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Demetria Mosley, Published August 02 2012

From pastry shop to PBS: Fargo group created from scratch

FARGO- A few Fargo women met at a local pastry shop three years ago and created a recipe for sweet, tasteful music. Abby Swegarden, 25, Minda Ringdahl, 27, and Amanda Nygard, 28, were working at Nichole’s Fine Pastry on 8th Street in Fargo when they decided to turn their musical creation into a band; they call themselves Amanda Standalone and the Pastry Shop Girls.

“We make the type of music that you can go and tell your grandma about,” Ringdahl said. “We make music that feels like having a good time around the piano with people you care about.”

To get a taste of Amanda Standalone and The Pastry Shop Girls, Wwatch tonight’s episode of “Prairie Musicians” at 9 p.m. on PBS, Channel 13 in Fargo-Moorhead.

The girls admitted they don’t have good promoting skills and forget to tell people they have upcoming shows, but this doesn’t bother them

“We aren’t really worried about if we are popular or if people are going to be there,” Nygard said. “It’s more so about having fun performing.”

Despite their lack of promotion, the girls have managed to generate a fan base that is mostly made up of “middle aged women and old-timers,” they said.

“We are probably the only band that plays our best material first. We know by the end of the night (the) majority of the crowd is going home because it’s their bed time,” Ringdahl said.

During their performances, they play a mixture of their music, written by Nygard, and covers of old songs with no traceable owners. People at their shows have started making requests to hear certain songs.

“It’s nice to know that people are really listening to our music,” said Nygard.

They released an eight-track album last year titled “Millions of Blackbirds” that consists of original music. It took about a year to complete.

“It was a natural fit when we started singing together,” Swegarden said. “We all have similar interests in music and we all bring that to the table. When we recorded the album it really helped solidify our three-part harmony.”

To capture their sound, the girls use instruments like the fiddle, tambourine, banjo and guitar. Their music is a blend of Americana and Folk.

“It wasn’t like we were trying to sound like this group or that. People always tell us we sound like so and so, but it’s just a coincidence,” Nygard said.

Swegarden and Ringdahl don’t have plans to top the music charts or travel the world. They completely do it all just for fun.

“This is purely a release from my busy daily life. If this ever became stressful and left me unhappy, I wouldn’t do it anymore,” Swegarden said.

Nygard, however, wants to become a full-time musician.

“I would do anything to be out on the road touring and singing music,” she said.

If you watch

What: Prairie Musicians featuring Amanda Standalone and the Pastry Shop Girls

When: 9 tonight

Channel: PBS, Channel 13 in Fargo-Moorhead


Readers can reach Forum reporter Demetria Mosley at (701) 451-5655