Trailblazers 2017: Emma Deaner of Superior Siren

Emma Deaner playing the drums with her band Superior Siren at First Avenue in 2016 // Photo by Thomas Osmonson

Emma Deaner playing the drums with her band Superior Siren at First Avenue in 2016 // Photo by Thomas Osmonson

“I’ll always remember escorting Haley from the gardener’s cottage to the pier right before her set,” says Emma Deaner, associate events manager at Glensheen. “We were walking down the path and she’s like, ‘I always dreamed of working here.’ Me too!”

Bringing music to Glensheen is just one of the many dreams Deaner is living. There are plenty of sparks giving light to Duluth’s thriving music scene, but at just about every turn, this northwoods native is found offering fresh ideas, making new connections, and keeping the beat as drummer with Superior Siren.

Even before starting school at University of Minnesota, Duluth, says Deaner, she knew she wanted to get involved in the community radio station KUMD. After graduating in 2013, she went to work for the station as community outreach director. By the time she jumped to her current position last year, she and Glensheen director Dan Hartman had a plan to spotlight much more music at the historic estate.

“I’ve produced a number of concerts,” Deaner explains, “like Concerts on the Pier, which is our summer concert series in July which features Minnesota music on a pier that extends from a boathouse. I think it’s the coolest outdoor venue in Minnesota.”

It’s going to be a busy year for Deaner: She’s involved with a TBA project at the soon-to-reopen NorShor Theatre, and Superior Siren are launching their new album with a series of shows in January. What’s more, Deaner’s joining the Minnesota Music Coalition board of directors with the hope to “help bridge the gap between the metro and the North Shore.”

Asked to describe Duluth’s music scene, Deaner says, “It’s always been this underground culture. I think now more than ever, people have discovered it. They’ve realized how eclectic it is—like the people who live here.”


Trailblazers are the people, ideas, businesses, and organizations doing necessary, important, and groundbreaking work in the realms of food, drink, and culture. See the rest of The Growler’s 2017 Trailblazers here.