Music with Minnesotans: Steve Schon

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
April 11, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. — Steve Schon is the "boat guy" at Piragis Northwoods Company in Ely. He gets folks set up with the right paddle, the most comfy canoe and the full set of camping gear they'll need on a Boundary Waters expedition. And he likes to get out there as often as he can himself.

Steve came to retail by way of singing, music therapy and later the natural sciences. He is jovial, knowledgeable and loves classical music.

While I'm all set with my kayak, paddle and gear, Steve and I spoke about our favorite pieces, especially the ones we carry in our heads while paddling.

Steve also shared with me a book by the outdoor writer and conservationist Sigurd Olson, "The Singing Wilderness." While I had not read this ground-breaking book at the time we chatted, I have since read it and I am so thrilled to find someone who describes in such loving detail those sounds in nature that penetrate our souls as deeply as great music can.

Steve tells me that he is in agreement with Sig in that to have a fulfilled life we must have some natural beauty in it.

"This is true whether we take a yearly canoe trip to the Boundary Waters or a nightly walk with the dog under the stars, we benefit from a connectedness with nature. It's a big reason why so many of us choose to live in this area and why thousands of folks visit each year."

In addition to the outdoors, Steve says music is just as valuable to him and I'm thrilled to share his playlist that just music bring to mind a connectedness with the outdoors, or the rhythm of paddling or the freshness of the North Woods air.


Steve's playlist:

W. A. Mozart, Clarinet Concerto - Sabine Meyer/Staatskapelle Dresden

Antonin Dvorak, Largo from Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" - Philadelphia Orchestra/Wolfgang Swallisch

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Fantastia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis- Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Neville Marriner


Check out more from Music with Minnesotans:

Linda Z. Andrews, Ann Bancroft, Charles Baxter, Philip Brunelle, Mayor Chris Coleman, Michael Pearce Donley, Joe Dowling, Dr. Victoria Elmer, Gwen Freed, Nancy Gibson, William Gurstelle, Karen Hansen, Steve Heitzeg, Stuart Loughridge, Allan Naplan, Stephen Paulus, Chris Polydoroff, Consie Powell, Lois Quam, Mayor RT Rybak, Nick Schneider, General Larry Shellito, The Reverend Spenser Simrell, Ann Swenson, Dale Warland, and Matt Wehling.


Next week, Minnesota House Minority Leader Paul Thissen shares his playlist. He listens to Copland to soothe his frazzled nerves and Shostakovich to prepare for a tough day.

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