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Feature

An outdoor concert on Northrop plaza.

Northrop's free summer concerts have drawn a crowd to its plaza since the 1950s.

Live music on the plaza

"Summer at Northrop" returns with 26 free, outdoor concerts

May 30, 2007

For about 25 consecutive days each summer, Northrop plaza on the Twin Cities campus transforms itself into an outdoor concert hall. A large wooden stage is erected just a stone's throw away from the University's ever-popular brat stand. Picnic tables are set ... Invited performers take their turn on the stage ...

Since 1954 the U has offered these free noon concerts on Northrop plaza. "Summer at Northrop" is presented by the U's Summer Session program and Department of Concerts and Lectures, and it's funded by student services fees collected during the May and summer academic sessions. The series is one of hundreds of free public events held at the University of Minnesota that entertain, intellectually engage, or inform. Others include book readings, art gallery talks, and health screenings, such as Melanoma Monday each May. (See the U's online calendar for current events.)

Michael Hauser and Friends will officially kick off "Summer at Northrop" on Monday, June 11. Hauser, a.k.a "The Father of Flamenco in the Midwest," is one of a handful of flamenco guitar masters residing in the United States today. He has studied with a number of Spain's great flamenco guitarists and is a founder of the local dance company Zorongo Flamenco. In addition to flamenco music, June 11 concertgoers can catch flamenco dancers in action, enjoy free refreshments, and try their luck winning a door prize--like a Sun Country Airlines roundtrip ticket.

Longstanding tradition

In 1954 the Minnesota Orchestra first performed a free concert for University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff on Northrop plaza. The event, which was offered in appreciation for its temporary digs at Northrop Auditorium, launched the tradition of free outdoor performances by local and international artists on the Twin Cities campus. Every year more than 20 concerts are held in June and July.

Other acts this season--from Monday, June 4, to Thursday, July 26--include Mick LaBriola with Gypsy cowboy (Urban folk with Bulgarian and Arabic), Charanga Tropical (Cuban salsa), Karibuni (Reggae-flavored African music), Jumbo Ya Ya (Zydeco and Tex-Mex), Minneapolis Pops Orchestra (Broadway hits), Flip the Cat (Traditional Irish), and Rio Nido (swing).

All concerts are noon to 1 p.m.. In case of rain, they'll be moved inside to Northrop Auditorium. For a complete list of bands and their types of music, see 2007 Summer at Northrop.