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Wingers whirl again

Red Wing High School graduate, now Fargo-based news anchor Stephanie Goetz will emcee Winger Whirl Saturday Nov. 9 at the Sheldon Theatre.

Once upon time, Red Wing’s high school was nestled downtown. Like many high schools, traditions ruled the school - from donkey basketball to the annual Winger Whirl. 

Next week, a resurrection of sorts takes place at the Sheldon Theatre, uniting Red Wing High School alumni and present-day students … all in the name of charity.

Winger Whirl is a communitywide talent show, inspired by Red Wing’s original talent shows of the 1970s and ’80s. The event — emceed by 2003 graduate Stephanie Goetz - features local talent, daring feats of humorous diversions, plus music, Becky Poss said.

"I'm thrilled and honored to be emceeing this exciting event. I have been given so much through the arts program in Red Wing — growing up doing theater and choir here truly gave me the skills I use every day as a news anchor, performing in front of thousands every night,” Goetz said. “I would not be the broadcaster I am today without people like Sean Dowse and Mikkel Garnder fostering my talents from a young age. I'm grateful to give back to the program that's given me so much. Here's to an incredible and successful night."

The event, presented by the Red Wing Public Schools Foundation, kicks off with a pre-party at 5:45 p.m. Saturday Nov. 9. The show begins at 7 p.m.

“We wanted to do something different,” Poss, a RWPSF board member, explained.

The RWPSF’s goal is to generate awareness and donations to enhance the schools. Money donated by community members, parents and alumni is targeted to specific classroom projects and experiences as well as grade-wide programming and materials. Typically, their events include dinners and silent auctions.

The idea of a fundraising show evolved into talent show with alumni who would come back and perform, she said.

“As a group we said, let’s resurrect the name Winger Whirl - some people will remember.”

Coming home

"There are a number of acts that feature stars of past high school musicals - going 40 years back, a magician, jazz pianist and other music acts,” RWPSF board member Susan Ketcham said.

As the idea came together, so did the talent.

“Alum were excited about coming back to perform, especially since the show is a fundraiser for their school,” Ketcham said.

The response was overwhelmingly positive, Poss said. “So many said yes.” 

Performers include: Jenny Borgen Barringer, Andrew Nelson, Bev Voth Hannon, Susan Kinyon, Ben Dulak, Anne Richardson, Kristoffer Olson, Kale Bagly Olson Reed, Joe Fricke, the Phil Hanson Trio, Megan Fricke Dimich, Tony Larson, Annie Ketcham, Bob Behrens, Seana Johnson, Margaret Foot Reid, Burnside Singers, Seb's Medicine, Red Wing High School Ovation, Jazz Lab 1 and "Dancing with the Stars featuring Kendall Mark, Karsten Anderson, and Chris Palmatier.

Alumni also have donated more than 30 art pieces to be auctioned off during the evening. All proceeds go to RWPSF.

The donated art ranges from photography to sculpture and is on display at the Red Wing Arts Association. Art will be moved to the Sheldon’s mezzanine for event.

“It should be a highly entertaining evening,” Ketcham said. “We truly hope to sell out the house.”

She went on to say RWPSF members hope the tradition continues. In fact, there already are performers lined up for next year’s show.

“We hope that every person who attends the event will go out and spread the word about what we do,” Ketcham added.

Tickets for the show only are $25; and $40 for the show and pre-party. They can be purchased at the Sheldon Theatre Box Office or by calling 651-388-8700. 

The pre-party includes appetizers and refreshments.    

At a glance ...

What: The Red Wing Public School Foundation presents “Winger Whirl”

When: 5:45 p.m. pre-party, 7 p.m. show,

Where: Sheldon Theatre, 443 W. Third St.

Cost: $25 show only, $40 pre-party and show

More info: 651-388-8700 or 800-899-5759, or 

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

(651) 301-7880