in with Minnesota's sacrifice of so many men during that bloody conflict.

Curtis & Loretta have performed together professionally for more than 30 years. They have toured across the U.S., performing at folk festivals, folk concert halls, universities, and on national and regional public radio.