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Ten November Playing at Stage North in Brainerd, MN

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Quote of the Day: Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early

Widows of the Edmond Fitzgerald, Singers and musicians in the background. Stage North production of Ten November

Widows of the Edmond Fitzgerald, Singers and musicians in the background. Stage North production of Ten November. Promotion photo from Stage North.

Tuesday, November 9, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the legendary ship, The Edmund Fitzgerald, memorialized in Gordon Lightfoot’s famous song. Stage North theatre company here in the Brainerd lakes area is presenting Ten November, a moving musical telling of the fateful voyage, written by Steven Dietz, music and lyrics by Eric Bain Peltoniemi. The story is told through song as three female singers perform on stage, accompanied by guitar and bass instruments. Their songs are both haunting and beautiful, perhaps representing the fates or the Sirens who lure the ships to dangerous waters. They also remind me of the widows, mothers, sisters, and daughters who were left to mourn the crew. Throughout the 90 minute performance, various men tell their stories, and present information on the ship and the possible reasons it sunk. They project images on a screen behind the actors. Some are maps of the route, the ship, members of the crew, etc. Of course, the performance has a somber feel, much like a funeral, and yet, not depressing nor without light moments. The singers set the mood, reflective, haunting, and even light at times. The songs have the same 1970’s American folk feel that Lightfoot uses in his famous song.

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Stage North Production of Ten November. Photo by Mary Aalgaard

For those of us living in Minnesota, it is part of our history. For many, who were alive at the time, it is one of those events that you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. And, for the families who lost a loved one, it is a day of memories and memorials. Every year on this day the light in Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior is lit to commemorate the terrible event. Twenty-nine men lost their lives. The people who knew and loved them know it as that moment that changed everything. Before they set sail, they had one way of life. After it sunk, their lives were changed forever.

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An actor explaining what happened to the vessel The Edmond Fitzgerald. Stage North Production of Ten November. Photo by Mary Aalgaard

The Stage North cast, crew, singers and musicians do a beautiful job of telling this fateful tale. They create a mood of respect and reflection. If you’re in the area, you can attend performances on November 9 and 10, 7:30 p.m. at the Franklin Arts Center. Call 218-232-6810 for tickets, or visit the website for Stage North. For more pictures, check out their Facebook page. Directed by Gary Hirsch, Vocal Music Director Sarah Gorham, Instrumental Music Director Don Gorham. For a complete list of cast and crew, please visit their website or Facebook page.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: Do you have any connection to this tragic event, or one like it? 

  1. I bet it’s really moving.

  2. Some moments in time rippled outward so we never forget them.

    Anna from Elements of Writing

  3. Ooo, I love what they did with the lighting in that first picture. The blues definitely set the mood.

  4. This is a song that always stirs me when I hear it. Interesting that they’d do a show based on the song. Hope they put out a movie about the story–or have they already?

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  5. It sounds like a beautiful show, and very timely for sure. You make me miss the theater.

  6. Really appreciate your insight into this beautiful production. Lovely words and pictures!

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