Listening to Northfield

by Julie Buchwald Haley

I grew up listening to a wide range of music from classical to country, to folk and jazz, to bluegrass and contemporary. My parents are both pretty musical, and played an extensive music collection at home on Sundays. We had family sing-alongs of mostly Hootenanny, and I can carry a tune outside of a bucket – but just barely. So, for me, finding Northfield’s music scene during Covid-19 has been both a surprise and a comfort.

I’ve known about the music scene in Northfield since moving back to the area several years ago, but I didn’t experience it much. I’m not much of a bar-goer, and visit the patios only a few times a year, but I have found myself at my Bluetooth speakers frequently in the last few months watching online concerts. It started with a virtual concert by The Border Hookups where they included You Are My Sunshine, an all-time favorite song of mine and one my mom sang to me growing up, especially when I wasn’t feeling well. It raised my spirits that dreary day in March and has done so many times since. They play an eclectic range of country, rock and folk music, most of which I can sing along to.

Seeing The Border Hookups in Visit Northfield’s Quarantine Concert Series led me to Randall Ferguson, a local (retired) music teacher who skillfully plays historic string instruments from early guitars to ukulele, banjo and mandolin. He also lays down some pretty cool knowledge between songs about the instruments, compositions and composers. His instruments are fascinating and his music easily transports one to places and times far from ours. I also found live concerts by Ray Coudret and Curt Johnson, on guitar and keyboard, covering classic rock and great music by some artists you may not have heard of. Mark Ross with both his wife Vanessa and his band The Three-Nineteen, cover rock, alternative country and Americana.

Left: Curt Johnson, Right: Mark Ross & The Three-Nineteen

Some of my favorite virtual shows are by kids. Kyra singing Rise Up and encouraging us to hang in there and get through this. She has an amazing, strong voice and an impressive vocal range. And though it isn’t music, SGNN needs to be included in my great finds. Kosmo Esplan, a local actor, has a weekly show, Some Good News Northfield, a spinoff of SGN with actor John Krazinski, “exploring good deeds people in/around Northfield have been performing.” What a wonderful way to keep our spirits up, encourage kindness, and highlight positivity in these challenging times. His good news is entertaining and absolutely heartening.

I encourage you to spend some of your daily screen time checking out Northfield’s amazing online entertainment scene. Visit Northfield has a virtual concert series, YouTube has a lot of these artists and many of them are featured on entertainmentguidemn.com. It’s a fun way to #staysafe and learn about our talented locals.

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