You enter the arena and find your seat, just as the lights begin to dim. On the large screen above you, hanging precariously from the ceiling for all to see, are fast-moving images. You feel the game-time music pumping through the air and soon you hear the names of the players booming from an echoing voice. The lights glimmer, the team enters and the crowd cheers.
If you’ve been to a Minnesota Timberwolves game recently, you’ve experienced the entertaining magic of Chad Folkestad ’03. He’s been entertaining for years, but most of time it’s behind the scenes.
As manager of game day presentation for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Folkestad oversees the entire entertainment experience audiences will encounter once they enter the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. That includes determining what the announcers say, the music to get the crowd going and when the mascot should be shooting T-shirts out of a cannon.
His role in many Northwestern productions led him down this path. "I was going to be a music teacher the whole time I was at Northwestern," admitted Folkestad, "but this kind of fell in my lap."
Folkestad, along with several buddies, including Tim Kephart ’03 and Jake Franzcyk ’03, masterminded memorable Northwestern variety shows. He had his hands in everything from lighting, to writing and editing video skits, to selecting what songs to play—all to keep the audience on the edge of their Maranatha Hall seats.
He also worked from beginning to end to bring national recording pair Storyhill to the stage at Northwestern, in front of a packed crowd.
"This wasn’t stuff that I was taught in a classroom but stuff I learned from people at Northwestern throughout the years," said Folkestad.
So with his resumé filled with entertaining others, Folkestad took a shot at a job with the Wolves, and scored. "I truly believe that God led me to where I’m at today," he said. "I just love to create things that I envision and if they end up entertaining people besides myself then that’s great," he said.
And he’s doing just that, entertaining thousands of fans each night when the Timberwolves hit the floor, and creating experiences to make the crowd roar.
Written by Karna Bergstrom ‘02. Karna works at WCCO television in Minneapolis as a Web producer and has received several journalism awards for WCCO.com, including one for in-depth coverage of the 35W bridge collapse.