**2021 is a year of new projects, the rejuvenation of old favorites, and the dedicated continuation of well-loved programs and shows.**
Do check out "The Piper's Pandemic Postcard" on the HOME page,
about one piper's experience of the past year plus.
Shop News: All CDs are now available as downloads from this website.
It is always best to purchase directly from the artists!
Laura received a 2020 fellowship award from the American Scandinavian Foundation of NYC! Originally planned for the summer of 2020, she will study Swedish wooden flute with two masters in southern Sweden, along with St. Paul flute-player Amy Shaw, in Summer 2021.
In early 2021, Laura performed in 12 unique livestreamed musical revues with Billy McLaughlin & The Church of the Lost Souls in Minneapolis. These will return in the fall for a new series.
Through early 2020, Laura enjoyed performing with Willow Brae, Brass Lassie, guesting with Neil Gunn & The Gunn Slingers, and performing holiday concerts with SimpleGifts and Billy McLaughlin. We expect all of these projects to heartily return this year.
MacKenzie has also been developing and performing solo programs and concerts. Watch for announcements on new offerings, both in-person and virtual.
Laura is creating several new solo programs for 2021-2022, including "The Outlander Series & Traditional Scottish Music" (episodes one & two) which are destined to become favorites. A concert version of this program is also being offered as Outlander: Scotland's Music.
Also new is "The Irish Piper", a re-telling of The Pied Piper story. Based on the children's book by Minnesota author Jim Latimer, this program is full of traditional music.
Brass Lassie: We remain thrilled with our debut CD and its glowing reviews. Brass Lassie is back as a live ensemble! With some fabulous new members, plans for new arrangements, and guest percussive dancers.
Planned for 2021-2022 are the return of the Scottish music classes, workshops and ceilidhs, more collaborations with poets, more shows with "The Young & The Rest" (Billy McLaughlin and SimpleGifts' show featuring the music of Neil Young and more), developing Brass Lassie's unique repertoire, and presenting a number of popular Solo Programs online and around the region.
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Over the past few years....
--- Poetry & Music: Another dream come true, musical collaborations with favorite poets Michael Dennis Browne, Deborah Keenan, Sharon Chmielarz and Angela Shannon. More to come!
--- Stories & Music: Kevin Strauss (award winning Minnesota author and storyteller) invited Laura to collaborate on a series of programs. The concert programs of stories and music have been: Heroes and Heroines, Heroes and Heroines of Ireland, and Animal Heroes. Laura brought many world music tunes to these fun programs.
--- World Music & Jazz: Laura was deeply honored to be the guest artist in several exciting collaborations -- including One World Consort (Earth Day Concert) and the UWRF 20-piece Jazz Ensemble (University of Wisconsin-River Falls RADD Jazz Series "Universal Language" concert), both directed by David Milne. Dr. Milne's ensemble and jazz arrangements of traditional music plus some of L MacKenzie's tunes are just terrific. And One World Concert got to reprise this music at the Celtic Junction Arts Center. In 2018, Laura was honored to collaborate and perform with the jazz ensembles of St. Olaf College, under the direction of David Hagedorn.
--- Steerage Song: The wonderful Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield, Wisconsin mounted a production of "Steerage Song" (premiered by Theater Latte Da, 2013) and Laura got to reprise her musical role in this entertaining, informative and deeply moving docu-musical. Long may it live!
--- Scottish Music & Piping Schools: Lovely honors - Laura was invited to teach Scottish flute, smallpipes and song at the Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School, plus an invitations back to The Pipers Gathering in Connecticut! Great times, vibrant schools and workshops.
--- Scottish Song and Tune groups: These workshops on Scottish tune repertoire, Scottish songs & Gaelic song have been most enjoyable, and there will be more to come! Laura shares a selection of tunes and songs at each meeting, with notations and lyrics provided - plus tea and cookies. Fun and informal, for any singer or melody player with an interest in learning more Scottish music! Join the mailing list on the HOME page for notices. These workshops will return in 2021.
--- Scottish Cèilidhs at The Celtic Junction Arts Center:
We began a tradition of Scottish-style ceilidhs in 2016. They were a great success, plus loads of fun. The first half of these evenings was an opportunity to get up and give a song, a poem, play a tune, even tell a story - or just sit back and enjoy the cèilidh atmosphere with a beverage from the cash bar. For the second half, we pushed back the chairs and enjoyed Scottish cèilidh dancing with music by the fabulous Neil Gunn & The Gunn Slingers. This tradition has now been taken on by Neil Gunn & the Gunn Slingers, with monthly events at the Celtic Junction Arts Center in St. Paul.
--- Orchestral debuts: Dáithí Sproule, Mary Vanory and Laura have been guest artists with the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra, performing music originally arranged for Altan & the RTE Orchestra.
--- Christmas Season: Always a pleasure to reach the season of SimpleGifts holiday concerts. Our most recent recording is "This Christmastide", and we look forward to our annual Christmastide tour.
--- Year 'Round: Regional concerts and programs, Solo or with Willow Brae, Brass Lassie, Dáithí Sproule, Ross Sutter, SimpleGifts as "The Young & The Rest", and more.