Lorie Line is polishing the ivories of her all-white, custom-made Yamaha piano in preparation for her spring-summer concert tour, and guess what?
The tour, which opens April 19 in Whitewater, Wis., includes a stop in Brainerd and Grand Rapids in late August.
But fans of "America's best-selling female piano star" better drop what they're doing and pick up the phone.
Tickets went on sale today, and if past experience is any indication, they won't last long, despite the $37 price tag.
Lorie Line is known for the stunning costumes she wears while performing.
Line and her 14-member Pop Chamber Orchestra will perform Aug. 24 at Tornstrom Auditorium, Washington Middle School, Brainerd, and the night before in Grand Rapid's Reif Performing Arts Center, as part of her 21-city warm-weather tour.
Tickets are available at Ticket Works by calling 888-765-0966. Kids 15 and under will be admitted for $27.
Best known for her dazzling Christmas holiday concerts, Line said in an interview this week she'll "be rolling out the red carpet" for her legions of fans in April, May and August.
Her fans know what that means: stunning costumes, Broadway-style showmanship, extravagant lighting and special effects, and a musical performance as bountiful as the millions of CDs she's sold over the past decade.
The spring-summer tour, in fact, will feature her original compositions on her latest release, "Just Me," one of 16 albums marketed by Lorie Line Music, her own Twin Cities-based label.
Line has come a long way since her days in the late 1980s as a pianist for Dayton-Hudson department stores.
Consider this: Since 1989, Lorie Line Music has grown into the second-largest artist-owned label in America, passing every independent record company except Mannheim Steamroller.
She has emerged as a best-selling Billboard artist and is the only female pianist to sustain a position on the New Age music charts for the past four years.
Line has been called the "diva of piano music ... with the flamboyance of a G-rated Prince, the sincerity of Amy Grant, the showmanship of Garth Brooks, and the style of Shania Twain."
And she and husband Tim have built their company, Time Line Productions, Inc., into a $4 million-a-year recording and touring music powerhouse.
But she isn't satisfied yet, not by a long shot.
"My story has never been told nationally," she said, despite a PBS television special a few years back, appearances on CNN, ABC News, "All Things Considered" and a packet of newspaper clippings as broad as the country itself.
"I've never been invited to any of the really great talk shows," she said, adding her music "is too nice, too American-dreamy and I never do anything controversial."
But she's built an eye for fashion and design, a flair for marketing and showmanship, and a finely tuned ear for music into a thunderstorm of entertainment for Middle America, where she thrives as a New Age and easy listening artist.
"The spring tour is designed for us to get out there and find new fans, to plant the seeds for the fall harvest," which accelerates interest in her holiday tour at the end of the year, she said.
Line bristles at the New Age label, saying it fails to capture the eclectic nature of her music, to say nothing of expand her marketability.
"New Age is a threatening label to some because it appears to have something to do with faith values ... and it doesn't get attention in the retail world," Line said.
"I would love to be moved over into the pop category, which would be perfect for my Middle America audiences," she said. "But I just want to be sure it's just good, solid music."
Besides, Line and her orchestra -- 14 of the best Minnesota musicians available -- play a "very eclectic" brand of music, from pop to Latin dance to rock and roll to gospel.
Her concerts, scaled back slightly from the holiday extravaganzas, feature solos from many in the orchestra, as well as from vocalist Robert Robinson, known in the Twin Cities as the "Pavarotti of gospel."
Line and husband Tim, who directs the tours and handles the logistics and much of the marketing chores, manage their business from offices in Wayzata and from their Lake Minnetonka home.
The couple has two children -- a daughter 11 and a son 7 -- who perform from time to time in the holiday shows.
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