On February 16th at 1:00 PM Larry Long & JD Steele will be giving a one hour seminar for Black History Month entitled Freedom, Oh Freedom: The Power of Song at the Minneapolis Media Institute, College of Media Arts, in Edina, MN.  The Recording Campus is in the old Flyte Tyme Studios, where Grammy Winners Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis created countless gold and platinum records.  MMI is accredited by ACCSC.  For more information, go to www.MediaInstitute.edu.

Larry Long will be joining Hang Dynasty and the Leech Lake Honor Guard  in Cass Lake, January 27-28 in a benefit concert to raise money for “Bring A Vet Home” (BRAVE), an organization devoted to helping homeless U.S. military veterans.

“Hang Dynasty” is a four-piece rock-and-roll band whose members have played with some of the most successful acts in rock history, including The Steve Miller Band, Prince, Bob Dylan, Boz Scaggs, The Beach Boys, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, Kenny Loggins and others.

The concerts will be held at Cadillac’s Northstar Grille in Cass Lake on Friday, January 27 and Saturday, January 28. Both shows are scheduled to run from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Hang Dynasty members include:

  • Billy Peterson. Billy has performed with The Steve Miller Band, Bob Dylan, the Righteous Brothers and many others
  • Kenny Lee Lewis. Kenny Lee has provided lead guitar and vocals for many acts including The Beach Boys, The Steve Miller Band, Edgar Winter and B.B. King
  • Ricky Peterson. A keyboarder and vocalist, Ricky has performed with The Steve Miller Band, Bonnie Raitt, John Mayer and Stevie Nicks
  • Paul Peterson. Paul’s musical resume includes percussion and vocals alongside Prince, Kenny Loggins and Boz Scaggs, in addition to The Steve Miller Band

Groups being helped by this event are the Salvation Army, which provides transitional housing and support services to homeless U.S. military veterans and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.

Tickets are:  General Admission $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and are available at Cadillac’s Northstar Grille, the Cass Lake Chamber of Commerce and online at www.bringavethome.com. A limited number of reserved seats are available at the same outlets for $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

Studies by the Veterans Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimate that on any given day, 67,000 military veterans are battling with homelessness. Veterans make up more than one-third of the homeless population.  Many suffer from psychological problems brought on by the trauma of combat, while others suffer feelings of isolation that make it difficult to assimilate back into society.

Larry Long will be featured this evening at 6 PM on ‘Centerstage Minnesota’, KAXE, Grand Rapids.  The program that will include an interview with Larry and music from his just release CD, Don’t Stand Still.  It will also air Saturday at noon.   This segment will also be posted on the KAXE.org webpage.

For more information, contact:
Music Director/Arts & Culture Producer
Northern Community Radio, 91.7 KAXE
260 NE 2nd St, Grand Rapids, MN 55744
(218) 326-1234

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (12/15/11) — On Sunday, January 15, 2012, from 4-6 p.m., the University of Minnesota will host the 31st Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert featuring Committed, winners of NBC’s The Sing-Off, plus Larry Long with musical guests Tonia HughesBilly Peterson, and Billy Steele. The concert will take place at the University’s Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 4th Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, U of M West Bank campus). This program honors Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Reginald Buckner, founder of the MLK, Jr. Concert.

When the University of Minnesota’s Martin Luther King Jr. Concert began more than 30 years ago, it was the only tribute of its kind in Minnesota. The late Reginald Buckner, School of Music professor and an accomplished performer and composer, founded the concert and began the tradition of celebrating the life and accomplishments of Dr. King through the performing arts. After professor Buckner’s death in 1989, the University continued to honor Buckner’s memory and artistic genius by carrying on the inspiring legacy of this annual program. The Martin Luther King Celebration is now a joint program of the University of Minnesota’s Office for Equity and Diversity and the School of Music.

The concert is free of charge and open to the public; no advance tickets or reservations are required. For more information about the program, or for disability accommodations, contact the Office for Equity and Diversity at oed@umn.edu or 612-624-0594. Visit z.umn.edu/MLK2012 for more information.


Committed is a highly sought-after a cappella singing group comprised of six young men who love creativity, music, and God. The group began in 2003 at Forest Lake Academy and solidified their sound while at school at Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL. Members of the group include Maurice Staple, Alain “Tommy” Gervais, Theron “Therry” Thomas, Robbie Pressley, Dennis “DJ” Baptiste, and Geston Pierre.

Committed has been compared to a cappella groups like Take 6 and Boyz II Men. What sets Committed apart is its versatility – four out of the six members are instrumentalists, and all of them are able to sing various styles of music from gospel, pop, R&B, contemporary worship, and jazz.

The group was featured on the second season of NBC’s hit singing competition, “The Sing Off,” and emerged as the season two champions. It has been their strong faith, hard work, and creativity that has gotten them to the point of being called one of the nation’s top ten a cappella groups. Committed truly believes that “with God all things are possible,” and they continue to work toward inspiring people through music. More on Committed’s website.

Larry Long, called “a true American Troubadour” by author Studs Terkel, has made his life work the celebration of American stories and heroes. Long’s hundreds of ballads readily capture the American history of our time, while embracing our common humanity with stories about those history makers who are known and those who are unknown. He has worked in urban communities with Latin, Somali, African-American, and Scandinavian students. He has worked in southern rural communities combining black, white, Native American and Latin stories.

Now a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist, Long has sung at major festivals, concerts and events throughout the U.S. and internationally. Long is a recipient of the prestigious Bush Artists Fellowship, the Pope John XXIII Award and In The Spirit of Crazy Horse Award for his work in forgotten communities. For more information, visit Larry Long’s website.

Tonia Hughes has spent the last five years broadening her appeal in the Twin Cities by garnering critical acclaim in musical theatrical productions throughout the area. Her latest and long-awaited release I’m Ready Now is uniquely different from anything that she has done to date in that it embodies all that she is vocally and spiritually.

In addition to serving as a lead vocalist with the Grammy and Stellar Award nominated Excelsior Chorale Ensemble, Hughes has provided background vocals at various events featuring Tremaine Hawkins, Rance Allen, and William Murphy. Because of her versatile vocal ability, Hughes has opened for various events featuring legendary music artists such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Little Richard. However, she’s most grateful for the experience garnered while working with industry powerhouses Fred Hammond, Mary J. Blige, and Judith Christie McAllister.

Billy Peterson is one of the premier bass players in the world, as well as a successful producer and arranger. He has worked with Ben Sidran, Eddie Harris, Leo Kottke, Bob Dylan and Steve Miller, to name a few. Peterson was also the bassist for the Steve Miller band for 20 years. More at Jazz.com.

The youngest of the Steele siblings, Billy Steele performs, writes, and produces for the Grammy Award-winning ensemble, the Sounds of Blackness, for who he is currently serving as Assistant Director. He is the co-recipient of three Grammys via this talented ensemble. He continues to write and produce for various artists, including the Steeles. His voice has been heard on soundtracks with artists such as Rod Stewart, Luther Vandross and many more. Recently, he collaborated on the Disney soundtrack Legends, The John Henry Story, narrated by James Earl Jones. More at the Steele’s website.

Celebratign Appalachian CommunitiesLarry just facilitated his second in a series of collective songwriting workshops in the Appalachian communities of Section and Camp Hill, Alabama through a partnership with PACERS through Larry’s nonprofit, Community Celebration of Place. Celebrating Appalachian communities is a project through which young people and adults will document and celebrate their towns, culminating in two community celebrations in June, 2012. Funded through the generous support from the Appalachian Regional Commission. (Stay tuned!)

In 2007 I was asked to write a song to honor the Eden Prairie Fire Department. After going out with them on a fire run the first draft of Duty, Honor, Courage, was written. The song remained unfinished until 2009, when I visited Ground Zero.

Duty, Honor, Courage

Here’s to the people who put out the fires
Who fall into line, seem never to tire
In helmets of white, red, yellow, and black
When they go in might never come back
Walking through fire when danger is near
To give their life year after year
With a water-hose,as a life line
Never to leave their buddy behind

Duty, Honor, Courage

We cannot summon the rain
Nor make the wind blow
But we can raise up a fire
Know your way out, stop, drop, and roll.

First responders and EMT’s
Neighbors, classmates, and family
Soon to go in to the base of that tower
Everything in life has a golden hour
Suicide, stroke, a heart attack
A Senator in a plane crash
Surrounded by flames above a crib
A fire fighter now holding him

Duty, Honor, Courage
We are in trouble down here
There’s blood in the dirt
Looking up to the sky
For help on this earth

Please don’t hide under your bed
Crawl low and go to stars overhead
With your family away from harm
Change those batteries in your fire alarm
Train like a team, no time to freelance
Nobody’s life should be left to chance
Count to five when you’re in a rush
Give thanks to those in them fire trucks

Duty, Honor, Courage

Words & Music by Larry Long

This year, the Minneapolis Monarch Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept 10, at Lake Nokomis. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association and Community Celebration of Place invite you to join us at the Festival to learn about our state’s official butterfly – the Monarch.

Last year, an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 guests and volunteers helped nearly 400 live Monarch butterflies start their amazing 2,300 mile migration from Minnesota to the mountains of Michoacán Mexico. The Festival highlights this Minnesota – Mexico connection with with cross-cultural food, music, dance, habitat awareness and art.

Specialists from native plant vendors will be on-hand to explain and sell Monarch-friendly garden plants. Enjoy guided prairie-garden tours, canoe rides on Lake Nokomis, and monarch-inspired art and games. Back by popular demand, the steamroller operated by ArtOrg (last year’s photos) and Grupo Soap del Corazon, will roll over special print blocks created by kids to make individual butterfly artwork.

There will be performances by Mariachi Mi Tierra, the Javier Trejo Trio (Mexican/Americana), Larry Long (American Folk), the Tropical Zone Orchestra (Salsa), KetzalCoatlicue (Aztec Dance), Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca (Traditional dance), Larrie Yazzie (Native American Fancy Dance) and Batak (Fusion Jazz).

For more information: http://www.monarchfestival.org/

In 2007 Larry wrote a song to honor the Eden Prairie Fire Department. After going out with them on a fire, the first draft of Duty, Honor, Courage, was written. The song remained in limbo until 2009, when he performed at Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday party at Madison Square Garden, and visited Ground Zero for the first time on that trip.

On 9/11 he’ll be performing Duty, Honor, Courage at the 10th Anniversary of 9-11 on the Capitol steps with more than 12 different faith communities offering words of consolation and inspiration. Government leaders, including Governor Dayton, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and other elected officials; members of law-enforcement, military, firemen and EMS personnel will represent those who serve.

Participating musicians and artists include Brother Ali, Larry Long, Sheila Ray Charles, and Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. Music Director Scott Winters will direct an all-volunteer orchestra made up of some of the area’s top classical musicians.

Make your plans to attend with your family and friends today. Bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on the capitol lawn.

You can learn more at their official website, www.minnesotansstandingtogether.com

This month’s Longfellow-Nokomis Messenger has a great article on the Minneapolis Monarch Festival, which will be held this year on September 10 at Lake Nokomis.

Get close to monarchs during Lake Nokomis festival Sept. 10
By Tesha M. Christensen

Send a monarch butterfly on its amazing journey from Minnesota to the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico during the Monarch Festival at Lake Nokomis on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011.

“It doesn’t really matter who you are or where you come from, people find the monarch fascinating,” said Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA) Executive Director Rita Ulrich.

The purpose of the Monarch Festival, according to Lis Young-Isebrand of the Monarch Lab at the University of Minnesota, “is to bring our diverse community of people together to celebrate and learn about monarchs.”

She pointed out: “Adult monarchs weigh less than a paper clip (about half a gram), yet they are able to fly over 2,000 miles to Mexico in the fall and back to Texas in the early spring. And, they are beautiful! The monarch is simply amazing.”

Read the full story…

Through 2011-2012  CCP and Larry are working in partnership with PACERS:  Celebrating Appalachian Communities.

Throughout Appalachia there are examples of celebrations and festivals that have positive financial outcomes and improved community resilience and well-being.  With generous assistance from the Appalachian Regional Commission,  PACERS will build upon and expand this tradition by holding in Section (Jackson County) and Camp Hill (Tallapoosa County)  comprehensive multi-day workshops that will develop replicable models for community festivals/celebrations while jointly training young people and community members to document their communities through the arts:  including music, photography, videography, and  graphic design.  Workshops will also include sessions on festival/celebration publicity and organizational requirements.  Workshops—beginning in August, 2011—will be two to three day events and will set the foundation for a local celebration.  They will be preceded and followed by school-based opportunities for students to undertake community documentation and celebration projects (e.g. photo essays, music or video CD’s).  Students and PACERS chapter will be provided with appropriate technology with professional support for its application.

Workshop leaders will include Dr. Jay Lamar, Director of the Center for Arts and Humanities (as well as other professionals associated with the center);  Larry Long, creator of Elders Wisdom Childrens Song (www.communitycelebration.org and www.larrylong.org) ;  Andrew Goetz, nationally recognized photographer (www.goetzphoto.com); Fred Fluker, graphic designer, and Dr. Jennifer Adams, Director of the Journalism Program Auburn University.  Local teachers,  musicians, and other community members will also participate in the workshops and in school settings.

Larry’s appearance on the Mary Hanson Show will be re-broadcast on Channel 6, the Metro Cable Network (MCN) on Sept. 5 at 9 PM in honor of Labor Day. The interview, “An Interview with Larry Long,” will also be seen on the Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) on cable Channel 17 at the following times:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 8 PM
  • Sunday, Aug. 28 at 10 AM
  • Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 8 PM
  • Sunday, Sept. 4 at 10 AM

Larry’s currently in Alabama leading workshops through his not-for-profit Community Celebration of Place and its program Elder’s Wisdom, Children’s Song. The organization goes into schools across the United States, bringing with it elders from the community-at-large who then share their life stories and life lessons with the students. The students then take what they’ve learned and create a song for their elder, which they sing during an honor ceremony for the elders.

It’s often a very powerful experience for everyone involved, and EWCS gets a number of emails every year from students who have been through the process and are still affected by it years later. This is one email that came in a few days ago, and Larry asked that we post it (with kind permission).

Hi Larry,

There is little to no chance that you remember me, as I was all of 9 years old when we met (I was the rowdy kid who played the piano). That year marked the inaugural year of EWCS in Spearfish, and you worked with my 4th grade class to pen a song in tribute to an effervescent and unforgettable Ms. Louise Smock. Now twelve years afterward, I remember that experience as one of incredible joy and significance, not only for the kids involved but for the entire community. I am so happy to see that this program not only continues to be a part of my old school, but has also expanded to other Black Hills communities.

As reports of recalcitrant youth across the globe fill the nightly news, it’s reassuring to know that we in the Black Hills are still teaching our kids to be good people, to appreciate the value of hard work, and perhaps most importantly, to afford our elders the adoration and respect they so deserve. Although I may not have understood the significance at the time, those few weeks we spent hearing stories from Ms. Smock and the subsequent songwriting we did with you were exceptionally memorable and will stay with me throughout my life. In short, as an alumnus of your first year program, I wanted to reach out and say thank you for doing this and for continuing to invest in our community. It means more than you could ever know.

[…] Music remains a huge part of my life and have picked up a number of new instruments and playing styles. Should you find yourself in Boston this year, or China/Singapore next year, bring a guitar and let’s play some music! I hope that someday, I can help carry on the EWCS tradition. You and Hank Fridell (If you speak with him or know how to get in touch with him, please send my best to him and his wife) created something great with this program, and I hope that I can be a part at some point. Would be a great honor. Until then, hope all is well. Drop me a note if you get a chance. Keep up the great work!


Eight community organizations working on the tornado recovery effort in North Minneapolis were the recipients of funds from the June 12, 2011, benefit concert at the State Theatre.

Larry Long, who headed the organizing committee and was instrumental in organizing both the concert and the efforts to distribute the funds, was the main speaker at a July 13, 2011, press conference announcing the organizations and handing over funds and a framed commemorative print from the event signed by the performers.

The charitable dollars went directly to nonprofit organizations whose missions are to provide shelter, food, medical services, counseling, child care, utility assistance, youth mentoring and employment opportunities to the residents of North Minneapolis.

For more information, check out the Northside Benefit website at www.northsidebenefit.org.