By Ivan Raconteur
HOWARD LAKE, WINSTED, DASSEL, COKATO, MN Howard Lake native Caroline Wigmore is ecstatic about receiving funding for an international cast recording of her musical, “Van Winkle: a Folk Musical,” and she attributes much of the success of this to local contributors.
The project was funded through Kickstarter, an online site that allows patrons to help fund artistic projects by pledging donations.
This was the first time Wigmore used Kickstarter, and she notes there were some moments of uncertainty.
“I was pretty nervous to embark on this campaign,” Wigmore said. “I kept seeing visions of the campaign failing. In theatre writing, you have to learn to live with a certain level of disappointment and rejection, and by about day three of this month-long campaign, I really thought there was no way we would be able to raise the 4,000 pounds ($6,265 dollars) we were asking for, and that we had made a mistake in trying. Kickstarter insists that you raise the entire amount or you don’t receive any funding so there was a lot hanging in the balance. But amazingly, the full 4,000 pounds came in Friday, and we’re so pleased to be booking our studio time and making preparations for going into the studio.”
Wigmore said she appreciates her supporters in Minnesota.
She lived in Howard Lake until she was about 14, then moved to Cokato, graduating from Dassel-Cokato High School in 2001. She then lived in Howard Lake again for about a year before buying a house in Winsted. She now lives in London with her husband, Chris.
“I think I have the best home town(s) in the world,” Wigmore said. “I’ve been living in London for about four years now, and it’s really touching that people even remember me, let alone want to take an active role in helping me produce my work. I suppose I think of Dassel, Cokato, Howard Lake, and Winsted as my roots, as I have lived in every city, either as a child or an adult. It was so amazing to see that 40.6 percent of our support came from natives or members of the Winsted, Howard Lake, Dassel, or Cokato communities. There were a number of teary moments as I watched the numbers go up.”
Now that the funding has been secured, Wigmore said the entire recording process will take about a month and a half, beginning in July and ending in late August.
“We are hoping to have the CDs finished and in our hands by September at the latest, but projects that have so many people involved can vary to some extent, particularly with the added complexity of having two singers recording from the US,” Wigmore explained.
She will travel to Minnesota this fall, and because she didn’t want to charge pledgers (incentives were offered for pledging at certain levels) for overseas shipping, she will bring copies of the CDs with her and mail them from Minnesota or distribute them in person.
“I want to express my deep appreciation to those who pledged for quite literally making it possible for this project to happen. The album will be on iTunes by autumn, along with a number of other online stores. If you are curious about the progress of the show, the “Van Winkle” website is vanwinkle.net23.net,” Wigmore noted.
She added that a few people have been asking her if it’s too late to donate, even though the kickstarter campaign is over. “Any donations that come in will go directly towards funding the part of the project which wasn’t covered by kickstarter, which comes to about 2,000 pounds, and those contributors will still be entitled to the same rewards as those who donated on the kickstarter website. You can see those rewards on http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1036646415/van-winkle-a-folk-musical-studio-cast-recording. Checks can be addressed to Caroline Wigmore, PO Box 952, Cokato, MN 55321.