WINSTED, MN Once again this year, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winsted will kick off the 21st Winsted Winter Festival with its sixth annual dinner and concert Friday, Dec. 4.
The concert will feature the Golden Strings, a group that made their debut Valentine’s Day 1963 at the Flame Room in the Radisson Hotel Downtown Minneapolis, and continues to entertain audiences in the Upper Midwest with its performances played entirely from memory.
Frequently, they will stroll among the audience, playing to individuals and entertaining everyone.
The evening begins with a social hour at 5 p.m. and sit down dinner at 5:30 p.m. The concert is to follow at 7 p.m.
Because of limited seating, dinner and concert tickets are only available until Sunday, Nov. 29.
Additional seating is available for the concert only, and tickets may be purchased now or at the door the evening of the performance.
The Golden Strings were founded by Cliff Brunzell, who formed the group at the request of the late businessman, Curtis Carlson, owner of the downtown Radisson Hotel. Carlson, who had seen a violin show in Mexico City in 1962, wanted to bring similar entertainment to Minneapolis.
The original group, with eight violins, a bass violist, and two baby grand pianos, played in the Flame Room for more than 18 years to 2-million people during that time.
The Golden Strings, according to Variety Magazine, is the longest-running violin show in the world.
Brunzell began playing the violin as a young boy.
He had picked up his older brother’s instrument and his parents soon realized, “the kid’s got talent,” Brunzell said.
Brunzell has an impressive list of musical achievements including performing for the Minneapolis Symphony, and found and was the initial director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony.
Brunzell would not say how old he is during a recent phone interview, but said people could figure it out by his history, which includes being an Army Air Force B-25 pilot from 1943 to 1945.
Brunzell is looking forward to performing again for the St. John’s audience, which, he said, “responded well to the Golden Strings performance last year and laughed at my dumb jokes.”
There will be six violins, three keyboards, a bass, and drum that will accompany a female singer, Charmin Michelle, who has been singing with the group for the last eight years.
The menu for the sit-down dinner is garden salad, rustic rolls, smoked pork chop with braised apple sauce, chicken breast on wild rice stuffing, green beans almondine, baby red potatoes, dessert, and beverage. (In the original article, the menu said pork chop or chicken breast.)