DETROIT LAKES — For the first time in 34 years, Kathy Larson will not be teaching vocal music when classes at Detroit Lakes Public Schools begin next month.
She also won’t be leading the fall musical, which she did for 28 straight years. In order to properly send him into retirement – while honoring his musical legacy – some of Larson’s former students and colleagues have been busy planning a two-day retirement celebration to be held next weekend, the 13th and August 14.
“I had the idea early in the spring, before I came back for All City Choir (the choral music festival that Larson hosts every year) that this was going to be his swan song,” said Detroit grad Mark Potvin. in 1996. Lakes High School which participated in the fall musical and choral programs under the direction of Larson.
Potvin was one of the guest conductors at this year’s All City Choir Festival, along with three other DLHS alumni who had pursued careers in choral music.
So, as soon as Larson made it official, about a month later, Potvin and another DLHS alumnus, Eric Hoplin (Class of 1997), began rounding up as many current and former Larson students and colleagues as possible, to plan for retirement. party like no other.
A musical theater cabaret, titled “A Career in Revue: Celebrating Kathy Larson’s Retirement,” will take place Saturday, August 13 at the Historic Holmes Theater, beginning at 7 p.m.
More than 50 former Larson musical theater students — including some from his first musical, “Damn Yankees,” to his latest, “Newsies” — will return to Detroit Lakes to sing some of the iconic songs they performed under the direction. by Larson.
“I think it’s pretty amazing that you have 50 people, for almost 30 years (of DLHS musicals), living all over the country – corporate CEOs, world-class bandleaders and busy moms — all of whom agreed to come, because we all love Kathy and she’s had such a big impact on our lives,” Hoplin said.
“If she (Larson) had her druthers, every student on every show would be involved,” Potvin said, but added that it was impractical because “the show would have been five hours long.”
Nonetheless, “every one of those 28 shows (that Larson directed) is represented,” Hoplin added.
The performance will be followed by a reception, so people from all aspects of Larson’s life, including colleagues, friends, parents and alumni, can come and wish him well in retirement, Potvin added.
Tickets to the cabaret show, which cost $25 each,
the proceeds of which will be used to establish an endowed scholarship, in Larson’s name, as part of the Detroit Lakes Dollars for Scholars program.
While the cabaret show and reception might have been a fitting enough retirement celebration for Larson, Potvin said, they also wanted to honor the other side of his career — choral music.
A choral music concert, “If Music is the Food of Love, Sing,” is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, August 14 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Admission to this event is a free will offer, Potvin noted, with proceeds once again benefiting the scholarship fund.
As part of this concert, there will be a mass choir including “anyone who wants to come along,” Hoplin said.
This concert will also include some thoughts from people who have been directly touched and influenced by Larson during his career.
“Five people will provide short reflections on Kathy’s impact in five different areas: lifelong singing; mentorship; her role as a colleague in the district; her role in high school; and her role in life. community,” Potvin said, noting that she’s also been involved in her church choir, community choir, and numerous community theater productions over the years.
“Saturday’s Career in Revue and Sunday’s Choir Concert are unique events you won’t want to miss,” Hoplin said. jaw-dropping numbers from every musical this community has loved, over the past three decades.
“We all come home to honor and celebrate Kathy Larson, who has had such a profound impact on our lives. why funds raised at these events will help endow the Kathy Larson Music Scholarship, which will support one DLHS graduate each year through Dollars for Scholars.
Potvin noted that those unable to participate in or attend this weekend’s musical performances can also contribute directly to Larson’s scholarship fund through the Detroit Lakes Dollars for Scholars website,
(use the “Click to Donate” link and follow the instructions to donate in Larson’s name).