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ARTIST BACKGROUND - TESTIMONIALS

 

The multi-faceted musical talents of Craig LiaBraaten ~ noted concert pianist, singer-songwriter, teacher-conductor, commissioned composer, recording artist, humanitarian-philanthropist -- has been featured in over forty states ~ from the Seattle Opera House to Florida's Disney World and from the Minneapolis Convention Center to the Louisiana State Capitol. He has collaborated on stage with Victor Borge, the St. Olaf Choir, and the Minnesota Orchestra, performed with some of the world's finest conductors including Neville Marriner and Leonard Bernstein ~ and for royalty from Norway, Denmark and Sweden.




Craig LiaBraaten has received thousands of recommendations and testimonials over the past three decades. Here is a sample of what his mentors, colleagues, clients, students, influences, acquaintences, family and friends have to say about the man, his music, and his lifelong dedication to living his life for "others" ~ some with profound and lifelong meaning, some with an everyday colloquialism about them, and others with quite homorous anecdotes.  Here, then, is a means to better get to know the personality behind the piano:



"Craig LiaBraaten studied with me in my piano class at Indiana University, and after successfully finishing his master's degree, was admitted to our very selective doctoral program.

He is 'a born musician' and 'a born pianist' with a wide interest in music, going beyond his instrument.

He is a pure-hearted and civilized person who tries to do his best under any circumstance."
Signed - Gyorgy Sebok, Distinguished Professor of Music, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN, and winner of the Grand Priz du Disque




"It is a great pleasure for me to write a recommendation on behalf of Craig LiaBraaten.

Craig LiaBraaten has a rare combination of personal and professional qualifications which would make him ideally suited for a college teaching position.

Mr. LiaBraaten is a brilliant pianist with a formidable virtuoso technique and a superb sense of musicianship. He is also an extraordinarily gifted and deeply committed teacher of music. He worked with me as my teaching assistant in several music theory classes and did such excellent work that I entrusted him with the complete coordination of some of these classes. When the death of one of our theory faculty members forced a realignment of assignments, Mr. LiaBraaten was moved in as the teacher in charge of one of our theory classes.

He also assisted me in developing a series of materials for teaching and did a splendid job with this task. Mr. LiaBraaten is a dedicated teacher with an abiding concern for the growth and welfare of all of this students. He relates very well to students on all levels and has the unique ability to make things easy for the less gifted students and to challenge the more gifted students. He is highly responsible, enthusiastic, and would make a splendid addition to any faculty." Signed - Dr. Allen Winold, Director, Music Undergraduate Studies, Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN




"I wish to highly recommend Mr. Craig LiaBraaten as a pianist and accompanist. I had the pleasure of having Mr. LiaBraaten accompany in my voice studio for over three years and I found him to be one of the best pianist / accompanists I have ever had in my studio.

Not only is he an accomplished pianist, but he also was a sensitive and skilled accompanist who could enhance a voice student's performance with his outstanding accompanying abilities.

In addition to his pianist abilities, Mr. LiaBraaten was very skilled in music theory (he was an Associate Instuctor in Piano as well as Theory while a student here at Indiana University) which led to his ability in Baroque ornamentation and the realization of recitatives with figured bass.

All in all, Mr. LiaBraaten was a very well-rounded musician and a pleasant person in addition. He always was available for studio classes - he is an excellent sight reader - and for short notice auditions and the like.

I am happy to highly recommend Mr. LiaBraaten without any reservations."  Signed - Dr. Roger A. Havranek, Chairman, Voice Department, Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN




"Craig LiaBraaten has requested that I write on his behalf. I am pleased and honored to do so.

Craig was an outstanding student in the Keyboard Literature courses I have taught in recent years. As a matter of fact his performance in the course was so far above the majority of the class that I recorded a grade of A+, a grade that I have rarely recorded as a semester grade.

Craig revealed to me a highly competent young musician-scholar; his papers for the course were consistently of such high quality that I proposed him to rework them for submission to appropriate periodicals -- I still wish he would do so.

His knowledge of the repertoire, the history surrounding the repertoire, and of the musical content was extraordinary for such a young person. I sense a deep commitment to musical scholarship and performance understanding. In my estimation, he is an outstanding performer.

Craig is an extremely humane person; he gets on well with his peers and is highly respected by those faculty members who have had the privilege to work with him.

I believe Craig can and will make important contributions to the music profession. I recommend him without any reservations." Signed - Dr. Vernon L. Kliewer, Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Studies, Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN




"Craig LiaBraaten was a student in six (6) of my classes at St. Olaf College and was my teaching assistant for three (3) years. He compiled an impressive academic record in music and was a consistent "A" student.

He easily fits into the top 5% of all the students I have taught in the past thirty-five years.

The classes he had with me were: two (2) semesters of Music Theory, Counterpoint, Analysis of Twentieth Century Music, and two (2) semesters of Composition.

As a teaching assistant, Craig administered tests in keyboard and sight-singing, and kept records and gave grades for the students' work in those areas. He was one of the best and most capable assistants I have ever had.

Craig also gave outstanding Junior and Senior solo piano recitals at St. Olaf, which I was privileged to hear.

Not only is he a talented musician and a scholar, but he is a strong personality and has good qualities of true leadership." Signed - Dr. Arthur Campbell, Professor of Music Theory and Composition, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN.




"Craig LiaBraaten was a student in my piano studio during his four (4) years at St. Olaf College, and we have continued our friendship since that time.

During his years at St. Olaf he showed remarkable promise and ability and made great progress pianistically and musically. His achievements were impressive and included being chosen as senior soloist to perform with the St. Olaf Orchestra (performing Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto with a high degree of maturity and skill), being chosen as the state winner in the MTNA National Collegiate Artist Competition, performing successful Junior and Senior piano recitals, serving as a student assistant for theory classes, singing in the St. Olaf Choir, and achieving a high academic record.

In his piano study he came with considerable keyboard skills but continued to make much progress and growth in developing musical maturity and fluency of expression. He has a flair for piano playing which includes a fine awareness of tone color and a sense of the dramatic.

In his work after St. Olaf, I believe Craig has continued to develop and mature as musician, pianist, and teacher. His work at Indiana University has included theory teaching which Craig has evidently accomplished with much success.

Craig is eager, ambitious, hard working, persistent, enjoys teaching, sharing and performing, and possesses many fine qualities that will enhance his work as a professional musician and teacher.

I have a high degree of respect for Craig's abilities and achievements and highly recommend him for serious consideration for any teaching position involving piano and / or music theory."
Signed - Dr. A. DeWayne Wee, Professor of Piano, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN




"I have known Craig LiaBraaten as a student at St. Olaf College. He was a voice student of mine and took a choral conducting classes from me. I also attended recitals in which he played piano or sang.

Mr. LiaBraaten is a very talented pianist who is musically sensitive in many areas. He has a quick ear and can grasp new pices and concepts with great speed. His sensitivity includes being able to turn a beautiful phrase or to play and sing with passion.

Mr. LiaBraaten is a singer of solo quality and performed with the St. Olaf Choir and on recital.

His top-notch ear and intensity also carried over into his choral conducting. His ideas were never dull and ordinary. He also has done some composing and my Chapel Choir read through his "Glory Be To God", which was quite effective.

I always found Mr. LiaBraaten willing to try new ideas even when his instinct was to be skeptical of them, and to readily incorporate those concepts which did work for him. He was eager to please but had high musical standards and expectations as well. I expect that he will be an effective teacher for serious students of music and that he will not be happy with less than a student's best work. His own performances were an example of this kind of commitment to music-making.

I believe that Mr. LiaBraaten will be successful as a performer / teacher because of this combination of ambition and commitment with unusual musical talent. I recommend that anyone whould interview and hear him for either performance or teaching, and I would be happy to talk to them further about any questions they might have." Signed - Dr. Robert V. Scholz, Associate Professor of Music (Voice), St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN




"This is a letter of recommendation for Craig LiaBraaten. I have known Craig for over 23 years.
I first met Craig at my first parish, First Lutheran Church ELCA in Hibbing, Minnesota in 1984.
Craig was invited to do special music at our two Sunday Worship services. I was impressed
with Craig's extraordinary musical talents, openness and friendliness immediately. From that
time on we have developed a long and lasting friendship. Part of it may be that we like to
laugh a lot.

I am Pastor Bill Fossum and I am presently pastor of Grace Lutherna Church ELCA in Ely,
Minnesota, having been pastor here for 20 years. The first thing I would like to address is
Craig's faith and his contributions to our faith community here at Grace and also his
contributions all through the Iron Range in northern Minnesota.

I consider Craig a true brother in Christ and can attest to his strong faith in a gracious and
loving God. His belief that we are saved through grace is at the very core of his belief system.
But he also believes that true faith without works is dead. Therefore he puts his faith in action,
giving of his "time, talents & treasure" which has become a way of life. I have had many
opportunities to witness Craig's strong faith as we have planned worship services together,
prayed together, and shared our personal faith stories.

Craig has strong Christian moral values, honesty & integrity. He has a hard work ethic, is
detail oriented, encouraging & helping others [students, communities, non-profits, churches,
friends], accountable in his Christian walk, ethical in business, and an open minded individual
who is not threatenend by other divergent views and discussions. He is a strong family man
with a loving, supportive, devoted Christian wife, Leah.

I have seen first hand Craig's dependency on God's grace as he has faced personal adversity
in his life, personal health issues (least of which was a tumor the size of a basketball), illness
and deaths of parents and deaths of close friends.

Through all of this he has always been willing to share his musical talents through many
Christian benefit concerts and classical benefit concerts, several of which were held in Ely for
various non-profits. Craig has worked as Music Director for area church choirs, community
choirs, and for Grace Lutheran Church LCMS in Hibbing. He has been an active and supportive
member of that church, as well as an active itinerant music minister at many other churches.

I hope this testimony gives you an idea of Craig's faith and how he has actively put that faith
into action. If you have any questions regarding this letter please contact me at Grace
Lutheran Church.

In Christ," Signed - Rev. William H., Fossum, Senior Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, Ely,
Minnesota





"I have known Craig LiaBraaten for about 14 years.

My family moved to Hibbing, Minnesota in 1992 and sometime in that first year my wife and
I were having an evening out at a local restaurant where Craig was providing evening
entertainment at the piano. I remember being surprised that a man of his talent was
performing in Hibbing. That evening, along with showing his acumen as a piano and vocal
soloist, I was quite impressed at his ability to play and sing any selection that was requested
as he provided an open request segment during the evening. His interaction with the clientele
was professional and appealing.

During the years that went by we would see each other and have cordial but minimal
interaction. In one of those interactions, Craig has become aware that Grace Lutheran was
building a new church and graciously extended the invitation to help with our sound system.

Mr. LiaBraaten later became my daughter Emily's piano teacher, which has provided her
with great opportunity to expand her abilities under his superb tutelage.

I became aware of Craig having a real battle with cancer. This led to a deeper relationship
and his becoming a member at Grace Lutheran. We rejoice that God has provided him with
a full recovery from his cancer!

This connection opened the door for Craig to become involved in our church's music ministry
and for a time serving as our church's Music Director. His extensive musical abilities were
appreciated and seen in both writing and composing new musical selections that coordinated
with the Church year, marvelous arrangements developed for the group musicians, the ability
to draw much from a small group in our Adult Choir, and the well oiled process he oversaw
in coordinating a community Christmas Concert. At various times I found myself giving thanks
to God that a man of such great talent and ability was being used by God to bless our church
community.

Clearly, the greater Hibbing area is also blessed to have a businessman / musician in our
community. His efforts have not only provided a work place for numerous individuals over
the years, but the quality and high end musical training and oversight that few small
communities can boast of.

He has extended himself in our community not only as a businessman and musician, but also
in various charitable efforts. Most recently I personally appreciated his opening the door for
our church's youth group to do a fund raiser by delivering a mailing flier to the community
in which Mr. LiaBraaten provided $1000 towards their 2007 National Youth Gathering trip.

I have wondered at times how a man who is head and shoulders above the norm in his
musical field is in Hibbing, Minnesota when he could easily thrive in any metropolitan
area. I am thankful to God and appreciative of the blessings that come to our greater
community through his multiple talents and abilities.

Sincerely," Signed - Rev. Mark Palmer, Senior Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN





"I have known Craig LiaBraaten for over 10 years. I have had dealings with him in business, professionally and socially, and I have found him to be one of the finest and most generous people I have seen.

He has brought to our rural area of Northeastern Minnesota the Hibbing School of Music and Living Water Music, for which he serves as Chief Executive Officer, Executive Producer and Director. Someone with his education and experience has the ability to take their talents anywhere, but Mr. LiaBraaten chose to give back to his native home, to share and bring culture to our area.

He has supported my own community by playing and singing with one of his award-winning voice students, Emily Shackelton, who also hails from our town, during our Weinachtfest Celebration, a German lighting ceremony held every year.

Mr. LiaBraaten has donated countless hours fro the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Aurora, Hibbing, University of Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State University. He has also produced Twin Ports Idol and Iron Range Idol, local music contests derived from the concept of American Idol television show.

He has set up and maintained a website www.melody4community.com that records and produces Compact Discs for non-profit fund raisers and donates them back to Iron Range youth, musicians and vocalists in the form of music scholarships. To date Mr. LiaBraaten has provided over $205,000 in scholarships.

It has been an honor and a privilege to have been asked to participate with this letter. Mr. LiaBraaten has gone above and beyond the call to support all of our area youth in their musical endeavors and I truly look forward to the day my own daughter can begin her musical training with him."  Signed - Michele D. Woods, Mayor of Biwabik, Minnesota




"I am pleased to recommend Craig LiaBraaten for positions of music. I have known Craig for twenty (20) years as his pastor, and he comes from a very fine home. I know him to be a capable person of good moral character.

Craig has been very helpful in our congregation during the years that he was in high school, college and in graduate work. Craig has sung in our choir, served as a piano and vocal soloist, cantor for the Sunday morning liturgy, and he has participated in our Christmas Eve Candlelight services and Easter services.

Craig has a great amount of musical talent to share with people, and people are responsive to his abilities and knowledge. He will be a credit to any music program in which he participates." Signed - Rev. John J. Degelau, Senior Pastor, Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN

 

 

"I am writing to thank you for your entertainment for our 2010 Annual Meeting and Dinner.

And recommend you to others that may wish to use your services.

This is the third year you have played for us and as always you have outdone yourself.

Your music has become part of the fabric that makes our dinner and social hour not only

a success, but an evening thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. You also make it very easy

for me personally by taking care of details that make your performance, and our event,

run smoothly -- true professionalism.

Our Annual Meeting and Dinner is the most important event for the IMA. Our board and

membership is made up of the top management of not only the mines but the largest

companies in the region. They often bring spouses and others they wish to entertain.

Your work reflects the expectations of these professionals. You help make the evening

a great experience.

Thank you.

It is a pleasure working with you and your wife Craig. The event would not be the same

without you.

I hope you are available for our next event.

Sincerely, "  Signed - Craig Pagel, President, Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, Duluth, MN

 

 


"It has been my privilege to know Craig LiaBraaten as teacher, musician, businessman and
colleague. His moral standards, Christian ethics and integrity are beyond reproach. His
approach to life is humorous, helpful and always encouraging. He is hard working, honest,
sincere and uplifting.

As a young man with monumental intelligence and talent, he has chosen to unselfishly devote
his abilities to support the youth in his hometown. He has given freely of himself with humor
and charm as a consistent way of life. His strength of character has helped him overcome a
number of adversities with grace. He has used these trials as a springboard for helping
others and to further his understanding of life. A giving person, he naturally shares his time,
talents and treasure for many charities; to provide free concerts and entertainment in nursing
homes and many other venues and to promote the growth of his students by providing them
opportunities to perform in public.

His performance skills are extraordinary. He is able to provide personalized entertainment
practically without notice. He has the skill of a classical concert pianist, the vocal ability of a
seasoned opera baritone, combined with a folksy sense of fun that make each appearance
something special. His range of talent is appealing to all ages and never crosses into any
questionable area. He can instantly provide a contemporary Christian concert, a "one man
band", or a full classical concert.

From my point of view as a student and parent of a student in piano and voice, I find Craig's
teaching ability to be unique, fresh and simple to understand. As a new voice student of
Craig's, I found (and my family confirmed that) after just a few lessons, my breath control,
tone and range improved immensely. A beginning piano student of any age like my
daughter can come from her first lesson playing a song she knows. After that it only gets
better. Craig has the wonderful ability to transform the initial enthusiasm of a beginning
musician into the skill and poise of an accomplished performer. Kids and adults are able to
progress in their own time and comfort level. Craig succeeds by supporting and encouraging
without discouraging even the smallest student.

His business expertise includes Hibbing School of Music as Director of a fine arts school that
offers piano, voice and guitar lessons for youth and adults. As such he has provided CD demo
scholarship awards since 1994 with a value of over $205,000. Recently he has added
Kindermusik classes as part of the school's offerings. Craig, an accomplished musician,
can still learn and grow and help others in the process!

As the CEO and Executive Producer of Living Water Music, Inc. for 24 years, he has provided
a recording studio, fund raisers for local churches, schools, community colleges, youth
groups and others in the area. He has created "Iron Range Idol" and "Twin Ports Idol"
competitions to encourage singers from Minnesota and Wisconsin to reach their dreams
and have the opportunity to create a professional CD recording. The proceeds from his
big band CD, "Swinging Into Shape" all go to the American Cancer Society. His mobile
recording studio, light and sound equipment and expertise have provided groups with
recordings that could not have been otherwise made. Bands such as "Gary Lewis and
the Playboys" have had top-notch sound support and technical back-up provided by
Craig and Living Water Music, Inc.

His "Amen Christian Disc Jockeys" ("when content is crucial") and "Midwest Disc Jockeys"
provide wholesome disc jockey service for the upper midwest area. AND Living Water
Music will also move your piano!

In my business as a graphic designer, I have worked with Craig to design more than 50 CD
album covers, logos, ads, brochures and other work for Living Water Music. In all of our
business he has exacting standards, and his attention to detail and content challenges me
to be a better artist.

Craig can play piano, sing, write music, teach, conduct, remember every song he's ever
played, run several businesses simultaneously, deal skillfully with multi-tasking, encourage,
inspire, and give, give give. You can only be blessed if you are able to become a part of
Craig's challenging and inspirational life.

Sincerely yours,"
Signed - Jamie McDougall, Methodist Lay Minister, Hibbing, Minnesota





"I have worked with Mr. LiaBraaten on numerous occasions within a praise team setting,
as well as professionally over the past number of years. I have also observed him as he
encourages and teaches youth and children in music endeavors. Both he and his wife Leah
have a fervent love for children!

I have found Mr. LiaBraaten to be extremely talented and a delight to work with. He is
encouraging to those who work under his leadership. He has an excellent sense of humor
and has a high work ethic. He is reliable, expeditious in getting his work completed on time,
organized, and does all tasks before him with excellence. His talent surpasses any that I have
ever seen or heard.

While we will sorely miss him, we also realize that Craig needs to move forward in pursuing
his career choices in the calling the Lord provides. We hope that you will consider him for
any music minister or music teaching position.

One-half of me is wishing he wouldn't go, and the other half is sincerely wishing the very best
for Craig and his wife, hoping that they will be abundantly blessed in pursuing his desire of
music ministry in a different home area.

Sincerely," Signed - Lois Warner, Praise Team Member, Adult Choir Member, Grace Lutheran Church (LCMS), Hibbing, MN




"I am pleased to write a letter of recommendation for my friend Craig LiaBraaten. I currently am working with Craig on the praise team at Grace Lutheran Church in Hibbing, MN. I have known Craig for several years, but have had the privilege to work with him on the praise team and also in the church choir over the past few years.

It has never been a wonder why everyone calls Craig the "Piano Man" because Craig's musical gifts far surpass anyone I've known. (I have a Bachelor's Degree in Music and I have been exposed to many talented people.)  He has the ability on the piano to play any kind of music put in front of him. He has both arranged and composed numerous songs of which I have had the opportunity to sing.

Craig also has versatile vocal skills (classical and contemporary styles) and has heartfelt and sincere contemporary worship leading skills. In addition to his exceeding musical abilities, Craig is very organized, ambitious and task oriented. He is charming, lighthearted, and has a great sense of humor. He is fun to work with.

The small town of Hibbing, where he currently lives, seems limiting for someone of his caliber. He has so much to offer musically that it would be beneficial for him to be within a larger community where he can soar to new heights.

Craig is a Godly man and seeks to do the Lord's will. We will be sorry to see him go, but certainly understand his need to press forward.

In closing, let me say I feel confident in recommending Craig LiaBraaten for any position pertaining to music. I am certain he would be an asset to your team.

Sincerely," Signed - Julie Kuusisto, Choir Member, Praise Team Member, Grace Lutheran Church (LCMS), Hibbing MN




"I have known Craig LiaBraaten since I joined the Rotary Club of Hibbing in 1999 where he served as Music Director, Pianist and Song Leader for the club. During this time I have come to know quite well his music accomplishments which include receiving a Bachelor of Music from St. Olaf College, Master of Music from Indiana University, and Doctor of Musical Arts ABD from Louisiana State University. I am also aware of the numerous recognitions and National and International awards that Craig has received such as the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist.

While in the Rotary Club of Hibbing, Craig was involved in many community projects with the club. In addition he served as Music Director and Song Leader for many years, motivating the members to participate and have spirited fun during meetings and providing dinner music with his wonderful piano.

Craig was also very generous with his time and talents and provided the Rotary Club with:

  • Craig Recorded, Produced & Engineered a CD of our Hibbing Rotary group singing Rotary Songs
  • Craig provided elegant dinner music and dancing music for annual Rotary Christmas parties
  • Craig played his piano on the Rotary Float in the Christmas Parade
  • Craig provided Live Music and Sound System for Rotary's First Avenue Mile Race
  • Craig Played piano and led singing as ambassador for Rotary Clubs on business trips to California
  • Craig donated $1,000 for a special Rotary scholarship fund

Outside of Rotary I have known Craig to be active in the community and to give of himself far beyond many others in making it possible for many to participate musically in the community. He sponsors & funds CD Demo Awards for aspiring young musicians and singers, including sponsoring singing contests "Twin Ports Idol" and "Iron Range Idol". In addition Craig has created a community-based, non-profit website: "Melody4Community", where non-profit groups make professional recordings and raise funds for their music programs. He has created many musical fundraisers for many non profit groups in the area such as "Music Marathons for MDA" and his "Swinging Into Shape", a big band CD with 100% of the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.

I have worked with Craig on community programs where he has provided his talents and equipment for fundraising events with organizations such as the United Way and Rotary International. In Rotary we have an official rule: "you cannot refuse any request for service". I can honestly say in the years I have known Craig LiaBraaten, every time I have requested his time, talent or equipment for a charitable event, he has been enthusiastic to help and never said no!

Yours in Service," Signed - Tim Kaminski, Rotary District 5580, Assistant Governor, Rotary International






"I have worked in the local media for 20 years and over that period I have come to know the people who are experts in their fields. Craig LiaBraaten is one such expert, covering all aspects of music.

When I needed a theme song for a new talk show, I commissioned Craig and the result was a song that was played for the opening, segues, and the closing of "Northland Morning Magazing" for over 6 years. This beautiful piano selection was written, recorded, mixed and mastered by Craig LiaBraaten and then given to WNMT for use on this talk show.

Over the years Craig has brought several of his students onto our radio stations to have them talk about their music. They have shared their talents with us and also all have mentioned how much they enjoy working with Craig as their music teacher. This is one area where Craig, along with his wife Leah, continue to strive in. Through contests, such as Iron Range Idol and Twin Ports Idol, and other events they have promoted the joy of music for hundreds of children and young adults. Helping these students to produce compact discs, do live performances, and promote their desires to pursue musical opportunities in their lives. I feel their work with young people to promote music, in a day where many of these opportunities don't exist, is a great addition to our community.

When Craig had some health issues a few years back, he turned to his music and decided to also help other people. The benefit recording "Singing Into Shape" was the result and the proceeds have been donated to the American Cancer Society. Both Craig and Leah have also helped support and have performed music at many Relay for Life events across the state.

In addition Craig and his music have been involved at community events, local nursing homes, area churches, and other festivals. One such event is the Hibbing Jubilee, where people have come to expect to see Craig and his music for the last seven years. He has also worked with the Hibbing City Band, the Hibbing High School Alumni band and choir.

Craig LiaBraaten's dedication to music and more importantly his dedication to promoting music for his entire community is unprecedented. Craig and his businesses Living Water Music and the Hibbing School of Music are truly wonderful assets for the people of the Iron Range.

Sincerely," Signed - Craig Holgate, Program Director, Midwest Communications, Inc., WTBX, WMFG, KMFG, USA Radio, WNMT radio stations all based in Hibbing MN.




"I am writing a letter of recommendation for Craig LiaBraaten. I am the person in charge of the technical aspects of a community theatre in Bigfork, Minnesota. I became acquainted with Craig during the fund raising, planning and building design of this theatre project.

At the time we were fund raising for this 2.2 million dollar building, Craig was giving voice lessons to two of our local students. He graciously was involved in at least six benefit concerts. He sang solos with Andrea Cole and Jacob Rahier from our community. All of the proceeds from these concerts went to the Edge of the Wilderness Fine Arts Center. He also donated the use of all of his sound equipment and lighting equipment to pull off these events in the commons of the Bigfork High School where no sound or lighting existed at the time.

As our building became a reality, we were met with the awesome challenge of finding the right lighting and sound equipment. We consulted Craig and were very influenced and helped by his research and work on recommending audio reinforcement and lighting systems.

I found Craig exceptionally helpful as a project research specialist trying to help us make our sound and lighting decisions. He spent many hours of work assembling data spec sheets and getting quotes from numerous sources. He came up to Bigfork and met with us to discuss our needs and his recommendation. He was very helpful donating his time looking into options for us; specifically he provided detailed specs and options for lighting. He laid things out with a "good" lighting option, a "better" lighting option, and a "best" option so that we could make truly informed decisions. This really helped a non-profit group such as ours, knowing that he had researched with the authorities in the industry, the most desirable and cost effective way to go for our facility.

Craig LiaBraaten showed tremendous commitment and dedication for the Edge of the Wilderness Fine Arts Center project for a period of several years and we are very grateful for his involvement."  Signed - Heidi Korstad, M. D., Scenic Rivers Health Services with medical facilities located in Big Falls, MN; Cook, MN; Bigfork, MN; Floodwood, MN; Northome, MN.




"I am writing a letter of recommendation for Craig LiaBraaten.

I have had several opportunities with several charitable events in this community to work with Mr. LiaBraaten. The working relationship we had was outstanding. The quality and professionalism was of the highest caliber. As always with programs and events, there were many distractions and interruptions to the plans, and Craig was extremely flexible and adaptable. He performs well under pressure.

Craig has a high degree of technical knowledge and his expertise was extremely valuable. Because of his professionalism, much of the stress and strain of the events we were involved in were diminished by Craig's professionalism.

I believe there are also factors of importance in his background beyond technical knowledge and high quality musicianship. Some of these intangibles would be his sincere caring about people and helping them to the best of his ability. He does care about people and his actions and behavior testify to that fact.

I would have absolutely no hesitation calling Craig for his service for our next event. If I can be of service to anyone, please feel free to call me and I can share additional inwights that I have surrounding a working relationship with Craig LiaBraaten." Signed - Donald B. Maki, Financial Advisor, Ameriprise Financial, Hibbing, MN.




"Craig LiaBraaten, simply put, was the most talented student that I ever had in my classroom at Hibbing High School in some thirty-three years of instructing. I designed and taught the college preparatory English curriculum at the school, principally at that time a difficult, semester long writing course.

Craig showed himself to be a facile writer, one well able to quickly grasp and apply the subtleties of the language to his prose. He was, in addition, a thorough delight to have had as a student. He laughed easily, enjoyed school, and interacted well among faculty and fellow students.

But it was beyond the classroom were his aptitude truly lay. I can well remember hearing him play piano and organ for the first time at one of the school programs. His mastery and technique, along with his obvious love for what he was doing struck me as an obvious talent well beyond his age and a gift that would propel him as far as he wanted to take it.

To my great delight, my inward prediction from that day has borne immense fruit. Craig has grown to a marvelous young man who has taken his enormous talent -- that gift -- and shared it with thousands of others.

His resume speaks for itself and need not be addressed here. But that summary of accomplishments and honors does not reflect the joy he both receives and radiates in sharing his love of music with others. His students reflect the passion for music that Craig possesses and develop their own talents under his caring tutelage.

Craig LiaBraaten has "passed along" the blessing of musical talent to multitudes of others who have heard him perform or been privileged to be his students. I recommend him with enthusiasm and no reservations. Signed - Dan Bergan, Hibbing High School English Instructor (Retired), Hibbing, MN.




"Dear Craig,

Words cannot express my appreciation for your GENEROSITY and SHARING YOUR UNDESCRIBABLE TALENT!  As I told you there, your performance made the ceremonies regal! When you sang the STAR SPANGLED BANNER, Craig, you choked up everyone! I wished the world could have joined us at this time! Your talent and entertainment makes EVERYONE HAPPY!

I have confidence that you will achieve all the goals you are reaching for, just as I knew you would years ago when i chared the Minnesota Federation of Music State Convention and you, Craig, were the WINNER!

THANKS AGAIN FOR SHARING WITH THE GIRL SCOUTS AND ALL PEOPLE! I hope to see you again before long.

Sincerely," Signed - Anna Mae Litfin, Girl Scout Camp Director and Director & CEO, WorldPep International, Hibbing, MN




"My name is Justin Lindgren, and I am currently the director of bands for the Independent
School District #696 in Ely, Minnesota. I am writing this letter of recommendation for Craig
LiaBraaten after completing a recording project during the 2006-2007 school year.

I became aware of Craig LiaBraaten and his company, Living Water Music, through a CD
that our school, under a previous director, had recorded three years prior to my arrival in
the district. I contacted Craig to learn a bit more about the process of recording a CD with a
high school ensemble. I was given detailed information as to what goes on with a session
and the logistical requirements for the entire process. The professionalism of the company's
representatives made me quite comfortable in proceeding with the endeavor of creating
a CD.

Craig put the needs of my school at the forefront of the project. To accommodate our
school's schedule, Craig and Leah traveled to our town in May of 2006 and set up around
6:30am in the Vermilion Community College auditorium. Before recording even began,
Craig talked to the students about how to make the session as successful as possible and
how the process would work. He recorded twenty-seven (27) numbers and interjected
positive comments between recordings to help keep the energy of the students up. After
the session Craig stored the recordings for several months until given permission to begin
the mastering process, providing occasional e-mails to keep track of our progress at the
school with details.

Here is the amazing part. It was brought to my attention that students wanted to sell the
CDs at an upcoming concert, though we hadn't ordered any yet. Just eight (8) days prior
to the concert, I contacted Craig with the final numbers for the project. He informed me
of the difficulty of completing the production, design work, and manufacturing of the CDs
in such a small time frame, but assured me he would do what he could. He kept me posted
almost daily as to the progress of the project up until the day before the concert! The CDs
were delivered in just eight (8) days, arriving a few hours before our concert!

When we paid for the shipping, I made an error in the mileage resulting in overpayment
on our part. I told him to keep the extra amount for his hard work, but Craig politely
refused payment until we could send him a check for the correct amount. Since then,
Craig has even checked in with me to see what the reaction to our CD has been.
Everyone's comments have been very positive, and it seems the CD has been very
well received.

I greatly appreciate the work that Craig and Living Water Music have done for us. Their
customer service and quality product are second to none.

Sincerely,"
Signed - Justin Lindgren, Director of Bands, Ely Memorial High School, Ely, Minnesota





"Craig LiaBraaten, owner and CEO of Living Water Music, has generously provided musical
entertainment for our Friday Night Recreation Program for several years. Our program
provides social and recreational programming for individuals with visible and invisible
disabilities on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota.

Craig has shared his musical abilities and generosity with us in various manners. He has
become a yearly event for the Christmas Sing-A-Long. Not only does he have the patience
and compassion in working with adults with disabilities, he also makes our holiday
gatherings fun with CD gifts and a variety of musical games. Craig has always been warm
and caring and shows a true love of sharing music with all people.

In addition to the Holiday Sing-Along, Craig is our regular disc jockey for dance nights. He
has performed many of our dances, with the Snowball Dance and Coronation being the
highlights. This dance is held at the Historic Androy Hotel ballroom, and Living Water Music
does a tremendous job in providing a more elegant genre of music.

In closing, I would recommend Craig LiaBraaten's Living Water Music for any bookings
where professional musical services are required. Craig charges a competitive rate, and
he has always delivered more than what the monetary charge reflects.

Feel free to contact me with any questions."
Signed - Ilona Kearney, Community Education Coordinator, Adults with Disabilities, MSW,
LGSW, Hibbing, Minnesota





"We appreciate that Craig LiaBraaten has chosen to share his gifts and talents with our community. Often artists leave our region for the more supportive infrastructure of a metropolitan area. I have had the pleasure to know Craig professionally for ten (10) years, and he has passionately worked hard in running his multi-faceted professional music business here in our community, which is not easy to do in this day and time.

Craig has donated many hours of his time and talent to our region. In particular, I am familiar with and appreciative of Craig's donated expertise and time year after year to our local outdoor festivals such as Mines and Pines and our Jubilee.

Craig is the founder, CEO, Director and Executive Producer for the Hibbing School of Music and Living Water Music, Inc. Both businesses are headquartered here in Hibbing, MN. Over the years that we have been acquainted, he has employed many people in his businesses and entertainment productions and has trained emerging young talent from across the region.

Thank you for the opportunity to recommend Mr. LiaBraaten." Signed - Lory Fedo, President, Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce, Hibbing, MN




"Dear Craig,
On behalf of the Virginia Area Chamber of Commerce, we with to express our appreciation to you and your staff for assistance with music and sound equipment for the community picnic celebrating the KDLH-TV Channel 3 "Our Town Virginia" series.

You did a terrific job as always representing your organization. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work together on celebrations which build pride in the community. Our continued gratitude to your organization for your willingness to assist the Chamber, the
City of Virginia, and the Virginia Foundation.

It is always a pleasure to work with you!
Sincerely," Signed - Constance A. Jones, President / CEO, Virginia Area Chamber of Commerce, Virginia, MN





"Thank you for a knockout performance at the Minnesota Section SME Annual Banquet.
It was superb!

I heard a tremendous amount of praise about your skill and talent from people attending
from all over the United States.

The Iron Range is fortunate to have someone so talented in our midst -- and more importantly, someone who is willing to share that talent! Keep up the good work!" Signed - Gregory A Walker, Chairman, Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, Inc., Hoyt Lakes, MN




"Craig, thanks so much for all your help on Charles Kuralt's "End of the Road Show". The response from those in attendance was great, as well as from the audience who heard the broadcast a few days later.

We appreciated your willingness to come all the way to Ely and be such an integral part
of the show. I will get to taping it for you one of these days.

Much appreciation!" Signed - Lynn Olson, Charles Kuralt's Boundary Waters Broadcasters, WELY Radio 92.1 FM / 1450 AM, Ely, MN




"Craig, Thank you so much for providing us with such wonderful music at the Annual
Medical Staff Dinner. We were honored to have such a talented musician. I hope that
you enjoyed being with us this year!

It was my pleasure to meet you. The physicians were thrilled at your presence! I hope we
are as fortunate in the years to come. Thanks!" Signed - Tara Fairchild, Medical Staff
Secretary, Mesabi Regional Medical Center, Hibbing, MN




"Craig,
As always, the music was wonderful! Your talents as a musician are truly a gift from God.

Thank you for using those talents to make the Annual Medical Staff Dinner a success!

Thanks a bunch, Craig!"
Signed - Tara Fairchild, Medical Staff, Mesabi Regional Medical Center, Hibbing, MN




"Craig, your help with the Annual Medical Staff Dinner at Mesabi Regional Medical Center
in Hibbing was greatly appreciated.

Thank you so juch for providing two hours of amazing piano music for our staff. You are
undoubtedly the best piano player I have ever heard!

I appreciate you tagging on the extra hours for us! I look forward to working with you again
next year! Thank you very much!!"
Signed - Tara Fairchild, Medical Staff, Mesabi Regional Medical Center,
Hibbing, MN




"LiaBraaten Concert: Wow!
Words that describe Craig LiaBraaten's MDA Benefit Concert held May 2 at Mesabi
Community College in Virginia, MN:
Wow. Marvelous. Inspiring. Fun. Exciting. Great. Grand. Superb.
What a wonderful talent so generously shared."
Letter to the Editor, Mesabi Daily News,
Signed - Dorothy Lendreville, Virginia, MN





"Dear Craig,
Thanks so much for your benefit concert in Chisholm. I truly appreciate the special musical performance and donation for our library here in Chisholm. You sound man was a true professional, too, and very, very helpful. It was a pleasure, and we will recommend you highly!" Signed - Elizabeth, Chisholm Public Library, Chisholm, MN





"On behalf of USWA / National Steel Pellet Company Career Development Center, I would
like to thank you in helping make our June 30th Open House a success!

Your generosity is much appreciated.

You made the Open House great, and I don't know how I could ever repay you. Thanks!
Signed - Terri Mjolsness, Acting Coordinator, USWA / National Steel Pellet Company
Career Development Program, Keewatin, MN





"On behalf of National Steel Career Development Center, we would like to thank you for
helping make our August 24th Open House a success!

Your generosity is much appreciated. Thanks.

We appreciate the wonderful live entertainment you provided for our open house.
Thanks again."
Signed - Adrian Norman, Coordinator, USWA / National Steel Pellet Company Career
Development Program, Keewatin, MN




"God bless those who give of themselves. May He reward you for being so kind.
Thanks once more for a wonderful benefit concert for the Edge Center here in town.
Hope your long trip home was good.

The CD you gave for free at lunch time was so appreciated by the lady who received it. She
lost her husband in February. She lives at Pine Tree Villa, where I volunteer two mornings
a week. She called to say 'What a wonderful gift'.

You are such giving people & we are so thankful for all you have done for Andrea & Jacob
& so many others.

One day you will have a great reward. In God's love,"
Signed - Floyd & Bonnie Cole, Bigfork, MN




"Craig, thank you for sharing your talents with us again at the Edge of the Wilderness Fine
Arts Center in Bigfork, MN.

Eleven (11) chairs were donated on January 24th - thanks to you!

Chairs have now been ordered, and perhaps our Community Theater here will be performing
'Oklahoma' this summer.

You are amazing! Thank you!"
Signed - Anna Larson, Board of Directors, Edge of the Wilderness Fine Arts Center,
Effie, MN; Bigfork, MN; Marcell, MN





"Dear Craig, thank you for being a big part of our 'Ground Breaking Ceremony' and for
playing the awesome benefit concert for us on Saturday. Wasn't it marvelous?"
Signed - Bonnie Cole, Edge Center Board of Directors, Edge of the Wilderness Fine Arts
Center, Bigfork, MN




"How can we ever thank you for all you have done for us. Such a loving gift of your time
& talents for our kids and our community. We hope to ask you back next year to have a
concert in our new 'Edge Center for the Arts', with good seats for everyone, wonderful
lighting & sound. Thank you very much!"
Signed - Bonnie Cole, Edge Center Committee, Edge of the Wilderness Fine Arts Center,
Bigfork, MN





"Craig,
We enjoyed you benefit concert at Bigfork, especially the piano piece with '32 notes per
second'  and the 'Name That Tune' selection of several songs you played that we were
supposed to guess.

Andrea & Jacob have improved so much in their singing, thanks to your wonderful teaching."
Signed - Linda, Miles & Matthew Matta, Effie, MN




"Dear Craig,
It is said that 'it takes a Village to raise a child', and you have been a big part of the 'Village'
that has helped to raise Dustin. I have also heard it said that teenagers need an adult, other
than their parents, to depend on, and you have been one of those adults. And again I read
that a child needs many 'assets' to become a well-rounded adult, and you have definitely
been one of those assets for Dustin.

Words could not possibly thank you enough for all the many things you have done for
Dustin. The confidence you have helped Dustin obtain, for the wonderful experiences you
have made available to him - - such as the CDs and music performances - - for the fantastic
piano lessons that he has enjoyed so much - - for being such a good role model - - and most of
all, the friendship you have extended to him.

We want you to know that we truly appreciate and thank you for all you have done for Dustin
and the community of Hibbing. We wish you the best in all you do, and let it be known that in
your lifetime, you have made a difference.

Thank you and sincerely,"
Signed - Dale and Nancy Davidson, Hibbing, MN




"Thanks for all your help in recording my first song, 'Is Christmas Coming, Daddy?'
I enjoyed the whole experience, the finished product...and metting you all!
You helped me fulfill a dream! Happy New Year!" Signed - Jim L'Esperance, Recording Artist




"As I was sitting here the other day, I began to think about all that you had to do to produce, mix, master, design and duplicate my recording and have it ready by Christmas. I realized I had never really thanked you for that.

I am so looking forward to making a second recording, only this time I insist you accompany me on every song. I was so totally pleased with the accompaniment you performed and recorded. I hope you would consider doing it again sometime.

I have had a wonderful response to the recording. It's been mailed to thirteen (13) states and some have asked about re-orders already.

I feel so honored to have worked with you. It's fun to read of your success in the paper, and I pray you will enjoy continued success for a long, long time. Sincerely," Signed - Betty Doebbeling, Recording Artist




"Dear Craig,
Thanks for all you have done to make my recordings so fun to do and so successful.
Thanks for writing such a nice and supportive article about me in the Mesabi Daily News.
I consider it an honor to receive such high compliment from someone who is so
accomplished in music.

Thank you so much for your caring. Sincerely,"
Signed, Rod [Rodney] Heikkila, Singer-Songwriter, Recording Artist





"The Board of Directors of the Virginia (Minnesota) Area Historical Society thank you for your participation in our 'Old Fashioned Christmas In The Park'.

As you already know, it was a huge success, and it couldn't have succeeded without your help." Signed Betty Hagberg, Director and Janet Nelson, Secretary, Virginia Area Historical Society, Virginia, MN




"Craig,
You really helped to pay a special musical tribute to our Veterans here at Heritage Manor
Nursing Home in Chisholm. Please come back any time! Many thanks!"
Signed - Kathy Worlie, Heritage Manor Nursing Home, Chisholm, MN




"Dear Craig,
For all the special things you do...we would like to thank you again for your fine tribute to
the World War II veterans on Memorial Day. People are still talking about how much they
appreciated and enjoyed the program. Thank you."
Signed - The American Legion & VFW, Hibbing, MN




"Craig, Leah & Students,
Wishing you a day as warm as your heart...as welcome as your thoughtfulness...as
appreciated as your kindness. Thanks you to all who helped in providing the sonderful
music program. We enjoyed it so much."
Signed - Residents & Staff, Guardian Angels Nursing Home, Hibbing, MN




"Dear Craig, A big thank you from all of us at the Ely Nursing Home for entertaining us in February. It was fantastic!" Signed - The Residents and Activity Staff, Ely Nursing Home, Ely, MN




"Craig, Thanks again for taking the time providing the great entertainment at the D.A.R.E. commencement graduations. Sincerely," Signed - Officer Dale Rapacz, Eveleth Police Department, Eveleth, MN




"Dear Craig, Just the briefest of notes to offer our sincere gratitude for your presentation during the Pentecost worship this past Sunday. You are a committed Christian and wonderfully talented. Our people are always enlivened and refreshed by your visits. Hope that we will have the opportunity to work together again soon. In Christs' love" Signed - Rev. Walter W. Dawson, St. James' Episcopal Church, Hibbing, MN




"Dear Mr. LiaBraaten,
Thank you for being so generous with your time & musical talents, and helping to make our
Centennial Day at Nashwauk United Methodist Church so special. Sincerely,"
Signed - Marion P. Kampula, Nashwauk United Methodist Church, Nashwauk, MN




"Craig --
I'm sorry this is so late - but the message is the same. We enjoyed your music so much & were
so blessed. As we left I heard many say they wished you could have played and sang longer
on December 12th.

Hopefully we can have you here again. Now that your name is so well known, people will be
anticipating your next visit.

Thank you again - we were truly blessed!

In Jesus' name,"
Signed - Connie Magnuson, CWM President, International Falls, MN




"Craig & Leah,
A special 'thank you' for being part of the Picnic Committee and sharing your ideas!

Mostly, a 'thank you' for sharing the last several months of your Christian life with others of
the group! Happy Holidays! Bless you!"
Signed - Carrol Kolden, Ministerial Thank You Committee, Hibbing, MN




"Craig, thank you and your staff for all the help with Dick's memorial service. Your music was a beautiful expression for me & my family that represented Dick's life. I've received many compliments on your selections and singing. I deeply appreciate all that you have done for me. Thank you" Signed - Margaret Ratai, Mountain Iron, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah,
Ralph and I cannot adequately thank you for the beautiful gift of music with which you graced
Angela's funeral mass. The music and the power of the songs truly celebrated life, its changes,
and our belief in God.

We heard may comments about the shivers the congregation experienced while you sang,
Craig. Your musical memorial to Angela at the Eveleth Resurrection Catholic Church
was much appreciated and will long be remembered.

Your generosity of spirit overwhelms us. From our hearts, THANK YOU. Sincerely,"
Signed - Ralph & Beverly Laurich, the family or Angeline Laurich, Eveleth, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah,
Thank you for all your help and donation, and for your condolences. You have both been
truly kind and understanding in everything. I do appreciate it. Sincerely,"
Signed - Mary Hyde & Family, Hibbing, MN




"Craig & Leah,
We wanted to let you know we got back from Branson, Missouri. We way the show at the
'Country Tonite Theatre'. After the show we talked to Jimmy Hyde, from Hibbing, MN. He
plays drums in the band! He said he knew you, Craig, and wishes you well!

It was a pleasure meeting Jimmy Hyde, and we thought passing this along might brighten
your day! Take care! :-)
Signed - The Johnsons - Tim, Kari & Jacey, Cook, MN & Branson, MO




"On behalf of June Bee & Kris, I want to tell you that they had a very good experience recording in your studio.

June told me that she felt it was almost like a seminar on recording. She learned much and they said they were put right at ease immediately and all through the recording. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the finished product.

Again, thank you for a learning and enjoyable experience for June Bee and Kris. Sincerely,"
Signed - Diana Oesterreich, Publicity & Scheduling, Heaven's Light Music Ministry, Duluth, MN




"Craig, Your new songs are receiving airplay on our station. I trust your series of concerts for MDA is going well. It's great how the Lord has been using you & your musical ministry. Thanks!" Signed - Jon Hall, Program Director, KBHW Radio, International Falls, MN




"Dear Craig,
Lou and I were just thrilled with our anniversary present - - Alena's CD demo scholarship.
It brought tears to our eyes!

We wanted to thank you for providing the musical background, back-up support, and for
allowing Alena the opportunity to make that recording in your studio.

Sincerely," Signed - Vicky & Lou DeMillo, Hibbing, MN

 

 

"Craig - you are the most talented person I've ever met! You were truly given a great gift.

Thank you so much for taking your time to share your gift with others! Even though I chose

not to further my education in music, I know that it will always be a big part of my life.

Leah, you are such a great person! You'd do anything just to make someone else's

life a little easier!

Thank you both !!"  Signed - Tisha Shepersky, Anchorage, AK, formerly Chisholm, MN

 


"
Dear Craig,
What wonderful music you provided for our Grand Opening of our new Girl Scout facility! Your music was lovely and sprightly and added to our jocular mood. It was a lot of work for you and your staff & we appreciate it. Thank you so much for being there. Sincerely," Signed - Girl Scout Grand Opening Committee, Chisholm, MN




"Dear Mr. Craig LiaBraaten,
On behalf of the girls, volunteers, staff and Board of Directors at Girl Scouts - Land of the
Lakes Council, I want to thank you for your recent donation of disc jockey services and
live music for the Mall Sleepover. This letter serves as acknowledgement that no goods
or services were provided in exchange for your contribution.

It is through the generous support of caring community members like you that we are
able to reach our to EVERY GIRL to help each one blossom into a caring, confident, and
competent woman. Thank you again for your gift; you are making a difference in the lives
of many girls.

In Girl Scouting,"
Signed - Leigh Ann Davis, Executive Director, Girl Scouts, Waite Park Service Center




"Dear Mr. and Mrs. LiaBraaten,
Thank you for believing in Girl Scouting and supporting the council with your generous
contribution of PA system, disc jockey services, and emcee for our Hibbing Mall Sleepover.
This letter serves as acknowledgement that no goods of services were provided in exchange
for your contribution.

Your decision to help girls grow strong through Girl Scouting is greatly appreciated by
the girls, volunteers, and staff of Girl Scouts - Land of Lakes Council.

With your support, girls will continue to discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls
together through Girl Scouts. Through a myriad of enriching experiences, such as
extraordinary field trips, sports skill-building clinics, community service projects, cultural
exchanges, and environmental stewardships, girls are growing courageous and strong.

Thank you, again, for your support! We're glad you are a member of our Girl Scout Family!
In Girl Scouting,"
Signed - Leigh Ann Davis, Executive Director, Girl Scouts, Waite Park Service Center





"Dear Mr. Craig LiaBraaten,
Thank you so very much for helping me on my Eagle project for Boy Scouts of America.

By presenting your amazing performance of piano and vocal selections, you not only helped
me earn my Eagle award, but Range Respite also reached one of their long term goals
because of you.

Thank you! Sincerely,"
Signed - James M. Lekatz, Eagle Scout, Virginia, MN




" Mr. LiaBraaten --
Craig, as a former caregiver and now, a Range Respite board member, it is my privilege and
pleasure to send you our "thanks". It seems inadequate to merely say "thank you" for your
wonderful effort for our local non-profit, Range Respite. Your generous gift and benefit
concert lifts our hearts and our "load", and such encouragement helps us to continue what
we delight in doing - - to help and support the dear caregivers we serve in whatever way we
can.

Since I first became aware of Range Respite when our sweet Mom used respite care at a
local hospital - - I have been absolutely sold on the programs and efforts of this agency!

Thank you for caring about us!
Signed - Daphne Koski, Range Respite, Virginia, MN





"Dear Craig!
Thank you so much for helping out the Ex POWs with your time and talent!

We want you to know, too, how much Norma and I appreciate your musical talents and the
way you liven up our Rotary meetings! Sincerely,"
Signed - Bill Schleppegrill, Past President, Hibbing Noon Rotary; Hibbing Titan of Taconite,
Hibbing Winter Frolic, Hibbing, MN





"Mr. LiaBraaten,
On behalf of the members of [Minnesota] Sons of Norway, we wish to express our thanks &
appreciation for your generous donation & sharing of your time & talent by providing a
program that will long be remembered - a program that was very enjoyable and reminded
us of the 'reason for the season'!

God's blessings to you and your family."
Signed - Elaine Myrum, Secretary, Sons of Norway




"I can't thank you enough for your thoughtfulness.

The frame [of my article in the Hibbing Daily Tribune] and note was great, and most
appreciated.

Happy Holidays :-)"
Signed - Dave Clusiau, Owner / CEO, Hibbing Chrysler Center, Hibbing, MN




"Craig, We would like to thank you for the wonderful job you did at our wedding. The music at the wedding and reception was beautiful, moving and fun.

The Northland is fortunate to have such a great talent in their backyard.

I can't imagine having anyone but Craig LiaBraaten at a wedding; no matter what size or setting.

Not only were we overwhelmed by the music, but we were extremely satisfied with your attention to detail and friendly service.

Thanks very much, and you certainly have our endorsement. We will highly recommend your business. Sincerely," Signed - Michael & Debbie Grillo, St. Paul, MN




"Please accept our sincere thanks for your outstanding part in making our day so special.
Your music, Craig, was beautiful, and I'm so glad we chose such quality when we chose
your live music and vocal services.

We will highly recommend you to anyone. Thanks!"
Signed Rachel & Pete Boney, St. Paul, MN




"Thank you for sharing your time and talent to make our wedding day so special. Whenever
we remember this day and all it means to us, we'll also remember how much your music
added to the beauty of our wedding.

Your instrumental music and voice are like an angel! Thank you for making our day SO
special. Thank you!"
Signed - Bryan & Susan Stark, Duluth, MN




Jamie MacDougall, adult voice student and parent of a voice a piano student - Hibbing, MN
"Dear Mr. Craig,
You are like the Pied Piper of Hamlin with all those beautiful kids on the stage. It is obvious
they all love you, and I know my little Kaitlyn does. She was thrilled with her CD last night, and when I put it in my purse to take it home, she reminded me to be sure to give it back to her. Cute! She is so proud she is learning both voice and piano.

God wants those who have been given great gifts to do much. I love watching you do that.
You have been given the obviously great gift of music and the less obvious gifts of humor and
teaching and a kind a generous soul. Your rapport with the kids is a wonderful gift, as well. I
hope you know that you are lifting them up and helping them get their voices. What a job!

Leah with the 'smiling voice' is a treasure. I am constantly amazed at her juggling ability.
She is lovely, charming, efficient, delightful. What a great job she is doing!

We all need kind words and 'attaboys' now and then. You have given me many kind words
and I thank you. Please accept these king words and be aware that I am proud to know you. I
am sure glad that I got up the nerve to take voice lessons. Great decision!

On another subject; do you think that Nona might let me sing her song? It is really beautiful."
Signed -
Jamie MacDougall, adult voice student and parent of a voice a piano student -
Hibbing, MN





"Dear Craig & Leah,
Thank you so much for helping with the AD Walk [Alzheimer's Memory Walk].

It was so great to hear you sing and play again. I miss that! Your students were delightful.

Love to you both,"
Signed - Pat & Andy (Anders) Stone, Chisholm, MN




"Dear Craig and Leah,

We would like to extend our gratitude to you and your students. The music and talent was
wonderful! We truly appreciate your time and the enthusiasm you shared with us during
our 2002 Alzheimer's Memory Walk. Great job - thank you! :-)

We thank you and hope to see you next year! (June 18th, 2003). Sincerely,"
Signed - 2002 Alzheimer's Memory Walk Committee Members, Janet Kiesel, Pam Dixon,
and Becky Edstrom, Fairview Regional Health Services, Hibbing, MN




"Craig, your concert at Security State Bank last Friday was delightful and gave everyone an
enjoyable afternoon. Enclosed is a poem called 'The Star Polisher' by Leah Becks. This
poem is YOU! You are 'The Star Polisher', and your students are the Stars! Your student,
Nicole, showed it!

Thanks!"
Signed - Carole Cicmil, Security State Bank, Hibbing, MN




"Craig, thank you so much for coming to our 'Ice Cream Social' & playing such beautiful
music! We look forward to the event every year & you always do such a wonderful job!

We know that performing this year was a challenge & we appreciate it!

Looking forward to MANY more years of working together! Thanks again!"
Signed - Shannon K. Garrity, Consumer Loan Officer, Security State Bank, Hibbing, MN




"Craig - - Thank you so much for 'once again' putting on a great show at our annual Ice
Cream Social during the Hibbing Jubilee week! We really enjoyed your fantastic piano
playing and singing, and we hope that you enjoyed the day as well. Thanks again, and
here's to many more years of working together!"
Signed - Shannon K. Garrity, Consumer Loan Officer, Security State Bank, Hibbing, MN





"Craig - Thank you for the WONDERFUL performance this year at our Ice Cream Social!
Everyone had a great time & really enjoyed listening to you sing & play! This had to have
been one of our best years ever! Here's to many more. :-)

Thanks again!"
Signed - Shannon K. Garrity, Consumer Loan Officer, Security State Bank, Hibbing, MN





"Craig, thanks for putting on a great show & endulging me.

We pray for your full recovery. Your friend,"
Signed - Geno Nicolelli, Greyhound Bus Museum, former Hibbing City Council, Hibbing, MN,
"Hibbing - Mother of the Bus Industry"




"Craig, THANKS - - for putting up with me with the rehearsals. I'm glad I can count on you
as a friend.

I've always enjoyed our time together. God bless."
Signed - Geno Nicolelli, Greyhound Bus Museum, former Hibbing City Council, Hibbing, MN,
"Hibbing - Mother of the Bus Industry"




"Dear Craig, Thank you so much for coming and playing such beautiful music at our Open
House for the United Way of Hibbing at the Hibbing Memorial Building.

Your magnificent performance and donation of time and talent make it very special!
Thanks again!"
Signed - Jo Cady, Director, Hibbing United Way, Hibbing Memorial Building, Hibbing, MN




"Craig - -
Thank you for playing music for my Benefit that night at the Hibbing VFW. Your generous
donation of time and talent was greatly appreciated and very thoughtful. It's nice to know
there are caring people in town. Thank you!"
Signed - Theresa Danielson, Hibbing, MN




"Thank you, Craig, for supporting the benefit at the Hibbing VFW for Bazel. Your donation
of music and entertainment was greatly appreciated, and really made the night.

Thank you!"
Signed - Bazel's family and friends, Hibbing, MN




"Craig & Leah, having a great time and missing you both. We are now on our holiday break
& I'm sitting next to the ocean listening to the waves come crashing in. It is so beautiful here.

We will be in Cape Town for two weeks & then up in Kruger National Park & Swaziland &
Zululand for a week.

Hope you are feeling better & are able to do your music! See you soon! Love,
Signed, Lisa Sorenson, Chisholm, MN, former piano student, studying in South Africa




"Dear Craig,
Just wanted to thank you for all your diligent work in the music ministry during the Easter
season! Every service was so inspiring - - really lifted our hearts!

We especially enjoyed the selection you composed & arranged - - I hope you sing it again
real soon.

Please convey our thanks to the choir & soloists! I know God will bless you all richly!"
Signed - Leland, Pat & Kim Krumwiede, Grace Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN




"God's blessings on your Easter! He is risen! Thank you for the enjoyable breakfast get
together this week. God's continued blessings on your music ministry here at Grace."
Signed - Rev. Mark Palmer, Senior Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN




"Dear Craig, may God bless you for your kindness. Thank you so much for your wonderful
music at our 'All Daughter Banquet' at Grace Lutheran Church. Sincerely,"
Signed - Grace Lutheran Ladies Guild, Grace Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN




"Thinking of You, Craig. We continue to have you in our prayers each Sunday at Grace.
Your road must seem very long & difficult - and our thoughts & concerns are with you.
In His love,"
Signed - Social Ministry, Grace Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN




"Dear Craig LiaBraaten,
On behalf of Medical Professions Association of St. Cloud State University, we'd like to
thank you for providing your professional DJ service at the American Cancer Society
College Relay For Life. This is the 2nd year we have hosted this event, and donations
such as your go a long way towards a successful evening. We appreciate you entertaining
us with a wide variety of music throughout the evening as well as providing karaoke
entertainment for all. Sincerely,"
Signed - Becky Volbert, Relay For Life Logistics Committee Chair; Kristen Hanson, Relay
For Life Entertainment Committee Chair; Destiny Bachmeier, Relay For Life Team
Recruitment Committee Chair [Medical Professions Association - Public Relations]; Megan
Cleland, Relay For Life Prizes / Food Committee Chair [Medical Professions
Association - Treasurer]




"Dear Craig:
Thank you so much for helping us promote the American Cancer Society 'Daffodil Days' in
the Mesabi Daily News. We really appreciate your willingness to tell your personal story,
and to do so much for our Relays for Life in northern Minnesota. Sincerely,"
Signed - Sonja Fuchs, American Cancer Society Staff, Moorhead, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah, thank you on behalf of the American Cancer Society for providing the
music all night long for our Relay for Life. Your students are amazingly talented. Thanks,
also, to Leah. The choices of music during the night were fantastic. Also, thanks for providing
your excellent PA sound system. All your donations of time, talent and expertise were
greatly appreciated by all. Sincerely,"
Signed - Sandy Holcomb, American Cancer Society Relays for Life in Hibbing, MN;
Aurora, MN; Duluth, MN; and St. Cloud, MN




"Thank you Craig LiaBraaten for donating your services on June 23, 2006 for the Relay
for Life in Aurora, MN. Your in-kind donation of live music entertainment, disc jockey
services, and PA sound system is most appreciated. Thank you!"
Signed - Cyndi Woshik, American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Treasurer, Aurora, MN




"Craig, thank you! Your program was wonderful and a great addition to the Relay event.

Thank to both of you, Craig & Leah. It was a pleasure working with you. Keep up the good
work, and best wishes in all you do with your music and students. Sincerely,"
Signed - Peg Bateman, St. Louis County American Cancer Society Relay for Life
Committee, Hibbing, MN




"I discovered we share a birthday! I also discovered we have something else in common -
I've been doctoring for cancer (leukemia) this past year. I'm doing fine & pray you are also.

I graduated from Hibbing High School in 1943, the same year as your dad [Jerry] & grew up
in North Hibbing as he did.

Hope your day and year are also good."
Signed - Faye Yanko, member Grace Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN




"Craig & Leah - - Thank you very much for the card and kind words at Christmas. Thank you
for all your time & energies expended at Grace and with Emily at the piano, and with Anna
& Abigail at Pre-School.

The Christmas community song concert was a wonderful offering of praise glorifying God for
the gift of His Son. Thank you for ALL your work to make that evening a reality.

As the star led the wise me to Jesus, may you be led by God's Word and may you be blessed
as you continue to serve the Lord with gladness. Thanks for everything!"
Signed - Pastor Mark & Beth Palmer, Grace Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN




"May the Lord make this special day the beginning of a year filled with new and wonderful
experiences.

Thanks for all your work with Emily. She really enjoys her piano lessons with you."
Signed - Pastor Mark & Beth Palmer, Grace Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN




"We continue to thank the Lord for you and pray He will restore your good health and
strength."
Signed - Pastor Mark & Beth Palmer, Grace Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN




"Dear Craig and Leah,
Thank you so very much for the beautiful plant - - but most of all thank you for your prayers.

I have no pain - - but very bloated. CT scan on 9th - - Dr. appt on the 11th. Should know
where I stand.

Love & faith always!"
Signed - Corrine Olson, Babbitt, MN




"Craig & Leah -
Thank you for making Corrine's celebration of lie so wonderful. Your music at Our Savior's
Lutheran Church in Virginia, MN was absolutely perfect and such a witness to our love for
the Lord.

Words cannot express our gratitude for your being there on Sunday.

May God continue to bless your ministry just as He blessed Corrine's ministry of faith and
service.

In Him,"
Signed - The Corrine Olson Family, Babbitt, MN




"Dear Craig and Leah,
So good to see you at Corrine Olsons' funeral on Sunday. Thanks so much for the beautiful
music. I remember when Corrine was responsible for a music leader at the Duluth Convention
for WELCA at UMD, and she brought you, Craig, to be our leader. I think the song 'Here I Am,
Lord' was the beginning for me to reach out of my comfort zone and do 'something'. Haven't
stopped since! When you played and sang 'Here I Am, Lord' on Sunday, it brought back so
many memories. Thank you!

You are both very special people. I know the meaning of a spouse's support. If not for them,
where would we be? Love to you both,"
Signed Pat [Anders] Stone, Chisholm, MN




"Craig & Leah, thank you again for the memorial gift and compact disc - - and your phone
calls to check on us. Jack's funeral was a quiet celebration of his life. We will miss him
terribly, but will do our best to carry on his theme. We appreciate you keeping in touch
with Jack and sharing your life with him, and being such a good friend. Our prayers are
with you. "
Signed - Ann Marckley, Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Virginia, MN




"Craig,
We want you to know how much we appreciate all you did for Grampa Harold's funeral.
We are so proud to be able to call you OUR son-in-law. We are also proud to say your wife
is our daughter! Love, Mom & Dad"
Signed - Kristin & Harold Koskela, Virginia, MN




"Dear Craig, I read in the paper that you're being treated for lymphoma. I've got an idea of
how distressing that is from having had cancer myself, but I've never had chemo therapy.

You're important to a lot of people - - really important in their lives - - and that includes me - -
so lots of people are praying for you.

In the meantime - - if you'd like a little pleasant diversion - - if you feel well enough, would
you like to play some 2 piano music? Either at your studio or at my house? Call me at
[phone number] if you'd like to do that. Thanks!"
Signed - Gail Murray, Attorney at Law and former piano student




"Mr. LiaBraaten, I would like to thank you for providing our music at our Freshman Fling. You did a great job. Everyone had a really great time. Thanks again!" Signed - Megan Myklebust




"Thanks for your great DJ (disc jockey) services. You really help in making our school dances
a great success. Sincerely,"
Signed - Susan Garrelts, Ashley Egan & Friends




"Re: Greenway's Day of Caring Entertainment
Craig LiaBraaten / Living Water Music supplied the entertainment for Greenway High
School's 2nd Annual "Day of Caring" on May 18th. Thank you for your in-kind donation
to our growing community event."
Signed - Gary D. Nyquist, Coleraine, MN




"Craig,
Your generous gift of the beautiful fish aquarium is wonderful! You are great! I THANK YOU
so much!"
Signed - Matt Viitala, Tower High School, Tower, MN




"Dear Craig,
On behalf of the Lincoln Junior High students and staff, I want to thank you for taking time out
of your busy schedule to spend Thursday afternoon with us.

Comments from the students and staff have been very positive. They really enjoyed hearing
about your occupation and career at our "Lincoln Career Day".

It is my hope that your experience with us was a positive one for you.

Again, thank you for helping to make our first "Lincoln Career Day" such a success.
Sincerely," Signed - Kathleen (Kathy) Sterk, Principal, Lincoln Junior High School,
Hibbing, MN




"Craig - -
Thank you so much for performing at the Hall of Fame program for Kevin McHale
and our other inductees at the Hibbing High School.

Everyone thought your music was great and very professional. Having you sing and play
really added to the entire program. Thank you again."
Signed - Milt, Hibbing High School Athletic Department, Hibbing High School ISD #701,
Hibbing, MN




"Craig,
Thank you and your very talented students so much for bringing a wonderful and joyous
musical touch to Irongate Mall's Christmas.

Thanks again for all of your generous time and amazing talents. It just wouldn't be
Christmas without you! Sincerely,"
Signed - Holly Petroske, Manager, Irongate Mall, Hibbing, MN




"Craig & Leah,
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to get donations for the Hibbing
Food Shelf. All of us at the Salvation Army in Hibbing greatly appreciate it. Thanks again!"
Signed - Megin Moore, Volunteer Coordinator, Hibbing Food Shelf, Salvation Army,
Hibbing, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah,
You sure know how to lift my spirits. The plant is just beautiful. Thanks again so much!

I miss you both. Hopefully I'll get good medical news at the Mayo Clinic on March 22.
I'll keep in touch." Signed - Marian Swanson, Embarrass, MN



"Hi Leah & Craig,
I think of you guys so often. Hope all is well.

I'm doing well. Meds are kinda difficult, but nothing to complain about. I don't return to
Mayo Clinic till September.

Let me know what's new in your lives. I'd love to hear. Lots of love. Sincerely,"
Signed - Marian Swanson, Embarrass, MN





"Dear Craig & Leah,
Thank you, thank you. You're always doing such nice things for me that cheer me up and
continue to help make me feel strong.

You're both so special to me. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

PS. The plant sits so pretty in my kitchen. Love,"
Signed - Marian Swanson, Embarrass, MN





"Craig,
Your gift of the TV set was just what I needed for Mud Creek - - perfect!

Thanks for the 'Distaste' idea for 'Moses', my golden retriever. He's had his second shots,
and vet said he's in great shape. Thanks."
Signed - Russ Avikainen, Ely, MN




"Craig,
Moses growing by the day. Spends the nights outside my bedroom window - weather
permitting. Wakes me in the a.m. (5:30) with a 'yip'.

Moses loves the sandpit & the lake - swimming. 'Distates' seems to be working!!
Thanks so much for caring.

Seems to be house-trained! He's in the house today because of rain. Regards,"
Signed - Russ Avikainen, Ely, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah,
Thank you for the beautiful lily plant, the cookies and the lovely Easter card.
Having you visit here was very special, too, even though your time was short.

I feel so blessed to be surrounded by flowers and friends - - a perfect combination!"
Signed - Helen Sedey, Fayal Township, Eveleth, MN




"Dear Leah & Craig,
Thank you for putting my records onto tapes for me. It is such a pleasure to be able to listen
to those special piano recordings again. Happy spring! With love,"
Signed - Helen Sedey, Fayal Township, Eveleth, MN




"Dear Craig and Leah,
Your visit yesterday morning was very enjoyable.

The gift - plant and card - are both lovely, plus a pink bow and beautiful pink butterfly. The
total combination has lifted my spirit!!

How blessed I am to have found wonderful friends, as you are. Thank you for being my
special friends - always so thoughtful, sensitive and caring in your generous way.

With much love,"
Signed - Helen Sedey, Fayal Township, Eveleth, MN





"Craig,
Thank you for printing larger in my piano workbook. I can now read it easier. I don't want
to miss any of the lucid instructions.

Also, thank you for the encouragement and your patience."
Signed - Helen Sedey, Fayal Township, Eveleth, MN





"Dear Craig & Leah,
My Easter was very special because you were able to spend som time here visiting me.

Your card and verse are lovely - the Easter Bunny and Basket are adorable - so elaborate and
the prettiest I have ever seen.

It was a pleasure seeing you, since there is seldom any extra time in your busy schedule.

Thank you for all of the very kind and thoughtful things you do for me. I appreciate everything
very much.

With love and affection,"
Signed - Helen Sedey, Fayal Township, Eveleth, MN





"Memo to: Craig
Thank you for the blank tapes.
Thank you again for coming to my rescue at the time of the 'flood'.
Thank you for recording my 33 1/3 records onto tapes. I have been spending time listening.
Thank you for all of the kind, thoughtful things you do for me throughout the years. I do
appreciate everything.
Thank you for always encouraging me and believing I can 'reach higher' as a musician.
Thanks to you, I have 'listened to my heart; followed my dreams; reached for the stars'!"
Signed - Helen Sedey, Fayal Township, Eveleth, MN





"Craig and Leah,
Thanks for the well wishes and prayers.

You have helped Angie meet a goal that she never would have thought possible. Her
CD demo recording was a great gift and inspiration to her. Thank you.

We look forward to performing music together in Florida and later in Minnesota.

Both Angie and I wish you continued good health and a happy holiday season.

I hope to get the time myself to take lessons from you. Thanks!"
Signed - Jim Skipper, husband of Angie Skipper, Craig's adult voice student




"Dear Craig,
The plant and card you sent is absolutely wonderful. Thank you for making my day!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Love,"
Signed - Sully [Solveig] Rocchio, Edina Care Center, Edina, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah,
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thanks loads for the beautiful plant and the birthday 'card' you made. I'll never know how
you have time for these extra things you do.

That will be just wonderful if you two come down here in November (or any time at all).
I'll ask Clair, Nancy & Rose [LiaBraaten] to come, too.

I've been thinking of your Dad this evening. His 'Fly Old Glory' is wonderful. Good memories!

Love,"
Signed - Sully [Solveig] Rocchio, Edina Care Center, Edina, MN





"Dear Craig & Leah,
Thanks so much for the beautiful CD. That surely took a lot of time preparing it for me.
I expect my kids will enjoy it, too. Thanks again! Love,"
Signed - Sully [Solveig] Rocchio, Edina Care Center, Edina, MN





"Mr. Craig -
We wanted to take a moment & thank you for all the hard work you have done for Emily
and our whole family over the past six (6) years.

You are the best music teacher, and we wanted to let you know how much we appreciate
everything you have done - like the CD demo recording scholarships and other awards
and your help with Emily's appearance on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion -
and the many hours you have put in!

Thanks again for everything!"
Signed - Helen, Randy & Emily Shackelton, Biwabik, MN




"Dear Mr. Craig,
Thank you so much for a wonderful year of music & voice lessons. Jordan has learned so
much under your guidance & teaching. Thank you for helping her become confident and
poised on stage. Her self esteem increased so much this year.

Your patience, talents, and dedication has been very much appreciated. Jordan LOVES
music, and she can't wait to learn how to play the piano in addition to singing now. You
truly have inspired her! Thanks again!"
Signed - Lynn & Darin Stish, Hibbing, MN




"Dear Mr. Craig & Miss Leah -
Thanks so very much for all that you have given (and continue to give) to the young
musicians and singers of the Hibbing area. Your generosity, support for the community,
positive guidance & love of music is very much appreciated by so many.

On a personal level, you have been such a positive influence and role model for our
daughter, Jordan, and our niece, KeKe. They have both benefitted so much because of
your teaching, guidance and support. We truly appreciate all that you do.

Please keep up the excellent tradition that you've established in our area. As our town
continues to grow, I'm positive your industry will flourish. If we can ever be of any help,
don't hesitate to call. Sincerely,"
Signed - Lynn & Darin Stish, Hibbing, MN




"Dear Craig -
Just a quick note to say thanks for the birthday surprise. Thanks to you, I took Pat out to the
Riverside Inn for dinner, and we had a great time. It's hard to believe we're getting old,
isn't it?

It was fun seeing you performing on the float in the parade. I'll bet you enjoy doing that
sort of thing.

Thanks again, and thank for continuing to teach and encourage Isaac in his piano lessons."
Signed - Dan Niebeling, Hibbing, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah,
Thank you for the beautiful plant and you thoughts of kindness due to the loss of our beloved
little 'Crickie'. She was so special to us. Thank you for understanding this, and for your comfort. Sincerely,"
Signed - Erma & Don Stevens, Chisholm, MN




"Craig & Leah - -
Thank you for your thoughts & prayers during my stay in the hospital over my recent car
accident. Your kind words & visit with my wife the day of the accident meant a lot to her and
to me, and also you help with cleaning out my van with my belongings.

I am finally on the road to recovery! Thanks for being our friends!"
Signed - Frank Vidas, Eveleth, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah,
On behalf of all of us at MDA [Muscular Dystrophy Association], I would like to once again
say 'thank you' for the tremendous job you did representing and sponsoring MDA this past
year. MDA would not be the organization it's been if not for wonderful people like you who
make it great.

Our awards banquet honored your achievements on behalf of MDA, including your marvelous
"Music Marathon". You make great things happen for people who really need it, and we are
very grateful to you.

One of the services we provide is Summer Camp for youth with MD between the ages of 6 and
21. I know the intent of your group was to send at least four (4) children to summer camp. I am
pleased to announce you achieved and passed that goal by sending seven (7) children to
camp. Congratulations!

Thank you again, Sincerely,"
Signed - Your friends at MDA, Jerry Lewis, National Chairman"




"Thank you for the Mother's Day card - - it was very thoughtful of you. We had a special get
together with Sheri & her family. Went to lunch at Barker's Island, and it was such a treat for
everyone."
Signed - Connie [John] Nylund, Hibbing, MN




"Sending a little Valentine hug for smiles in your world and love in your heart! Happy
Hearts Day!

Thinking of you! Enclosed find a business card we got from Candy. Her K & B Drive Inn in
Eveleth is very nice. Maybe it will be on your way to somwhere you're headed now & then."
Signed - Connie [John] Nylund, Hibbing, MN





"Dear Craig & Leah, thank you for caring. Thank you for the beautiful memorial plant. We
felt truly loved by the flowers that you sent. Love,"
Signed - Doug, June & Kristin Dann, Richfield, WI




"Craig, what the heart has once known, it shall never forget...

Thinking of you. Lots of love and good wishes."
Signed - May Hopkins, Gary, TX & Hibbing, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah, how wonderful of you to bring me the lovely big plant. I will think of you
every time I look at it. You both are so kind. God bless. I love you."
Signed - May Hopkins, Hibbing, MN




"Craig, I'm grateful. I'm pleased. I'm touched. I'm overwhelmed! I'm tickled pink!

What I mean is - thanks! Thank you so much for sharing your time with me. I had an
absolutely wonderful time performing in 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'
at the Hibbing Community College under the direction of Mike Ricci.

Couldn't have done it without your kindness, quick thinking and expertise - - "ONE" was
just what it took!

Thanks again from your former voice and piano student."
Signed - Nicole Burkes, Hibbing, MN




"Hello Mr. Craig LiaBraaten,
I'm pretty sure I never thanked you for your time in helping me with my audition song for
'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' at Hibbing Community College.

I know this card is very late, but people like you deserve to know how much they're
appreciated no matter when. I had such an 'amazing' experience - - which all stemmed
from your generosity. Thanks again. Sincerely,"
Signed - Nicole Burkes, Hibbing, MN




"Dear Craig,
You are such a blessing! I want to thank you for contributing your gifts, time & talents to
making our tribute service to LeAnna so beautiful. Thank you so much. Love,"
Signed - Lois Warner & the Warner Family, Hibbing, MN




"Craig & Leah,
Hope. May it greet you every morning and carry you through each day. Here is our new
address. Always remember you're in our thoughts & in our prayers. With love,"
Signed - Leroy, Debbie & Lindsay Riddell, Coon Rapids, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah,
'From the rising of the sun to its going down, the Lord's name is to be praised.' Ps. 113:3

Thank you so much for praying for us, and for the beautiful peace plant.

Also thank you for the offers to help. Your thoughtfulness is much appreciated.

Love from Lee, Beth, Brittany, Vanessa & Charity Aultman"
Signed, the Aultmans, Buhl, MN; Britt, MN; Eveleth, MN




"Anyone can say 'Thanks!' But not everyone has someone as nice as you to say it to.

Beautiful job! Thanks for coming!! [Chelsea - 11 years old]

I wish you could come and sing for us more often!! :-) You are VERY talented! Love,
Hannah [9 years old] P.S. I was the acolyte! :-)

Craig, what else could I add that my girls have not already said? We REALLY, REALLY
enjoyed your playing for our church...hated for it to end!! A lot of people in the
congregation really felt inspired & also didn't want you to stop.

Continued good health to you. Thank you again for blessing us all!!"
Signed - Dawn Nelson (AKA the girl Friday for the church)




"Greetings, Craig, and good wishes! You did the marvelous music for our daughter's
wedding in 2001 at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Virginia, MN. What fun memories!"
Signed - Ralph & Sally Christopherson, Tower, MN




"Thank you very much for presenting our Guest Day music program today. You were a
tremendous blessing to all of us at Chisholm United Methodist Church. Sincerely,"
Signed - Chisholm United Methodist Women, Chisholm, MN




"Craig,
Thank you so much for making our wedding so spectacular. It meant the world to us that
you were able to sing and play at our wedding.

We had a wonderful day and it just wouldn't have been the same without you there.

Much thanks always."
Signed - Courtney and Brian Hoeller, Eagan, MN




"Dear Craig & Leah,
Thank you for the wonderful job you did singing & playing at Courtney's wedding. The
young man [Jacob Rahier of Bigfork, MN] who sang the second song was outstanding. He
should have a promising career ahead with that voice!

The enormous effort you made to make Courtney's day perfect was greatly appreciated.

The dance was a blast & people were out there dancing from the first note on.

Craig, you are in my prayers daily. God Bless you."
Signed - Ross & Karen Emerson, father & mother of the bride, Courtney Emerson




"Dearest Craig & Leah,
Hope this finds both of you well. I'm thinking of you & as always you're in my prayers.
Just wanted to thank both of you for being such wonderful people.

You will never know how much you have touched my life. God bless you. :-)"
Signed - Lynette Wollenetz, Superior, WI




"Thank you very much for your support. The first annual 'Jubilee Grand Ball' for the Hibbing
Jubilee Celebration was successful because of sponsors like you.

We at Hibbing Ballroom Dance Center look forward to working with you on future events.
Sincerely,"
Signed - Lloyd & Marsha Show, Keewatin, MN




"Craig,
What a great article in today's Hibbing Daily Tribune on your studio, and what a nice tribute
to your work.

No greater satisfaction exists than to be blessed with a talent, to develop that talent, and then
to use the fruits of that talent to benefit others: you fulfill all those precepts.

Your old English teacher is most proud of you and what you have accomplished."
Signed - Dan Bergan, Hibbing High School English Department (Retired), ISD #701, Hibbing, MN



Living Water Music, Inc., the company Craig LiaBraaten founded and currently owns, is the parent company for a multi-faceted growing business that now includes an expanding fine arts school, a 24-track recording studio, a CD manufacturing facility, a mobile DJ service, sound and lighting equipment contracting, wedding music services, a live music entertainment agency, and licensed Kindermusik classes for children newborns to age 7. (see LiaBraaten Teaching Studios, Recording Studios, Professional DJ Service, Sound and Lighting Rental, Wedding Ceremony Music, LiaBraaten Live and Hibbing School of Music). LiaBraaten continues to generously and weekly donate his time, talent and treasure to worthwhile causes such as area nursing homes, hospitals, schools, adults with disabilities, and non-profit organizations.

WELCA Triennial National Convention Minneapolis Minnesota
Craig LiaBraaten was commissioned by WELCA
a national Lutheran Women's group
to compose two songs for their 1994 Triennial National Convention
held at the Minneapolis Convention Center
Craig had the privilege of leading worship for 10,000 women at the Convention

WELCA National Convention
"Proclaim God's Peace"

Craig LiaBraaten was commissioned by WELCA to compose original music for its Triennial National Convention. WELCA encorporated LiaBraaten's works into their nationally published worship books and hymnals, and LiaBraaten was honored to lead 10,000 Lutheran women in worship services at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  LiaBraaten's original music is featured on "Proclaim God's Peace" CD available in our Online Catalog.

$225,000 Donated to Youth

In 1996, Craig LiaBraaten performed sixteen benefit concerts over eight weeks for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the same year his students were featured in a Music Marathon for MDA. All proceeds from all these events went to MDA and Jerry's kids. And since 1994, LiaBraaten has personally donated over $225,000 in music scholarships to young musicians in Northern Minnesota to follow their dreams and produce their very own professional CDs through Living Water Music, Inc., the LiaBraaten Teaching Studios, and the Hibbing School of Music.

American Cancer Society
"Swinging Into Shape"
$30,000 Given by LiaBraaten

In addition to in-kind donations of live music entertainment, sound systems and technical expertise totaling more than $25,000 for Relays for Life at St. Cloud State University (St. Cloud, MN), University of Minnesota (Duluth, Minnesota), Hoyt Lakes Arena (Aurora, Minnesota) and Bennett Park (Hibbing, Minnesota) over the past several years, LiaBraaten was recognized as the only Silver Sponsor ($5,000 cash contribution) to the American Cancer Society in the northland in 2004.

Currently, Craig LiaBraaten is donating all proceeds from his recent big-band swing
CD entitled "Swinging Into Shape" to the American Cancer Society. Includes LiaBraaten's new band arrangements of great dance and aerobic exercise tunes like: In The Mood, Satin Doll, Mack The Knife, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, and old favorites Basin Street Blues and Sentimental Journey. 18 new arrangements of outstanding vintage dance tunes. All proceeds from "Swinging Into Shape" go to the American Cancer
Society.

Readers, to give the gift that keeps on giving to the American Cancer Society, you may now order "Swinging Into Shape" by calling toll-free 1-800-248-7225.
See
"Catalog of Music CDs For Sale "  to purchase online. Why not do so now?

A Life of Charitable Contributions and Benevolence

Born with what friends and associates call "a heart of gold", substantial gifts and charitable contributions of time, talent and treasure have also been made by LiaBraaten to the following and more:
  • MDA Music Marathon (Muscular Dystrophy Association, or "Jerry's Kids", due to Jerry Lewis' long association with this non-profit) - Benefit Concerts and Cash Donation
  • Northern Lakes Arts Association (Ely, Minnesota) - Benefit Concerts
  • Edge of the Wilderness Fine Arts Center (Bigfork, Minnesota) - Benefit Concerts and Donation of sound & lighting expertise in the design and installation of new technology in this new state-of-the-art, grass roots facility in northern Minnesota
  • Mesabi Concert Association (Hibbing, Virginia, and Ely Minnesota) - Major Co-Sponsor
  • Mississippi River Festival (Grand Rapids, Minnesota) - Major Co-Sponsor
  • Jubilee Festival (Hibbing, Minnesota) - Benefit Concerts and Major Co-Sponsor
  • Range Respite (Virginia, Minnesota) - Benefit Concert and Benefactor
  • Land of the Loon Festival (Virginia, Minnesota) - Benefit Concerts
  • St. Louis County Fair (Chisholm, Minnesota) - Benefit Concerts and Music Contests
  • United Way (Hibbing, Minnesota) - Benefit Concert
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars [VFW], POW-MIA (Hibbing, Minnesota) - Benefit Concerts
  • Girl Scouts of America (Hibbing, Minnesota) - Benefit Entertainment
  • Luskiainen Finnish Festival (Palo, Minnesota) - Benefit Entertainment
  • Adults With Disabilities (Hibbing, Minnesota) - Benefit Entertainment
  • Presbyterian Youth Group (Hibbing, Minnesota) - Benefit Entertainment
  • Rotary International (Hibbing, Minnesota) - Benefit Recording and Benefactor
  • Numerous other non-profits, charities, schools and churches in the upper Midwest, including donating his musical talents to his local church in Hibbing, Minnesota.

The Present & The Future

LiaBraaten's hero ~ his father Jerry LiaBraaten ~ recently passed away. In 2009 and 2010 LiaBraaten faced important decisions about his business and career. LiaBraaten's multi-faceted business now serves four Midwestern states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota) and employs up totwenty-four people.

But economic times on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota are not what they once were. For example, when LiaBraaten grew up in Hibbing, consider that LiaBraaten's graduating class at Hibbing High School was 550 students. Today's 2007 class is roughly 180 ~ more than two thirds of the population has moved away over the past twenty-some years.

Public schools and private schools and local community colleges in northern Minnesota continue to suffer from decreased enrollments. The mining boom ~ once the backbone of the Iron Range ~ is long over. Some experts say there is no more iron ore left to mine, only taconite (a poor grade ore which requires much more processing to extract the valued hematite). Statistics show that most young people who graduate these days from the Iron Range choose to move away, for there are substantially fewer high-paying entry level jobs generated here anymore. Inevitably, this has trickled down to the fine arts on the Iron Range.

The end result of all these changes in the local economy means that, in the next months and coming years LiaBraaten will be making important decisions regarding a possible re-location for his growing corporation, or whether perhaps "The Piano Man" may pursue other interests including touring again or other intriguing entrepreneurial or employment opportunities.

In the year 2011 we are at the cusp of some possible major developments in the Iron Mining Industry on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota. Essar Steel in Hibbing MN, Mesabi Nugget in Aurora MN, Polymet in Hoyt Lakes, and Magnetation in Nashwauk MN, together with Excelsior Energy's Mesaba Energy Project -- all these exciting recent developments during these stressful economic times seem to point the way to a potentially rejuvenated Iron Range Mining economy.

These are encouraging reports. From the surge in mining banquets that "Piano Man" LiaBraaten performed live piano music for during the 2010 holiday season, the mining companies seem to be stabilizing and giving priority to providing their employees once again with the finest musical entertainment available on the Iron Range. "The Piano Man" is eager to provide more "first class" entertainment for Iron Range companies, and thus ensuring his "musical gifts" and "giving spirit" can remain in the area.

According to LiaBraaten's memoirs, as in the past 30 years, the future seems to hold much promise for a feisty Iron Range native, a Hibbing man and an "eternal optimist" whose indomitable spirit has not yet been broken.  Not by losing all his material things in a flash flood.  Not by losing his mother, father and his best friend within a few years of each other. Not by nearly losing his life to B cell lymphoma.

Resilient and steadfast in his devotion to the Iron Range ~ "The Piano Man"LiaBraaten ~ undoubtedly one of  the hardest working musicians in the Midwest ~ will continue his musical journey ~ note by note, measure by measure, day by day.  If you haven't been fortunate to have met him yet, hopefully one day his path will cross with yours. In that case, as millions who have crossed paths with his enduring & indomitable spirit will attest, you will be truly blessed to come to know a genuine human being whose compassion and caring for his fellow man exceeds these simple words written here.

Those who know him privately and who contributed to this report relate that he consistently walks the walk and does so as humbly and sacrificially as a man can, always putting the needs of others first. LiaBraaten strives daily, as his recent memoir attests, "to put God first and to focus on others in all that I do".

Indeed, LiaBraaten - Hibbing's native son - has been giving a lot more than music lessons for 27 years now.

 

LiaBraaten's motto since high school says it all: "The best teacher is a good example"

LiaBraaten: A World-class musician whose roots ~ and now his livelihood ~ are presently based on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. 

Contact Craig LiaBraaten



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