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Duluth's Sacred Heart Music Center damaged by runaway truck

A photo by Duluth musician Mary Bue of Thursday's crash at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth.

A photo by Duluth musician Mary Bue of Thursday's crash at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth.

Hallowed ground to musicians around Minnesota, Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth was struck by an out-of-control pick-up truck on Thursday, which caused an entire brick corner of the former church to crumble.

The recording studio, music education facility and wedding and concert space -- which has hosted album sessions by Low, Trampled by Turtles, Charlie Parr and Dark Dark Dark, to name a few – was struck in a two-story northeast wing where music lessons are given. Damage was not done to the recording space or the main church/concert area. However, repairs costs were estimated at $50,000, a large sum for a nonprofit arts center even with insurance. Some musical instruments were also irreparably damaged.

According to the Duluth Tribune, the driver’s brakes went out, and he swerved into the building to avoid oncoming traffic. Sacred Heart sits up the hill from downtown Duluth at 201 W. 4th St. Side note: Duluth is one city where you really want to make sure your brakes are in good working order.

Fortunately, the driver only suffered minor injuries and no one was hurt. The brunt of the crash mostly went to the historic building, which dates to 1896.

“Our hope is to have it put back together in about six to eight weeks,” said Arno Kahn, vice-president of Sacred Heart Music Center Board, who also happens to be a construction contractor. Some of the stained-glass windows smashed in the accident will take longer to replace, though, and could prove difficult to replicate, Kahn added.

“It’s a lot for a nonprofit like ours to deal with, but we’re going to proceed with the repairs assuming we’ll get the money for it one way or another.”

Thursday’s crash wasn’t the only bad news to befall Sacred Heart this year: The studio’s longtime director and all-around guru, producer/engineer Eric Swanson, suffered a stroke in May. Through an uncanny coincidence, Thursday was Swanson’s first day back work at the facility.

Click here for info on supporting Sacred Heart’s programs and preservation.

Former Guthrie standout Rainn Wilson doesn't completely forget Minnesota



Rainn Wilson/photo by AP

After a quick scan of Rainn Wilson's upcoming autobiography, "The Bassoon King," we're sad to report that the book fails to mention any juicy details about his work on the Guthrie stage, plays that strengthened his chops and helped prepare him for semi-stardom on the small screen as Dwight Schrute in "The Office."

Wilson does mention former Guthrie director Joe Dowling,  but that's in a self-deprecating anecdote about a Broadway production of "London Assurance" that they worked on together.

Wilson doesn't completely ignore Minnesota. Early in the book, he mentions how his grandfather's brother high-tailed it to Thief River Falls to open an auto parts store.

Most notably, he honors the state sound in a chapter entitled, "The Greatest Albums of the Early Eighties." His top ten includes Husker Du's "Zen Arcade" ("Hardcore punk opera") and The Replacement's "Let It Be" ("Drunk-punk poets of the northern plains").

The bio, which comes out Nov. 10, doesn't serve up much negative dish, although it does include a tangent on the worthlessness of film and TV critics.

"They righteously pass judgment from their laptops on other people's work and have simply never laid out their hearts and minds and souls to an audience attempting to entertain, uplift and challenge. So suck it, critics."

Fortunately, in this case, Wilson doesn't make any local references.

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