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Suchy to play Bloch Party

By Staff | Jul 25, 2014

Submitted Folksinger and songwriter Chuck Suchy performs.

Chuck Suchy, one of North Dakota’s most sought-after musicians, will make his first public appearance in Rugby as the headlining musician at the Bloch Party at Prairie Village Museum on Monday.

The Bloch Party, which runs from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., is a cultural exchange event by Swiss artists traveling the world with a tree trunk (bloch).

The bloch is part of a carnival tradition in Switzerland, where the wood is marched from one city to another.

Suchy will be making his third of three appearances with the artists, who are spending their North America part of the tour in North Dakota. Suchy sang at Bloch events in Fargo last week and performs in Taylor today.

“It’s an extrapolation of a celebration that goes on in Switzerland with the idea of building community and sharing the idea of the last tree of the harvest,” Suchy said. “This group of artists have taken it to a global level and have chosen North Dakota.”

Suchy was invited by the North Dakota Council on the Arts to perform at the three Bloch stops and other events this year to commemorate the state’s 125th anniversary.

Suchy’s first experience with the Bloch was at the Fargo Street Fair on July 19.

“That was great,” Suchy said. “I was just really amazed at the interest the tree generated. It was on a trailer, so I would do my concerts on the edge sitting in front of the tree.

“I was amazed to see people walking down the street and you could read their lips saying, ‘Wow.’ And they’d let anybody climb up and take their picture on it.

“The tree and I have established a relationship.”

Suchy will perform original music in Rugby. He describes his music as story-based folk or country folk. Much of the music is based on prairie life and he said many of his most popular tunes were written for Prairie Public’s 2007 documentary The Old Red Trail, a film about the transformation of what is now Interstate 94.

Suchy said he’s done shows for corporate functions in Rugby, but is eager to make a public appearance and continue touring with the Bloch.

“There’s poetry, storytelling, I’ll play some accordion,” he said. “I’m really having fun with this.”

Suchy’s concert begins at 7:15 p.m.


Local musician and president of the Council on the Arts David White Thunder Trottier will open for Suchy with a set beginning at 6:30 p.m.

From 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Minot accordionists Jerry Schlag, Maria Rose and Karen Stevens will perform. Schlag will also play during the Bloch’s procession to the Geographical Center Monument.

“To me, it’s a very important cultural event that we are lucky enough to have not only come to our country, but to North Dakota and Rugby,” Trottier said.

“I’m lucky enough to be living in Rugby, where it’s going to be, and lucky enough to be a part of it.”

Being included in good musical company also made the appearance an easy decision for Trottier.

“Jerry is a master accordion player, who was in our (Council on the Arts) master apprentice program and teaches people his style. Chuck Suchy is very widely renowned. He’s gone to exchange programs all over, including in Iceland. If you’ve never seen them you’re going to love them.”

Trottier has written more than 200 songs since first taking up music in the 1980s.

“When I first started learning how to play the guitar, I wasn’t happy with how fast I was progressing and I didn’t like how I sounded,” Trottier said.

So he took some of the pressure off by trying to emulate others less and heavily focused on songwriting. His own original tunes on relationships and special situations will be performed.

For more on the artists, musicians and a full schedule of Monday’s festival, visit prairievillagemuseum.com.

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