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Community sings were popular in the 1930s and ’40s at Minneapolis parks.

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Flanagan: Softball field's name is historically out of the park

  • Article by: Barbara Flanagan
  • June 3, 2012 - 6:22 PM

The Flanagan Memo -- Re: Did we win or lose? A Minnesota Vikings stadium; or Peavey Plaza. We'll see. So, how about some softball?

• • •

Yes, I said "softball'' and it happens every Tuesday evening near Lake Calhoun. The site is the field on the northwest corner of the lake adjacent to the Lake Calhoun Executive Center building. Its name is Kitty Ging Field.

Kitty Ging? A not too familiar name, but historians will tell you that Kitty lived and died, yes, expired, on the west shore of Calhoun. It happened one cold winter night at the end of the 19th century. Kitty was murdered at the request of a part-time beau -- Harry Hayward. Her killer, a man named Claus Blixt, was a custodian at her apartment building in downtown Minneapolis.

Now I don't know when the field was named for her or who did it, but Kitty's name deserves to be known. So when you check in for some volunteer softball, think of Kitty Ging. Play begins at 6 p.m. and it is coed, all ages, all kinds of talent. Bats and balls are provided and, to date, it is all free.

• • •

Eating out seems to have caught on in the Twin Cities and I don't mean just eating outdoors.

However, I can report that there is now an al fresco-style restaurant at the Minneapolis Club, our staunch, 100-year-old-plus organization that has stood at the corner of 8th Street and 2nd Avenue S. since 1908. (This is the club's third location, by the way.)

By July, there will be a garden café along the club's 8th Street side. Yes, it is for members, but they often invite guests.

As for eating elsewhere, I usually await the choices of our San Francisco relatives. Last month, urged by the San Franciscans, we lunched at Tilia, 2726 W. 43rd St., and dined at the Bachelor Farmer at 1st Street and 2nd Avenue N. Both were a joy.

The soup at Tilia was superb -- spring pea, fresh and somewhat crunchy, and the American onion with one oyster in it won our visitors.

At the Bachelor Farmer -- owned by Gov. Mark Dayton's sons Andrew and Eric -- I ate the Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce and the dish was truly a winner.

There is much on the menus to choose from at both spots, so drop in if you can. It may help to make reservations.

• • •

When I recalled the grand old Minneapolis Community Sings of the past, I had no idea that a group of Minneapolis singers is trying to revive them.

The "sings'' originally were staged over some 20 years during the late 1930s and into the 1940s.

Betty Tissel, a singer, called to tell me that a group of singers led sings in parks last summer and will do so again this year. They have no money and they are not in every park regularly, but they trying. Try contacting them at MNSings.com.

• • •

Meanwhile, Philip Brunelle, artistic director of Vocalessence, tells me the singing pros are tuning up for the national conference of Chorus America, to be held right here June 13-16. It will be the last full choral event in Orchestra Hall before the hall's restoration begins.

You will hear 500 voices -- that is eight choirs -- singing lots of goodies, climaxed by the premiere of composer Stephen Paulus' new piece, "When Music Sounds.'' And that is only opening night.

Composer Dominick Argento's beautiful "Walden Pond" is on the program, and Garrison Keillor is set to lead a community sing.

This is the second time that Vocalessence has been host to the Chorus America group so they know what they are doing.

• • •

On June 21, my good friend Prof. Alfred Moir, will be saluted with a show of the artworks he collected during his lifetime. He died in 2010 after a long career as a teacher and an art expert who first wrote about the great Italian painter Caravaggio in 1967.

"Alfie," as some of his Minneapolis friends called him, was a delight to know and we miss him. He will be remembered, in part, by his collection, which he bequeathed to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The exhibit will be at the institute.

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