Carrie Newcomer making timely journey to Dawson

Carrie Newcomer reached Minneapolis in February, but a blizzard forced the cancellation of her scheduled concert in Dawson. The Grammy-award winning musician is coming to Dawson on Nov. 16 and 17 to perform her music and host a workshop.

DAWSON — The music of Carrie Newcomer came into Luanne Fondell’s life as she was making the most trying of journeys. Her husband was dying.

On rides home from long-distance medical appointments, Newcomer’s songs became like friends to the couple. The Grammy-award winning artist’s songs helped them celebrate when there was good news, but also restored and comforted them when the news was not so.

And now Fondell, who is the music director for the Dawson-Boyds Arts Association, has made it possible for all in the region to experience firsthand the beauty and inspiration offered by Newcomer.

Newcomer will perform her music Saturday evening in Dawson, and will host a workshop the following day entitled, “The Beautiful Not Yet: Living with Hope in Hard Times.”

The timing of Newcomer’s visit is right for everyone. “I think we are living in times that no matter where you are on the spectrum politically, I think we are living in times that call us to be better people than we ever thought we would need to be,’’ said Newcomer in a recent telephone visit from her home in southern Indiana.


The idea of striving to be better in trying times is very much at the heart of Newcomer’s music. Newcomer said she is focused on connecting people, building bridges and making this a better time.

She is optimistic in that regard, despite the divisions that exist and what she said is a steady barrage of information telling us to be afraid. Newcomer travels much of the country to perform and conduct workshops, and has traveled overseas. Everywhere, she said, she sees people who are working to make the world and their communities better and kinder places.

She is coming to Dawson to share both her music and stories. She said they speak to the values we share and connect with, and they offer hope. Newcomer said she is inspired in her work by her friend and collaborator, author Parker Palmer, with whom she produces a podcast called the “Growing Edge.”

“He has a great definition of hope,” said Newcomer. “Hope is holding in creative tension, everything that is with everything that could and should be, and each day taking some action to narrow the distance between the two.”

Her workshop in Dawson is for those looking to narrow the distance. Participants will share stories, reflect on their lives and focus on how we live in what she calls the “beautiful not yet.” It’s a reference to Palmer’s observation that no one has ever left this planet able to say that peace, love, truth and justice have all been taken care of.

Newcomer was originally scheduled to perform in Dawson in February, but a blizzard forced the concert to be canceled for the safety of audience members who might brave the roads. Her arrival this coming weekend is just a little over a week shy of the second anniversary of the death of Daniel Fondell. He died Nov. 27, 2017. His death came two days before he and Luanne would have celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary.

Luanne Fondell recently wrote a personal column about the loss of her husband and how it all came to be that the Dawson-Boyd Arts Association was able to bring Newcomer to perform. She said the musician served as a source of strength and inspiration to her during her difficult journey.

She wrote that her daughter, Elizabeth, who had initially introduced her to Newcomer's music, encouraged her to see if Newcomer would perform in Dawson.


Newcomer said she is very much looking forward to her arrival in Minnesota, even if it comes at a time of year when other musicians are booking gigs in warmer climes. She pointed out that she had made it as far as Minneapolis in February when her Dawson concert was to have been held.

Undeterred by the cold, she stayed in Minnesota and made a scheduled performance in Ely after the snowstorm had moved on and bone-numbing temperatures replaced it. Newcomer said she loved the sense of community she found in the small town in the woods. She said she is looking forward to the same in Dawson. She is confident the November cold won’t bother the locals one bit. “You all know how to do winter,” she said.

Advance registration is required for the workshop. Tickets for the concert and registration information are available at the Dawson-Boyd Arts Association website or by calling 320-312-2311.

carrie newcomer (1).jpg
Carrie Newcomer

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Carrie Newcomer

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