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NCPR News Staff: Todd Moe

Morning Host and Producer
A native of rural Minnesota, Todd Moe grew up on a farm not far from mythical Lake Wobegon. He attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN; studied Speech/Theatre and Norwegian, and began his radio career as a student announcer at WCAL (2002 marks its 80th anniversary!).

Moe sings in the Potsdam Community Chorus, and hobbies include food, gardening, history and tango! He was a newscaster and reporter for Minnesota Public Radio for eight years. A favorite memory from that job was interviewing Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann. Moe and his partner, Paul Siskind, moved to the North Country in 1998. Siskind teaches at the Crane School of Music. E-mail

Stories filed by Todd Moe

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Viva, Viva! "Seascapes Landscapes East to West" at the Thousand Islands Arts Center, Clayton, through August 29.
Viva, Viva! "Seascapes Landscapes East to West" at the Thousand Islands Arts Center, Clayton, through August 29.

Preview: art of Viva Hoffman in Clayton

Actress, writer and artist Viva Hoffman has lived in New York City, Paris, California and along the St. Lawrence River. A new exhibit of her paintings, "Landscapes, Seascapes. East to West," opens at the Thousand Islands Art Center in Clayton on Thursday night. The show includes some of her favorite scenes along the St. Lawrence and wild areas near Palm Springs, California.

Viva Hoffman was one of the superstars in Andy Warhol's art house films of the late 1960s. Today, she lives and paints in California and spoke with Todd Moe about her new exhibit, and a love for what she calls "fields of color" and painting yellow poppies at Point Dume Wildlife Refuge.  Go to full article

Preview: "Susannah" at Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake

The Seagle Music Colony's summer season continues with a production of one of the most performed American operas, Susannah. The show opens in Schroon Lake on Wednesday night. It first premiered in 1955 and the opera's music borrows heavily from Appalachian folk melodies and hymn tunes.

Todd Moe spoke with Seagle Music Colony artistic director Darren Woods, who says even though the opera was written nearly 60 years ago, it's message is still relevant today.  Go to full article
Helen Condon's home, the "Grange," on Main Street in Parishville will be open for tours from 2-4pm on Saturday. Photo:  Todd Moe
Helen Condon's home, the "Grange," on Main Street in Parishville will be open for tours from 2-4pm on Saturday. Photo: Todd Moe

Parishville celebrates bicentennial this weekend

Food, music, horse drawn wagon rides and historic house tours are all part of Parishville's bicentennial celebration this weekend.

You can tour a replica of the cabin of the first white settler, Luke Brown, on Saturday morning 9-11 am. The 1860s Grange Hall on Parishville's Main Street, owned by artist Helen Condon, will be open for tours on Saturday afternoon 2-4pm.

Todd Moe stopped by Condon's home this week for a visit. Known for her braided wool rugs, the Grange is her home and work studio. It's also just a stone's throw from one of her favorite spots in town, the historic foot bridge across "The Gorge" on the West Branch of the St. Regis River.

Once the location of water-powered mills and factories, it's a popular swimming spot today. Helen Condon told Todd that the Gorge is a "must see" landmark to visit during the bicentennial weekend.  Go to full article
Diane Leifheit sketches Sarah Clarkin at Compass Printing in Saranac Lake. Photo:  Todd Moe
Diane Leifheit sketches Sarah Clarkin at Compass Printing in Saranac Lake. Photo: Todd Moe

Artist, easel, pastels and lots of faces in Saranac Lake

Adirondack artist Diane Leifheit is spending a lot of time this year getting to know her neighbors in Saranac Lake. She's been drawing their portraits and talking with local folks as part of her "Face to Face: Drawn to Saranac Lake" project.

Diane Leifheit usually likes to be outdoors, "plein air," but these days you'll find her with easel and pastel sticks at Compass Printing on Main Street in Saranac Lake -- her portrait studio for the project. That's where Todd Moe caught up with her as she waited for her next portrait "sitter." Leifheit told Todd that there's nothing as marvelous as the medium of pastel for painting on location.  Go to full article
Janet Marie Yeates of Northville, NY at the 2013 Morristown Plein Air event.  Photo: Morristown Public Library
Janet Marie Yeates of Northville, NY at the 2013 Morristown Plein Air event. Photo: Morristown Public Library

Morristown Library invites artists to "plein air" event

The Morristown Public Library is inviting artists to its annual Plein Air Festival next week. Plein air means "in the open air" and is a popular summer event around the region.

Morristown is the birthplace and inspiration of artist Charles Chapman. Library director Bridget Whalen-Nevin is hoping artists and art lovers will follow in his footsteps from July 31st to August 3rd in and around Morristown.  Go to full article
Parmalee Tolkan kneels near a hand-painted scenic backdrop in her studio in the basement of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.  She's been living in the Adirondacks and creating costumes for Broadway shows for more than 30 years.  Photo:  Todd Moe
Parmalee Tolkan kneels near a hand-painted scenic backdrop in her studio in the basement of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. She's been living in the Adirondacks and creating costumes for Broadway shows for more than 30 years. Photo: Todd Moe

Broadway magic created in a Lake Placid artist's studio

Hours from the lights of Broadway, an Adirondack artist has made a career of creating costumes for some of the city's biggest shows.

For more than 30 years, Parmalee Tolkan has been painting costumes and scenery for the theater, working with some of the greatest designers and scenic artists on Broadway. Scenic arts and colorful costumes from a studio in one of the most scenic parts of the country.

Parmalee Tolkan works in a quiet space in the lower level of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Email, social media and FedEx allow her to create costumes in the Adirondacks that will end up on stage in New York City.

A member of the United Scenic Artists Union, she's also painted murals for venues like the Northwoods Inn and the Adirondack Carousel, but Parmalee told Todd Moe that she prefers the collaborative process of theater over the life of a solitary artist.  Go to full article
The series of original clam shell doorways at the South Boathouse at Singer Castle.  Photo:  Todd Moe
The series of original clam shell doorways at the South Boathouse at Singer Castle. Photo: Todd Moe

Soundscape: the closest thing to a drawbridge at Singer Castle

During a visit to Singer Castle on the St. Lawrence River this week, Todd Moe got a chance to explore some of the rooms, towers and secret passageways in the century-old stone structure on Dark Island. It was built as a private retreat for the Bourne family during the Gilded Age. Today, it's open to the public for tours, weddings and overnight stays.

Tom Weldon, president of Dark Island Tours, which manages the castle, was eager to explain some of its features, including a set of clam shell doors at the main visitors' entrance. Original doors that consist of two panels that open vertically. Vintage doors with a vintage sound...  Go to full article
"The Wind in the Islands" book launch is set for Wednesday, July 23rd from 5-7 pm at Cornwall Brothers Museum in Alexandria Bay.
"The Wind in the Islands" book launch is set for Wednesday, July 23rd from 5-7 pm at Cornwall Brothers Museum in Alexandria Bay.

Preview: "The Wind in the Islands" a new take on a classic children's novel

Generations of children have roamed the English countryside in the company of Rat, Mole, Toad, and Badger -- immortal animal pals in Kenneth Grahame's classic novel, The Wind in the Willows.

A Thousand Islands artist has created a North Country version of the book. Scott Ouderkirk grew up spending summers along the St. Lawrence River and has a hobby farm and studio near Hammond.

In his new adaptation, titled The Wind in the Islands, Mole and Rat have new adventures on the St. Lawrence in the Thousand Islands, with visits to familiar landmarks and historical river residents.  Go to full article
Mark Valley
Mark Valley

Hollywood star returns to his Ogdensburg roots for Founder's Weekend

Hollywood actor Mark Valley returns to his hometown this Saturday and Sunday for Founder's Weekend, Ogdensburg's French and Indian War re-enactment and colonial trade fair on the site of Fort La Presentation on Lighthouse Point. Valley is vice president of the Fort La Presentation Association, and an active supporter of the association's efforts to reconstruct the fort.

NCPR is media sponsor for the weekend, which commemorates Ogdensburg's French colonial history from the founding of the fort in 1749, to the 1760 Battle of the Thousand Islands fought on the St. Lawrence.

Land and water battles by re-enactors from the U.S. and Canada will be featured in the Saturday and Sunday program. The 18th-century style armed schooner La Revenante will join the fray on the water and be open to deck tours for Founder's Day visitors.

Mark Valley is a graduate of West Point, a former military service member and is active with several veterans advocacy groups. He told Todd Moe that he's also interested in the history of the North Country and the St. Lawrence River.  Go to full article

Preview: Harper Martha Gallagher "Coming Home" with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta on Sunday

Harpist Martha Gallagher has spent years on the road sharing her brand of harp music nationally and internationally. This year, she's staying closer to her home in Keene. She's calling her 2014 concert series, "Home in the Adirondacks".

Martha Gallagher shares the stage with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta this Sunday night to showcase her unique "orphan" harp and present the world premiere of a new work for harp and orchestra. Martha shares the story with Todd Moe of her custom built harp made of "orphaned" wood, and creating new music this summer. She says the last time she performed with the Sinfonietta was in 2005.  Go to full article

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