Mike and Maggie Reminiscences: Academics-turned-educators introduced pleasure to audiences of all ages
BEMIDJI Mike Tangen and Maggie Carlson are grandparents of their 70s now, however the songs they delivered to audiences of all ages nonetheless resonate some 22 years after they left the stage.
Point out the names Mike and Maggie and you’ll ship a pensioner into a fast refrain of The Cat Got here Again, one of the widespread songs the duo sang. This aged gentleman could have grandchildren of his personal now, however reminiscences of live shows together with his now-grown youngster nonetheless dance in his head.
From 1985 to 2001, Tangen and Carlson carried out for audiences throughout the area, and it began once they have been each academics at Northern Elementary.
A fellow instructor instructed they sing collectively in an meeting to reward the scholars for good habits. She knew they have been each proficient musicians with a knack for singing songs that helped youngsters be taught.
North supervisor Jim Lahti loved the live performance a lot he instructed different Bemidji managers concerning the duo.
He needed us to sing at each faculty on the town so he might exhibit his academics, Tangen stated with a smile.
Carlson added, he obtained us substitutes so we might go to every faculty.
They did not rehearse a lot for that first present.
I had my track record and Maggie had hers, Tangen stated. Because the demand grew, we obtained collectively and labored on some issues.
These items turned so widespread that the duo have been in demand, not solely in Bemidji, however all through the area. Ultimately, they added bassist Gary Broste, whose son Phil was in the identical class as Tangens son Adam and Carlsons son Eric.
Though Broste added aptitude and humor to the group, he most well-liked to remain within the background.
It obtained to the purpose the place Gary was such an enormous a part of the group that we thought his identify ought to be included, Tangen stated. He stated no, it is Mike and Maggie. However he was with us at each live performance.
Broste, who nonetheless performs bass recurrently with Corey Medina and Brothers, stated enjoying with Mike and Maggie gave him a special perspective on the impression of music.
It was such a special factor for me as a result of I used to be enjoying on the weekends with blues bands and nation bands after which I used to be operating round with Mike and Maggie,” Brost recalled. “Generally I’d marry a youngsters’s present and get house in time to modify gears. and go play in a bar. It was enjoyable for me to achieve some data from two academics. It opened my eyes to how music can actually improve training.
Tangen and Carlson have been academics first, however each loved enjoying guitar and singing, particularly for his or her rising households. Tangen and his spouse, Shannon, have three youngsters and 7 grandchildren. Carlson and her husband, Dave, have two youngsters and two grandchildren.
Tangen grew up in a musical household in Grand Forks, ND. He taught music and commenced enjoying and singing there earlier than shifting to Bemidji within the Seventies.
After I got here right here, I had some music mates who stated, ‘In the event you do not use it, you are going to miss it,'” Tangen stated. So I went to Union Station, auditioned and obtained employed to sing there. My first evening I bear in mind getting midway by means of a (Gordon) Lightfoot track and forgetting the lyrics, and midway by means of a (James) Taylor track and forgetting the chords. My mates have been proper. You must play or it simply goes away.
It did not go away and Tangen loved enjoying with the likes of Judy Lunseth and Ron Arsenault. However with a full-time instructing job, two younger youngsters and one other on the best way, Tangen determined to depart the group.
I used to be operating from live shows at three within the morning and Shannon was caring for the children, Tangen stated. Actually uninterested in the bar scene.
Music was additionally part of the Carlsons’ lives from a younger age. She grew up in Wichita, Kan., and sang in highschool, at expertise reveals and in cafeterias. One summer time in faculty, she obtained a job at a resort within the Brainerd space, singing at cocktail hour.
On weekends, knowledgeable would come and I’d sing with him, she stated.
That first efficiency by Mike and Maggie at Northern Elementary created a spark that lasted for 16 busy years.
There’s one thing that occurs when children reply so positively to dwell music, Tangen stated.
Carlson added, it was magical when a whole faculty would sing This Fairly Planet in circles. It was like, wow.
As soon as at a fellow instructor’s birthday, Tangen stated he and Carlson would entertain all the scholars so the workers would have cake and occasional.
We had 400 unsupervised children, Tangen recalled, and the (bodily training) instructor saved poking his head in to examine on us, and there was no misbehavior.
That is as a result of the children have been blown away by the duo’s (and Broste’s) music, strikes and antics. The group recorded two tapes entitled “Mike and Maggie: Music for Youngsters” and “Animal Tracs: Gnu Songs for Eve”.
There was a way on the town that we have been the primary and solely musicians for teenagers, Tangen stated. With Maggie and I doing dwell live shows, this was a possibility for fogeys to deliver the children to a present the place they discovered manners and clapping.
The music additionally impressed a number of Bemidji youths to turn into musicians.
Folks like Lance Benson, Eric Carlson and Brian Miller began listening and watching in kindergarten, Tangen stated, and I actually assume considered one of our influences was if they will do it, I can do it.
Carlson remembers being approached lately by a teenage boy with purple, spiky hair.
He got here as much as me and stated, ‘Maggie, you have been the primary dwell music I ever heard and now I am enjoying rock and roll,’” Carlson recalled. “Its very good.
Tangen retired from the Bemidji faculty district in 2008 and Carlson retired in 2011 after ending her instructing profession at Bemidji State. The couple now primarily sings at house with youngsters, grandchildren and mates.
However they’ve such fond reminiscences of their time on stage, seeing youngsters and adults delight within the songs they carried out.
We have been a visible group,” Tangen stated. The standard in our efficiency was actually within the interplay with the viewers. I feel if we tried to promote ourselves utilizing the tapes, we have been simply one other bunch of gamers and singers.
Carlson added, I feel in relation to the youngsters we have been particular. He was a part of it with us and we interacted.
Kevin and Ann Stop and their youngsters, Brett and Allison, have been a number of the duo’s greatest followers.
They only managed to seize in probably the most stunning approach the youngsters’s creativeness and their sense of enjoyable and their sense of rhythm, Kevin stated. The Mike and Maggie tape was a fixture in our automobile. We are going to proceed to interrupt out as a household to a Mike and Maggie track. It’s a part of our life. We thought they have been as well-known as any rock star. It was as a result of their music was so accessible, they usually carried out it with such pleasure and power. What’s to not love about Mike and Maggie?
Hearken to extra songs from Mike and Maggie: