I’m on the road again, so thus the tardy and abbreviated version of my usual long ramble. Before I left town though, I did have a lovely mid-afternoon get-together at the Muffuletta that included neighbor, Julie Himmelstrup, from Music in the Park Series. Julie brought new Schubert Club Artistic and Executive Director, Barry Kempton as well as Paul Olson, the Schubert’s Development Director.

The new partnership between these two organizations has gotten off to a great start and the artistic and structural strengths both bring to the relationship mean good things for music fans in the metro. It was one of those conversations that just kept expanding as we talked about the potential to create exciting new opportunities by combining different musical styles and performers.

Mr. Kempton returns to Minnesota from the City of London Sinphonia. Before that, he spent 11 years right here in the Twin Cities with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. I was impressed with his energy and understanding of the importance of music at a neighborhood level and look forward to the innovative programming that could result from the collaboration of these two wonderful organizations.

Music in the Park is a beloved concert series that has been nurtured by our community for over three decades. We take justifiable pride in its success even though it has many faithful supporters not only beyond the borders of District 12, but beyond the borders of this country. Julie was the very deserving recipient of the 2011 Spirit of the Park Award and continues to provide the artistic passion that makes this series so special.

I left the meeting with a heightened expectation for the future of the Schubert Club, the Series and performances in St. Anthony Park. We are lucky to have the opportunity to support and enjoy talent at this level of artistic achievement.

D12 – things continue to percolate in the Creative Enterprise Zone. The sale of 550 Vandalia has brought a lot of excitement to the area with prospects of additional creative enterprise space and, as I mentioned previously, even the possibility of an urban farm…Starling is getting closer to renting some storefronts… the Kasota Pond clean-up on April 28 is just around the corner, so put it on your calenda

Listserv – Sandy Jacobs from Update Companies had praise for a snow dog sculpture she saw in Hampden Park...…JOTP is registering kids for their spring programs. They also continue to work with the city to extend their lease and bring a year-round soccer field to SSA…apparently, some local folks have been having trouble with their Comcast service lately. Lots of comments pro and con for Comcast and Qwest and also reporting of squirrels causing the problems...the Raptor Center's reputation is growing internationally - they were invited to present in Taiwan recently.

StAPnotesJohn Tunucci from the Colossal Café just returned from Kuwait where he helped prepare a big steak dinner served to our troops serving over there. John is part of a group of local restaurateurs who have put together meals for the military and their families for years. The stateside effort was hosted at the River Centre and included laptops with skype hook-ups so the families could reconnect. I’m sure it was very much appreciated by all.