Monroe Crossing opens Charlotte's Web season

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-115885717415362.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Bluegrass quintet Monroe Crossing performs at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23, at Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center.’);

The 2006 Charlotte’s Web for the Performing Arts season is upon us. Kicking off the strong lineup of entertainment this year is the bluegrass quintet Monroe Crossing. The band will perform Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 in advance and $16 at the door.

Hailing from Ramsey, Minn., Monroe Crossing has been touted as the Midwest’s premier bluegrass and gospel quintet. Performing more than 100 shows a year, the band has had the attention of fans and critics alike. According to Rake magazine, “… If you want to experience the definition of ‘jamming,’ check these guys out.”

Aside from being a hard-working outfit, the members of Monroe Crossing are also award-winning musicians.

A stellar violinist, mandolinist and vocalist, Lisa Fuglie was the recipient of the 2000 Female Vocalist of the Year Award from the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association. Originally from Nigeria, Fuglie is also a studio musician, music educator and songwriter.

Guitarist Art Blackburn has also been awarded by the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association. Also in 2000, he was named Guitar Player of the Year. Blackburn also plays fiddle.

The band’s newest member, Jason Ericsson, has been playing stringed instruments since grade school, and hails from the music program at East Tennessee State University. A seasoned studio player, Ericsson has performed with the likes of Kenny Baker, Mac Martin, Missy Raines and Mac Weisman. A mult-instrumentalist, his efforts have earned him awards for his guitar, banjo and fiddle work. In 2002, he took third place in The Mountain Top Bluegrass Fiddle Contest, and also finished third in the prestigious Merelfest Banjo Championship.

Bassist Mark Anderson has more than 20 years of playing experience. Originally a drummer, Anderson began playing upright bass in 1995 and since has performed with several bands within the bluegrass community. Today, he’s known as one of the best upright bass players on the scene.

Monroe Crossing is named in honor of Bill Monroe, known to many as “The Father of Bluegrass.”

This year’s Charlotte’s Web schedule includes performances by Randy Sabien, Corky Siegel, Jennifer Berezan, Liam Teague, Denice Franke, Clare Norelle and a special acoustic blues show by Michael “Hawkeye” Herman and Dave Weld. Weld and Herman will also be the featured performers and speakers for the 2006 Blues in the Schools assemblies.

More info about Charlotte’s Web can be found at or by calling 964-2238. The Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center is at 415 N. Church St. in downtown Rockford, and can be found on the Web at The Center can be reached by phone at 964-9713.

From the Sept. 20-26, 2006, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!