Nashville recording artists Jason Gray and Aaron Shust to perform at Hope Church in Grand Forks

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Dec. 14—GRAND FORKS — Everyone is invited to hear Nashville recording artists Jason Gray and Aaron Shust at their Christmas Stories Tour concert, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, at Hope Church in Grand Forks. Doors open at 6 p.m.

"This will be a great night, celebrating the holiday season," said Brad Johnson, director of worship and operations at Hope Church.

Gray, originally from southern Minnesota, has family ties to the Upper Midwest, Johnson said. He moved to Nashville in 2015 to continue his career as a singer-songwriter and "he loves to come 'home' to share his music."

Gray will be joined by his son, Kipper Gray, an "amazing piano player," Johnson said.

Concert tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. A $35 VIP ticket allows early entry, at 5:15 p.m., the chance to meet the artists, and take part in a question-and-answer session "to hear about their stories on a personal level," Johnson said.

Tickets are available at the Hope Church office, 1601 17th Ave. S.; QFM Studios; and online at


Proceeds from the event will be used to sponsor other concerts of this type, such as a concert by the Newsboys, set for Feb. 23, at Hope Church, Johnson said.

For more information, call (701) 772-1884.

Members of the North Dakota Ballet Company and Academy will present "The Magic Toy Workshop — The Holiday Extravaganza" this weekend at the Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave.

Performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17.

"The Magic Toy Shop" is the place where magic happens when the beautiful dolls come to life at Christmastime, said Laura Arneson, the ballet company's executive director. The story is a rendition of the "Fairy Doll" ballet, which premiered Oct. 4, 1888 at the Vienna Court.

The production, directed by Lauren Paulson, the company's artistic director, features more than 80 local dancers ages 3 to adult.

Tickets are $15 for students and children and $18 for adults. They are available through the Empire Arts Center box office or online at

The North Dakota Ballet Company, the official ballet company of the state of North Dakota, is a nonprofit dance organization committed to promoting classical ballet and other dance styles in Grand Forks and surrounding areas.

For more information, visit

or the North Dakota Ballet Company's Facebook page, or call (701) 746-6044.

An exhibit of 16 oil paintings by Sr. Denise Schonardt, a member of the Sisters of St. Benedict of Crookston, is on display at the Sweetlight Gallery, at 119 N. Main St. in Crookston, through Jan. 6. All of the artworks are for sale.

Schonhardt is known for painting trees and her expressionistic landscapes, but her work is more about color than image, she said.

She was influenced by the works of German Expressionist painters, including Emil Nolde and Ludwig Kirchner. Her paintings "are not about the difficulties of city life (as were many of their paintings) nor about nature or trees," she said in her artist's statement. "They are about color. They reflect how colors interact with each other, how they push and pull, how they change each other, and how they convey emotion."

Growing up on a farm near Mahnomen, Minnesota, "rooted me in an appreciation for nature," she said. "(T)he land became part of my psyche." Surrounded by hills, lakes and trees, her childhood farm home was graced with a grove of blue spruce and an orchard of apple trees.

Gallery hours are: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, or anytime by appointment. For more information, call (612) 269-3601.

The River Forks Watercolor Society and the North Star Quilters have teamed up for an exhibit of works depicting places of local interest.

The reception for the exhibit, which will be shown in the City Hall as the Mayor's Choice Award, was planned for 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14. The reception has been canceled; it will be rescheduled but the date has not yet been determined.

A list of local landmarks was shared with each group. Each artist created his or her work at home, without seeing their partners' work until it was exhibited at the Quilts on the Red Quilt Show. Mayor Brandon Bochenski was invited to view this exciting pairing and, as a result, invited the groups to present the exhibit at City Hall as the Mayor's Choice exhibit, said Jolene Mikkelson, a member of the North Star Quilters.