Rachel Nelson    BardLive Music and Productions   bardlive@gmail.com   651.353.3370









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Rachel Nelson Professional Vita, 2012

Rachel Nelson

501 12th Avenue                                  www.bardlive.com

Two Harbors, MN   55616                  bardlive@gmail.com             651-353-3370 cell


Artist Statement

I believe that stories are best delivered directly to the ear and eye.  So I combine stories with music and movement to pull the audience into the story with language older than words.  This becomes a form of musical theater.  I find juxtaposition the most powerful of poetic techniques, whether on the page or the stage.  Juxtaposition creates a reverberating space between two images or forms.  When the viewer enters that space, their story becomes a part of the work.  Teaching, I invite students in to do “research.”  As community organizer, arts and learning are ways I can help build community.    



B.A. in English - University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1988

M.A. in English - University of Washington, Seattle, WA  1990

Joanna Macy deep ecology group leadership training, San Jose, CA, 1999

Frame Drum Summer Intensives with Layne Redmond and Tommy Brunjes, 2002-3

Physical acting classes with Kari Margolis, Margolis-Brown Co., 1999-2004

Storytelling workshops with Nancy Donoval and Loren Niemi, 2006

Storytelling, Critical Literacy, and Creative Drama – University of MN class, summer 2009

Red Eye Tableaux Training – Perpich Center for Arts Education, summer 2010

MN Creative Artists and Aging Training, Springboard for the Arts, fall 2011


Artistic Grants

ARAC Community Arts Learning Grant for Story Literacy residency, Minnehaha El, Two Harbors

ARAC Career Development Grant, FY2012:  to refine & produce Fringe musical The Urban Hermit

MSAB Arts Touring Grant, FY 2011:  trio taking workshops & concerts to outstate communities

ARAC Artist Initiative Grant, FY2011:  to create a new CD of songs, story, and spoken word

ARAC Individual Career Opportunity Grant, 2007:  for 2007 MN Fringe Living the Questions

MSAB Video Documentation Grant, 2000:  to record a BardLive show of songs & stories


Theater/Storytelling Credits

Script, Performer, Musician – The Urban Hermit, Northlands Storytelling Fringe, 2010

Script, Songwriter, Performer – Living the Questions/After Leaving Eden, MN Fringe 2007

            Remounted for U of WI-Superior; The Play Ground, Duluth; Kansas City Fringe; and National Storytelling Network conference Fringe, 2008.

            Remounted as After Leaving Eden, Spirit in the House, Minneapolis, 2009.

Featured teller, Northlands (Midwest) Storytelling Network Conferences 2006, 2007, 2008

Telling at TELLABRATION in Minneapolis, MN (Northstar Storytelling League) 2007-9

Actor/Musician - Encountering Etty Hillesum, Carondolet Ctr., St. Paul, MN, 2003

Musician/actor - Sleepwalkers, Margolis-Brown Theater Co., 2002

Musical improvisation with poetry and dance- Roy McBride’s Dream Band, 2002

Rachel’s Rent Party (self-produced musical show on global economics), 2001

“Julia Butterfly,” Experiments in Story - Minneapolis, MN, 2001  (Mixing song with story)

Finding Our Place - (touring solo environmental show) EarthConnection, Cincinnati, OH and Simply Living, Columbus, OH, 2001; Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church, 2002

No Time Like the Present (self-produced music-story show with environmental focus), 2000

Actor/Musician - Appalachian Adventure, Wood & Strings Puppet Theater, TN, ‘97-00

Orchestral Arranger, Illuminations, In the Heart of the Beast Theater, 1998

Composer/Songwriter - An Ire-ish Tale, Wood and Strings Puppet Theatre, TN, 1997

Musical Director/Musician/Composer - The Hunt.  In the Heart of the Beast Th., 1983, 85, 97

Musician - Big River, Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, NC, 1991

Musician/Collector/Composer, JUNKIE!  (play & film). At the Foot of the Mountain Th., 1980-1

Musician/Actor - The Cottonpatch Gospel, Radisson Playhouse, Minneapolis, 1985-6       

Musician/Researcher/Actor - An American Clock, Park Square Theater, St. Paul, 1982


Presentations and Workshops

MAKING TRACKS: 1.5 hour workshop in movement, Northlands Storytelling Conference, 2011.

SOUND/TRACKS:  3-hour workshop in spoken word musicality and movement in storytelling,

            Northlands Storytelling Network Conference, 2009.

Teaching Artist, COMPAS Global Arts and WAITS programs, 1998-present

NE Regional Young Authors (YAYA) Conference - Keynote, 2008; breakouts, 2008, 2009

NW Minnesota Young Authors Conference workshops, Thief River Falls, MN, 2004-5, 2009

North Dakota Reading Association Keynote BardLive presentation, March 2007

NDRA breakout workshops:  “Reading Out Loud:  the Joys of Spoken Word, 3/2007

Community Songwriting Workshop, Univ. of ND at Fargo, 2006

Frame Drum, Songwriting and Storytelling workshops for teachers, MN Association of Alternative Programs (MAAP) Conference, 2006 and 2009 

Frame Drum & Storytelling workshops for Girl Scout leaders, Camp Lakamaga, MN 2004-6


Concert & Festival Performances (partial listing)

Innovative Roots Trio with Karen Mueller and Stix Kiley – Two Harbors, Zumbrota, NY Mills, 2011-2

3 of Cups Band – Silver Bay Fine Arts Series, 2010; Weber Music Hall, Duluth & Wellstone Center, St. Paul, 2007

Beauty and Tenacity Concert with Sara Thomsen’s Echoes of Peace Chorus, Duluth, 2009

Moose is Loose Storytelling Festival - Ely, MN, 2006

Acoustic Sounds Café - Little Rock, AR, 2005

WomanSong Festival - Grand Rapids, North Dakota, 2005, 2008

Flint Hills International Children’s Festival - St. Paul, MN 2002 –2005

Oak Center - Lake City, MN, 2004

Cedar Cultural Center - Minneapolis, MN, 2002, 2004

Duluth Folk Festival - Duluth, MN, 2002

Fairfield Public Library children’s show, “Harry, Frodo, & Magic” - Fairfield, IA, ‘02      

Series of Smiles Children’s Concerts - Craven Arts Council, New Bern, NC



Co-Spearheaded CAPP grant for Lake County, 2007; in 2010, we incorporated as Arts on Superior.



“Your One Voice,” lyrics for Ronald Nelson’s choral composition Building Bridges.    

Orchestrator, Laurie Witzkowski’s “Illuminations,” In the Heart of the Beast Puppet- Mask Theater


Recordings (partial listing)

“I’m Awesome,” said the Possum, children’s CD of stories and songs, 2004

Change is a Thousand Hearts, solo CD of original songs, 2002

Producer, Musician, Composer, An Ire-ish Tale and Appalachian Adventure soundtracks,

            Wood and Strings Puppet Theater, Centerville, TN, 1997

Musician/Composer, soundtrack for the movie/video version of JUNKIE!, 1981   

Fiddle/banjo, Wild Roses, Granary Girls, 200

Fiddle, Everything Changes, Sara Thomsen 2008

08/28/2012                         Copyright  BardLive Music     2012