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Antics for All Ages

Doo Wop Divas1 / 3
Josie Nelson2 / 3
Mikko Cowdery3 / 3

Antics for All Ages, a benefit for the Alexandria Senior Center, will be held Saturday, May 10 at the Alexandria Area Arts Association Theatre.

There will be two performances, a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening show at 7 p.m.

Masters of ceremonies are Lonnie Wing and Joe Korkowski. Pre-show entertainment will be performed by Kenny Meyer at the matinee and Doc’s All Stars in the evening.

Ushering will be provided by a local Red Hats Group at the matinee and Golden Brotherhood of Lions in the evening.

Tickets are $10 per person and are general admission at the door. For more information, call the Senior Center at (320) 762-2087.


Doris and Roger Thompson from Alexandria have been performing music together for the past eight and a half years. They enjoy entertaining for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, senior centers, banquets, birthdays and anniversaries.

They like to create variety with country music, swing songs of the 1930s and sing-a-longs of days gone by. Roger especially enjoys tailoring dozens of parodies to particular audiences.


The Jefferson High School (JHS) Jazz Combo formed in 2013. It plays a wide range of genres, including pieces from Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa and several rock, pop and hip-hop tunes.

Members include Paul Meland, tenor sax, a JHS senior who will major in music in college. Kirby Karpan, bass, is also a senior at JHS. She plans to play music in college as well. Sam Carlson, keyboards, and Sam Christiansen, guitar, are juniors. Geoffrey Gripentrog, drums, is a sophomore.

After earning an “outstanding” score at a recent musical competition, the group has expanded its repertoire to include original arrangements and compositions.


The Doo Wop Divas is a group of women with a shared interest in music of the 1950s and ’60s. The group was formed in 2010 by Linda Engfer. It has appeared in the Red Willow Arts Coalition Concert Series, Art in the Park, Aging Antics, the Douglas County Fair and various other events.


Bill Riggs has been playing his trumpet in Alexandria since the fall of 1960. He played with Ann Polesak and her trio early that fall on weekends. Ever since, he has played with small and large groups in the area. Riggs holds social science and speech teaching degrees and has a minor in music.


Louie Moreno started playing the guitar at 15. His father then bought Moreno equipment such as an accordion, sound equipment and more so they could record together.

Moreno liked to make people laugh, so his first big hit was Dog Poop Between My Toes. Later, he and his brother played at the old Homestead Inn on Highway 27.

When he started playing at Don’s Ballroom in 1989, he officially named his band ’57 Chevy.


Doc’s All Stars has played big band music for dances and civic events over the years. The dixie group is a break off from the Big Band group and has played many civic events and church services. Many of the players in the All Stars are also in the dixie group.


Ken Meyer was raised in a musical family in Trimont. At age 14, he organized a polka band, playing accordion and trumpet. Later, he played with a country band on KSUM Radio in Fairmont. He moved to Clarissa in the early 1950s and started the Eagle Valley Playboys Band and played at KWAD Radio in Wadena.

Meyer was stationed in Germany with USAF, where men from Kentucky and Virginia taught him stringed instruments and bluegrass music.

In Douglas County, he played with Veo’s Trio Band and later formed his own band, remaining there for 50 years.

He has also done some recording in Nashville, Tennessee; Branson, Missouri; Texas and Colorado. His original songs include My Skidoo, Good Old Minnesota and Pretty Flowers.


Mikko Cowdery has been sharing his songs in public venues for more than 50 years. The Long Prairie native performed folk songs in coffee houses across the country in the early 1960s, played rock ‘n’ roll and country in the ’70s and ’80s, and returned to his Irish music roots in the 1990s. He loves singing jazz and pop standards from the ’40s and ’50s, when you could “tap your toe to the rhythm, whistle the melody and understand every word that was being sung.”


The Runestone Rockettes was founded in 2000 by Janice Shogren. It is a group of approximately 12 women who love to dance and have fun. They perform at local events throughout Central Minnesota and the Dakotas.

In the Rockettes, members must be at least 60 years old to join. The oldest member is 84.

The mission of the Runestone Rockettes is to give a positive image on aging and to have fun.


Sax Appeal is a duo comprised of Chuck Wencl, saxophonist, and his daughter, vocalist Michelle Wencl, both of Alexandria. Their format combines live performance, the technology of computers and midi music, and the sound of a five-piece band.

Chuck started playing saxophone in 5th grade in a family band with his father and brother. He studied at the Navy School of Music and received a degree in music education from the University of Minnesota, Morris. He performs throughout the area and teaches private music lessons at Carlson Music Center in Alexandria.

Michelle has been singing jazz, pop and country professionally for nine years. Her most memorable moments have been performing at the Stardust in Las Vegas, Nevada and working with her father.


Josie Nelson is a 14-year-old singer/songwriter from Alexandria. She began performing at age 9 and writing music at 10. In 2011, she placed first in her division at the Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest singing one of her original songs, Sunshine.

Nelson has had opportunities to perform on stage as well as write and record music in Los Angeles with multi-platinum songwriters and producers.


The Men’s Chorus began in March 2013. Wanting to develop a group for men who enjoy singing, local resident Paul Anderson contacted area churches, music directors and other sources in search of members.

The group is under the conductorship of Steve Dietz and has a current membership of approximately 30 vocalists. 

Chorus members come from many backgrounds. It is open to men who love to sing.

The musical repertoire originally consisted of sacred titles but has since expanded to include spirituals, show tunes, barber shop and more.


The members come from Alexandria, Barrett, Brandon, Elbow Lake, Evansville, Hoffman, Herman, Glenwood, Parkers Prairie, Starbuck and Wadena. They perform in barbershop harmony.


First Act

● Men’s Choir

● Runestone Rockettes

● Mikko Cowdery

● Doris and Roger Thompson

● Bill Riggs

● Josie Nelson

Second Act

● Jefferson Jazz Ensemble

● The Alexienne Chorus

● Sax Appeal

● Louie Moreno

● Doo Wop Divas