Dre' MonsonName/Occupation:
Andre’a (un-DREY-uh)… or Dre’ (Drey), Monson. I play/work at a Preschool

Hometown/Family:
I was born in Duluth, moved to McGregor for high school with my mom and step-dad (Brenda and Tom,) then moved back. My dad and step-mom (Mike and Kim of The Fish Heads band are here in town.) I now live with my boyfriend (Jason) in Hermantown. We share our house with two bearded dragons (Jake and Sobe,) and a green cheek conure (Pablo.)

How did you get involved with Homegrown?:
I knew a band playing in it and had heard a lot of people talking about it. Eventually, I volunteered on a night a band I recognized, was playing. I was nervous, but had fun, so I volunteered a bit more the next year… and so on.

In what areas have you volunteered?:
It went from knowing a band playing in it, volunteering at venues they played at, flier hanging, and then venue managing multiple nights during Homegrown. This year I am super excited to be organizing an afternoon of interactive music and dance for children, with some other ongoing fun activities thrown in there.

If you could pluck five performers from any act to start a new band, who would you pluck?:
All of them are locals and in no particular order:

Mike Monson- guitar/vocals/bass/mandolin/drums/etc.
Aimie Tischer- guitar/banjo-uke/keys/vocals.

Ted Heinonen- mandolin
Jim Wiita-guitar/harmonica/vocals.
Kathy McTavish- cello

I’d have each pick two songs to create their set list, then sit back and watch the creative ensuing madness that is composing and winging-it.

What has been your favorite Homegrown so far?:
2015! I was able to see my cousins’ band (Lay Low & Bender) play at Sir Ben’s, ‘saw The Chicken again, and the positive energy throughout Duluth that whole week was awesome.

Words of Advice for new spring chickens looking to get their feathers wet in volunteering:
Do it! Questions are welcome and people are happy to answer, don’t be shy. While you are volunteering, you are a part of making Homegrown a positive experience for everyone. Start by choosing a venue with a style of music you enjoy. Volunteer with a friend. You’ll feed off of each others’ positive energy.

Learn the other volunteers and venue employee names.

Read up on the bands performing when you are volunteering. (I cut out the band descriptions, paste them over colorful card stock for durability and a colorful border and place them on the table in front of me. It gives people a choice on engaging volunteers for info, or reading without searching through the Homegrown magazine.)

If you are on a Trolley night, learn the schedule and timing from where you are. It is a very common question. Have multiple copies of the schedule in the magazine marked and ready to hand out.

Have fun with it. Happiness is contagious.