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Alzen Family Band wraps up Hillside series

The Heritage Hillside Series finishes its fourth year next Wednesday, with a performance by The Alzen Family Band.

This family of six from Roberts enjoys making old-time, toe-tapping music together and sharing it with friends. Winners of the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association 2006 Family Area Talent Contest, the Alzen Family plays bluegrass, Celtic and gospel music the whole family can enjoy.

It has been a wonderful summer, with some terrific entertainment and this final evening will not disappoint, according to organizers.

The Alzen Family consists of Brad (dad) on guitar and banjo, Denise (mom) on harmonica, and four children: Isaac on upright bass fiddle, Lucas on whiz-bang (washboard with horns and whistles), AnaLise on mandolin, fiddle and guitar and Tessa Lyn on fiddle, mandolin and banjo.

The music highlights the singing and high-energy playing of the Alzen children, and consists of a wide variety of family-oriented bluegrass and old-time music with four-part vocal harmonies. To add a visual dimension, Denise also uses sign language to give added expression to some songs.

The family attributes its band beginnings to the Heritage Square at the Minnesota State Fair, where several years ago they saw two groups - the Bullah Family and Monroe Crossing - play bluegrass and gospel music on stage.

At the time, the family's oldest daughter, AnaLise, was beginning her Suzuki violin lessons, and had never heard bluegrass music. She loved the concerts and immediately wanted to learn to play fiddle music.

This led to a chain reaction where, one by one, each Alzen Family member began to learn a bluegrass instrument. Now the family takes lessons from Monroe Crossing band members, and enjoys an increasingly busy performance schedule.

The Alzen Family plays at bluegrass and gospel festivals, county fairs, churches, community events and private gatherings. Their shows consist of bluegrass songs, fiddle tunes, a capella songs, Celtic music and silly songs for children.

To learn more, please visit the Alzen Family Web site at Contact Brad or Denise Alzen via phone or e-mail to book the Alzen Family for your event.

So pack up your picnic supper, bring a blanket or lawn chairs and head to the Bandstand at The Heritage Center. Next week's performance is sponsored by WESTconsin Credit Union, and they have a great night planned for the crowd.

For further information, call 715.246.3276.