The Dakota Brass Quintet performs at Hector International Airport on June 10. From left, Greg post, trumpet, Mike Wavra, trumpet, Pete Schiefelbeim, French horn, Lee Hoffsomer, trombone, Brian Tessman, tuba, and Gene Okerlund, euphonium.
By Lonna Whiting
It’s a typical busy noon hour at Hector International Airport.
Departing passengers queue up in the security line and check flight statuses on overhead display monitors. Arrivers shuffle to baggage claim, phones out, heads down, earbuds in.
Life is one big rush these days, and everyone has someplace more important to be.But on this day, there’s a little airport respite. A lull in the din of a harried, wanderlust world.
There’s live music.
Music at the airport
Fargo-based musician Jake Ingamar carves out a little stage for himself on the second-floor atrium next to the security line, clips a capo onto his guitar and starts singing Johnny Cash.
Art at the Airport series is facilitated by The Arts Partnership’s as part of its popular ArtWORKS program. There is also a series of performances around the holidays.
More than a dozen area businesses participate in ArtWORKS, which brings a rotation of curated art exhibits to the workplace. Hector Airport went a step further, working with The Arts Partnership to design a program to feature mini concerts along with visual art, knowing travelers might enjoy a little live entertainment as they come and go.
Dan Christianson, singer and songwriter for local band The Wicked Bees, has performed as a solo act for the airport music series in the past. “Playing in the airport is a great way for newcomers to get an immediate taste of the local music scene,” he said. “It’s a fun gig. People are always very receptive to the music, and hopefully it makes the TSA line more bearable.”
Musicians reap some benefits, too. They’re paid a stipend for performing at Hector, and travelers can also leave tips.
For Ingamar, interacting with a traveling audience offers him a chance to gain fans from around the world.
“The neatest part about playing at the airport is playing for all kinds of travelers. Right after I got done playing ‘Folsom Prison,’ a guy with a British accent came up and chatted with me about that song. It’s a great opportunity to make some potential international fans and friends,” Ingamar said.
“Hector is such a fun place for our local musicians to perform, and travelers coming and going really enjoy the music as they either prepare to go through security or they’re heading to baggage claim,” The Arts Partnership Interim Executive Director Tania Blanich said. “Airport employees really like it, too. The concerts are a great example of the power of public performance. We can’t thank – or commend – the airport enough for supporting local art in this way.”
This is the fifth year Hector International Airport has participated in ArtWORKS.
ArtWORKS is a program of The Arts Partnership where area businesses and organizations pay for a curated rotation of art to display in their offices, warehouses and other public-facing areas.
Most businesses install rotating visual art exhibits, but Hector Airport is a great example of promoting live performance. Other organizations have hosted short plays, aerial movement art and ballet. Learn more about ArtWORKS here.
About the author
Lonna Whiting is a freelance writer and owner of lonna.co, a content marketing and communications agency located in Fargo, North Dakota. She is a frequent contributor to The Arts Partnership and also provides strategic communications consultation to the organization.