SPA — 21,500 KIDS AND 190,000 AUDIENCE MEMBERS LATER: Brad Sherwood

Brad Sherwood
Red River HS
GF Herald image

Brad Sherwood joined us for an update on this summer’s SPA events.  Our chat turned into an interesting discussion about a very important institution that has had a profound impact on the communities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.  In thirty plus years SPA has had over 21,500 young people in its programs and its performances have been viewed by over 190,000 spectators.

Brad Sherwood talks about the incredible impact and the humble origin of SPA — there were nine kids in its first summer program.  This year, SPA will have over 1,300 kids participating.  And, best of all, they turn NOBODY away, they find a spot for every young person who desires to be a part of SPA.



Todd Feland
City Administator
City of Grand Forks

Todd Feland, City Adminstrator for the City of Grand Forks joined us to talk about the City’s “Parks & Open Space Plan” in the wake of Jonathan Holth’s call for Grand Forks to create a Grand Plan for art in downtown Grand Forks.

Feland outlines what the City is doing currently which will be presented to the Committee of the Whole this coming Monday evening.


Jon Holth

Jon Holth was an outspoken advocate for developing Arbor Park. In the aftermath of the election he is talking about a Grand Art Plan for downtown Grand Forks, the necessity for such a plan and why it makes sense.

Holth, the co-owner of the Toasted Frog Restaurants that are located in Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck also discusses his recently announced position as interim president and CEO of the the Downtown Community Partnership in Fargo.


Todd Feland
City Administrator
City of Grand Forks

The City Administrator for the City of Grand Forks, Todd Feland, joined us to discuss three basic questions that surround the Arbor Park issue:

(1)  What is a “Renaissance Zone Tax Benefit”?

(2)  If the development moves ahead, will the art in Arbor Park be preserved?

(3)  Is the City investing any money in this development?

Todd Feland answers these basic questions about the Arbor Park proposal that will go before the citizens of Grand Forks next week.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 2017 – Hour 2: ARBOR PARK — Adam Kemp

Adam Kemp
Grand Forks

00:00:  Who’s Adam Kemp?!  We meet this Grand Forks resident/artist who hails from London, England and find out how he got here and what made him stay and call Grand Forks his “home.”

00:29:  Adam’s thoughts on economic development and what he believes is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of the Arbor Park debate as people prepare to vote.


Grand Cities Choir
Grand Forks Herald image
Melanie Popejoy
Creative Director
Grand Cities Choir

In 2017 the Grand Cities Choir celebrated its 15th anniversary.  Melanie Popejoy, the Choir’s Creative Director, joined MacTalk to talk about the origin of the program, it’s mission and its growth (50 in 2002 to 280 in 2017) over those 15 years.

In an interview that is both delightful and insightful, Melanie takes us through a Choir program that as much about character development as it is about music, which should be no surprise since it was modeled after the Summer Performing Arts program that she worked in before starting the Grand Cities Choir.

EXPERIENCING “KEEP THE FAITH” FOR THE FIRST TIME: Cast Members Ella Dostal & Brady Ritland

Ella Dostal and Brady Ritland playing Mary Poppins and Bert at the center of the stage, rehearse Monday afternoon Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald

One of the more interesting aspects of SPA’s upcoming performance of “Keep the Faith” is the fact that not one of the current cast members was born in 1997.   Two current cast members, Ella Dostal and Brady Ritland, both seniors at Red River High School joined Mike McNamara to discuss their learning experience relative to the Flood of 1997 as they’ve gone through rehearsals.

KEEP The FAITH V3: Brad Sherwood

Brad Sherwood
Red River HS
GF Herald image

Twenty years later, Brad Sherwood discusses co-producing for the third time, SPA’s original play based on the Flood of 1997 — KEEP THE FAITH. The play was performed in 1997 to eleven standing room only audiences at the Chester Fritz (a record that still stands) and in 2007 at the Fritz to more sellout audiences.

Sherwood recounts where the original idea came from for the play (Toby Baker), his reaction to the idea and where the title of the production came from (while driving down Gateway Drive, listening to Pat Owens quoting 2nd Timothy live on the radio).   Even after twenty years, Sherwood discusses the emotion and vivid memories associated with the play and educating a cast that wasn’t born when “the flood” occurred.

Post-traumatic event behavior is never far from this production and the producers are mindful of the memories that it conjures in the audience that lived through this event. Conversely, this particular play is a reminder about the importance of art and how it can be used to tell a beautiful stories of the human spirit. “I’ve had people tell me they’re not sure if the can see it again” Sherwood stated.  Having said that, the show is almost 75% sold out and the “marketing” campaign has yet to begin.

The production runs April 21, 22 and 23 and will be performed at Red River High School.  Tickets are on sale at or by calling (701) 746-2411.