GoJohnnyGo Records is a real, live record store in White Bear Lake.
In White Bear Lake and other Minn. locations, the nonprofit MacPhail Center for Music offers music therapy to help people with autism and other diagnoses reach goals centered on bettering non-musical abilities.
Since 1988, audiences of all ages have attended a local concert in support of the community’s educational leaders. The annual Mahtomedi Music Faculty Concert is not only a fantastic way for educators to exhibit their musical endowments, but all proceeds go to a great cause as well.
Over the years, the long, rich history of White Bear Lake has been told in books, articles and anecdotes passed on—with varying degrees of veracity and accuracy—from generation to generation. Century College music instructor Shirley Mier has told the story in a new way, in the form of a four-movement composition she debuted last spring, called Of Lakes and Legends.
Piano teacher Elizabeth Evans Richter would not be the person nor musician she is today without her late grandmother Evelyn, who set up Richter’s first piano lesson with a kind-hearted neighborhood teacher when Richter was 9 years old. Many years later, it was Evelyn who bought her granddaughter her first piano. Richter has played the piano for 34 years, and for the last 24 of them, has taught piano from the heart.
Brian McGoldrick, owner of Admiral D’s Waterfront Tavern, likens the effect music has on people walking, biking and boating past his restaurant to something like that of a pied piper. Several nights a week, when small electric and acoustic bands play on his 5,000-square-foot lakeside patio, the melodies wafting on the breeze “draw people in, and create a really nice environment,” says McGoldrick, now in his eighth summer of operating the seasonal bar and restaurant on the lake’s western shore.
With the release of his third studio album, Crooked Lines, White Bear Lake musician Tim Cheesebrow is taking his sound in a bit of a new direction. While he describes most of his previous work as more solidly within the folk genre, this newest collection is more of an “Americana alt-country folk-rock kind of thing.” Inspired by a “weird mish-mash of influences,” Cheesebrow says that creating the album was driven by his work with Discover Music, the nonprofit he runs that teaches songwriting to middle and high school students in local public schools.
Katy Vernon, a London-born singer/songwriter who has been a White Bear Lake resident for eight years, always dreamed of being a musician. “Even as a little kid I would make up songs,” she says. As she grew, she wrote about life, love and loss.
Years later, after taking a break to raise a family, Vernon reignited her musical ambition in 2012 with a successful Kickstarter campaign, which helped finance her first CD. “Kickstarter did more than raise the money,” Vernon says. “It did its job—it kick-started my career.”
For musical duo John Evans and Dan Perry, regardless of the venue, the mission is always the same: “To make sure people feel better when they leave than when they came in,” says longtime White Bear Lake resident Evans, who moved to WBL in 1971, with his wife, Cathy.
Peter O’Gorman first discovered his love for percussion while playing at the lunchroom table in elementary school at St. Mary’s of the Lake. Since then, he’s performed at high-profile events across the nation, composed two dozen concert pieces, written two books, received grants from the American Composers Forum and the McKnight Foundation. He’s also a 2015 McKnight Composer Fellow. We caught up with O’Gorman to learn more about his career in music and his love for the unusual sounds his instruments create.