Arboretum photo show winners announced

Winners of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's "Explore, Experience, Remember" photography contest have been announced, and they will be shown in an exhibit at the arboretum beginning Jan. 6.

The works by members of the Arboretum Photographers Society include 32 nature photos shot at the arboretum and selected from more than 100 entries by society members.

The photographs will be on display through May 27 and will be available for sale.

Winners include:

• Best of Show: Michael Borg of Eden Prairie, "Bright Beams"; Patricia Malcolm of Brooklyn Park, "Roses"; Christopher Hall of Maple Plain, "Crabapples in February Fog."

• Gold: Don Olson of Watertown, "Steelroots Within Steelroots"; Ken Evans of Maple Grove, "Backs to the Wind"; Michael Borg of Eden Prairie, "The Path."

• Silver: Mark Weber of Mankato, "Cozy Corner"

• Bronze: Patricia Malcolm of Brooklyn Park, "Peach Bud"; Don Olson of Watertown, "In Flight"; Karen Blenker of Chanhassen, "Bluebird in Spring"; Tracy Ann Walsh of Maple Grove, "Tulips"; Christopher Hall of Maple Plain, "Tulips in the Pink"; Pat Witherow of Eden Prairie, "Compass Prairie."

Another 19 photographers received honorable mention.

McLaughlin, Simple Gifts to perform concerts in Bloomington

Billy McLaughlin and the ensemble Simple Gifts will present Christmas concerts at Bloomington's St. Stephen Lutheran Church at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

The six-member ensemble has gained a loyal following for its acoustic, instrumental and vocal renditions of yuletide carols, hymns and seasonal favorites such as "Carol of the Bells," "Silent Night" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."

"We don't sing about Santa or Frosty [the Snowman]," McLaughlin said. "We love the timeless quality of the carols."

The ensemble goes to great lengths to come up with a fresh arrangements of seasonal classics that have been sung and recorded tens of thousands of times. The musicians use Celtic whistle, piano, acoustic guitar and voices to combine traditional folk music with a variety of modern elements.

General admission is $25 for adults and $12.50 for students. St. Stephen's Church is located at 8400 France Av. S. For more information go to www.simplegiftsmusic.net.

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