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Cotton Wood kicks off Music in the Park

By Staff | Jun 10, 2016

The Mark Carlson Gazebo within Ellery Park is the home of the Rugby Lions Music in the Park event, where free live music and ice cream can be enjoyed by the community. Pictured is the 2016 opener, Cotton Wood.

Music in the Park kicked off its 21st year Wednesday evening in the gazebo at Ellery Park with Cotton Wood, a popular North Dakota Bluegrass band.

Jill Wiese, lead vocalist for Cotton Wood, said the band has played in Rugby at least five times now. “It’s a privilege to be able to go and play in communities like this one. The turn out is just amazing. Look at the ages, from [young] to 94,” she said.

Cotton Wood started 15 years ago in September, around the time of 9/11. “Lee [one of the band members] came up to me and said, ‘Let’s just start a Bluegrass band,'” Wiese explained. “We’re just old people who thought the world was going to end and decided to play music. We really enjoy each other’s company, and we love music.”

One local musician, Micah Scott, joined Cotton Wood on stage to belt out a few tunes. “We love traveling and meeting with the locals,” Wiese said agreeing with one of the band members who says each place they visit is another ‘slice of culture’.

A crowd of over 250 people enjoyed Cotton Wood’s smooth vocals and tasteful banjo playing Wednesday evening. “I think we must have a big area of people who like music,” Kathy Kirchofner, head of Music in the Park, said about the community always supporting the event. “I try to bring all different kinds of music, and people always come out to listen.”

Cotton Wood will be playing in the 26th Annual Missouri River Bluegrass Festival next weekend at Cross Ranch State Park.

Music in the Park will continue in Ellery Park Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m., where music and ice cream are always free. Tune in to AM 1450 KZZJ for information in the event of inclement weather.

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