Friday, June 17, 2011

Tonight is my last official night of being Miss Minnesota. All week long I have been asked "How do you feel?" My response, "it depends on the hour!" One hour I feel strong and excited for the next Miss Minnesota and the journey she is about to embark on, and the next I feel so sad because I don't want it to end!

This week of competition for the contestants has been truly incredible. This group of ladies is outstanding and so sweet! I am so proud of each representative and how well they have all done so far. This has been a group that has really come together helping one another with hair and make-up, but also with really connecting through heartfelt conversations.

I just cannot believe it has been a year since I competed for Miss Minnesota 2010! My year flew by! As Miss Minnesota, I have accomplished so many of my goals and I truly hope I have made you proud as your representative. I wanted to give you a bit of insight into the paperwork I submitted last year when competing, which asked the question about the legacy I wished to leave if chosen as Miss Minnesota 2010. I wrote,

"Every one of us is unique and bears an intangible quality and unmatched story that has the potential to inspire a multitude. Through the confidence and strength I’ve gained from my service work for the MAO and countless Inspiring Americans, I’ve learned to use both my gifts and my life challenges to benefit others. As Miss Minnesota 2010, I hope I’m remembered for inspiring others to look beyond seemingly impossible circumstances to build inner strength to stand strong with hope and purpose. To establish such a powerful network of inspiration would be a great legacy to pass on."

Throughout this year with my Night of Inspiration Concerts, fundraising for CMNH, school visits, and media interviews, I have met countless inspiring individuals. It was those people and their inspiring stories, as well as my God-given gift of music, that fueled me to continue working diligently to hopefully inspire others. I cannot express in words how grateful and thankful I am for this experience, for this chance to make a difference and for the love and support of so many. You reading this, supporting me, means the world to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I will never forget what one of the State Board Members said to the 2010 contestants last year. The judges aren't picking a winner out of a group of representatives, but a representative out of a group of winners. I wish the next Miss Minnesota the absolute best and encourage her to remember the 3 G's: be Gracious, be Genuine, and be a Gift to others. Thank you for being my gift this year.

God bless you all,
Kathryn Knuttila
Miss Minnesota 2010

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The countdown has begun...

Hello Friends!

I really can’t believe how the time is flying! There is so much to update with only two weeks left before Miss Minnesota week! I can just feel the excitement from the local titleholders and friends and remember all too well the same feeling only a year ago! Now, my excitement is the anticipation for their experience at Miss Minnesota and for how truly amazing my year has been as Miss Minnesota.

First of all, the last Night of Inspiration Concert was amazing!! Thank you so much to the former Miss Minnesota’s who participated; it was great to have you all there! For those of you who couldn’t make it, we had many amazing former Miss Minnesota’s come back including Miss Minnesota 1968! Our state has always been known to have talented titleholders, so I can’t say enough about how great the talents were. Moreover, hearing each Miss Minnesota share about who has inspired her and what her year was like offered all of us great insight into the history and growth of the program. Through this successful endeavor, we raised some money to help support the next Miss Minnesota while also sparking a vision to hopefully include this event in the program for years to come.

I haven’t traveled as much in the past month so it was great to able to travel to Canby, MN to visit our water bottle sponsor, “Water Billboards,” and to visit their elementary, middle, and high schools. Visiting Water Billboards was so cool; it was fascinating to see how they make the eco friendly water bottles. They literally are made from a tiny little tube and then blown up to any size water bottle. They also have a great marketing tool of creating your own private label on the water bottles. It’s a great idea for graduations, weddings, and pageant weeks. Plus, they sell other great items that are all eco friendly. Visit to see for yourself!

On the personal side of my life, I am back in school for the summer semester. Things have been a bit more hectic, but it feels great to be back! I thought I would be a bit rusty, but I picked right back up by composing orchestral music, and, I must say, I love it! Also, my piano students had their end of the year recital this past weekend, and I am so incredibly proud of them. It has been a commitment on my end and my piano families to be flexible with my busy schedule (since it is 3 1/2 hours away from where I live in St. Paul!) I feel so blessed that I have been able to use my gift of teaching to have my own private piano studio. Although, as much as I love performing, I really loved taking a back seat and watching my students perform. Seeing all their hard work this past year pay off was so rewarding!

As my appearances draw to end during this final month of my reign, I find myself saying “This is my last school visit” or “This is my last visit to a place I’ve never been as Miss MN,” but I know my life will be full of adventure so that keeps me optimistic! I am afraid to say that my next blog may be my last as Miss Minnesota 2010. I have such mixed emotions of giving up this amazing title. Thank you to my readers and supporters; you are such a blessing to me!

Kathryn Knuttila
Miss Minnesota 2010

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Busy as a Bee"

"It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised; the mosquito is swatted." ~ Marie O'Conner

I think I just had the busiest weekend I have ever had as Miss Minnesota so far! It started off with a Night of Inspiration on Friday night in Brainerd, which was a tremendous concert! There were several moments in the night where I’m certain there was not a dry eye in the house! Since all of these concerts are a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, I just have to share how Parker, a Gillette patient, inspired all of us! His mom, who shared his incredible story, told how Parker was born very prematurely and only weighed a pound. He was diagnosed in early life with cerebral palsy and was told he would never be able to walk. Parker told us how he is graduating from 6th grade this year and said by next year he wants to be able to walk. He has been doing intense therapy on his own at home with the help of his mother and grandmother, and was able to demonstrate for all of us on stage how his persistence has enabled him to take two or three steps with a cane! His determination and indomitable spirit are truly inspiring! His story will along with others from the concert will be up on very soon. I will let you know when to check it out!

After the concert, I drove to St. Paul to sleep for a few hours so that I could do an appearance at the Tracie Joy McBride Scholarship Fundraiser on Saturday morning. As the two-time recipient of scholarships provided by the TJM Fund (including the Quality of Life award in 2010 and the Talent Award in 2007), it was important for me to share with the donors how much the scholarship benefits young ladies like myself and how much the quality of life award, in particular, meant to me. It was a true honor to know that I was chosen as a woman who represents the values and ideals that characterized Tracie, being a woman of integrity with strong morals and values, before her life was tragically taken. This honorary scholarship is such a blessing and a wonderful way to always remember and pay tribute to Tracie. To learn more about the Tracie Joy McBride Scholarship Fund and how you can donate, check out

After the scholarship fundraiser, I drove to the Duluth area to attend the “Bridesmaid Ball” in Superior, WI to help fundraise for Gillette. There were several families there from the Duluth area, which go to Gillette Hospital. I met a little girl named Emma who, like Parker, was also told she would have difficulties walking/running. Thanks to the incredible care at Gillette, she is signed up for dance lessons next year and was running all over the place…she clearly had no problem getting around! This event was a blast because I got to judge the Bridesmaid dresses in categories like “Most like a Disney princess, Blast from the Past, Judges choice,” etc…as you can imagine, there were a variety of dresses! Plus, what an awesome opportunity for women to actually re-use those bridesmaid dresses, unlike the movie 27 Dresses!
After the event was over, I hopped back in my car to head over to my hometown, Detroit Lakes, where I had just a few hours to sleep and then was up early to do morning mass. This coming week is Holy Week in the Catholic Church, so as a music director it is A LOT of music to plan and prepare. Needless to say, I needed to have another rehearsal with my choir!

From Detroit Lakes, I headed back to the Twin Cities where I performed at the Celebrate RISE! Organization. Rise is committed to helping people with significant disabilities and other barriers to obtain jobs or living arrangements. I performed my original music for about an hour while over 500 people were registering and getting settled. This organization is incredible, which was evidenced by some of the remarkable stories of people involved who are deemed their ‘Rising Stars!’ Check out their website for more information on what they offer to the disabled.

To end the weekend, I judged a talent show at Hudson High School. I was a ‘celebrity judge,’ which I must say was quite fun to be the “judger” twice this weekend rather than the “judged.” It feels really good to be on the other side of that now!

It is no understatement to say this weekend was jam-packed with inspiration! I wish you all a blessed Easter with hopes that you will be together with your families. I am so excited that my whole family is getting together, which means I get to spend time with my niece and nephews! I love being an Aunt; it is one of the best jobs…next to being a mother, I assume!

Happy Easter!!
Kathryn Knuttila
Miss Minnesota 2010

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Long Awaited Spring Brings Excitement!

Spring is here... and with spring comes Miss Minnesota workshop, which was this past Saturday. While I previously met all the contestants when they won their respective pageant, having them all together was really amazing. It is truly a fantastic group of women who speak so well! I really can’t wait for Miss MN week...I remember having so many awesome memories from my years of competing and now it is exciting to be on the other side of it all!

This weekend also brought the Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen Pageant. The young ladies competing did so well! Special congrats to the 2nd runner-up, Brianna, and 1st runner up, Bailey, both of whom I know personally! Claire, the interview winner, is from my home-town, so I was proud of her too. And, many congratulations to the new Outstanding Teen, Alexis Houlle, and now my 'little sister' for the last few months I have left! I have some great memories with Kat, the former Miss Outstanding Teen, so congrats to her on a great year.

I grew up in Detroit Lakes and went to Holy Rosary School from Kindergarten - 8th grade. One of my favorite teachers at the school asked me to write them a school song--not like a "rah rah, fight fight" type chant/song, but more of a song that encompasses what the school stands for like its faith. This is a song that will be performed at special events such as the 8th grade graduation. What an amazing honor it was to be asked to do that!! I knew it would be a great experience for me so I wrote it before Miss America and finally had the opportunity to teach it to a very cute and energized school of students last week. Once I get a recording of the kids singing it, I will certainly share it with you; they will, no doubt, sing it much better than I can!

On Wednesday last week, I went to one of my favorite places: Dairy Queen! They had their kick-off fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. I gave up ice cream for lent so that was REALLY HARD for me to refrain from indulging (what was I thinking knowing I would be spending a day at Dairy Queen…I suppose that is all the more reason to give it up-a true sacrifice!)...anyways, I am looking forward to Miracle Treat Day when I can eat for an excellent cause! It is appearances like this that make me so happy about the Miss America and CMNH partnership. It perfectly ties together the service component of our Organization, and continually makes me so grateful to be able to help out in big ways or small for such an incredible organization.

Next up, another "Night of Inspiration"Concert in just a week! I have not hosted one since December, so I’m very excited! This one is on Friday April 15th at 7pm at the Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd, MN. I only have two concerts left this year, so please join us so you have an even greater understanding of the mission and vision I have devoted my year to. It is going to be a great night of talent and inspirational stories!
Hope to see you there!
Kathryn Knuttila
Miss Minnesota 2010

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where does the time go?

I can’t believe how the time is flying! March has pretty much come and gone with a few nice days of weather to tease us before winter had to reappear with more snow…when will it end?! Luckily, I have had great appearances to keep my days busy and my mood uplifted!

A really fun recent appearance was the IHOP Pancake Day -the day when calories don’t count because they are for charity (perfect justification, right?)! I visited a few IHOP Restaurants that day to promote and raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. At one of the restaurants, I had a pancake-stacking contest with a little boy from Gillette and he beat me fair and square! I’m pretty sure it was all the sugar in the pancakes and syrup he had that morning before 8am!

The following week, I had the opportunity to burn off some calories (many from the previous week of pancake eating!) again in promotion of CMNH when I participated in a Bike-a-thon at Cottage Grove Middle School. The school raises around $10,000 each year in a single week devoted to biking; it’s pretty incredible to see the kids so passionate about helping out! As for me, I was happy to hop on a bike and sign autographs at the same time…taking multi-tasking to the next level!

Next up was a St. Patrick’s Day celebration through the “O’ Gong Show.” I had the unique opportunity to judge the Carmichael Lynch ‘talent competition’ where I hit a big gong to exile a person if I didn’t like their talent! Those who didn’t get gonged received a score 1-10. This experience definitely gave me faith in MAO and the very talented young women who participate…but, if you happen to be in need of a talent, check out the picture of a dapper young man playing the recorder with his nose! I saw many unusual talents to say the least, but it was all in good fun and quite entertaining!

From one music event to the next…I do love these appearances that involve music! This past Saturday, I was at the Mall of America for the Music Link Foundation. Their mission is to give any child music lessons regardless of financial circumstances. So this weekend they held their annual ‘play-a-thon’ to help raise funds to continue their mission. I emceed the event and also performed some of my original pieces. Check out their website at where you can volunteer to teach or make a donation.

Being a piano teacher myself, I find such pleasure in seeing so many students devoted to music. I truly feel like I was given the gift of teaching and I can honestly say it doesn’t even feel like ‘work’ because I enjoy it so much! Plus, it is always a thrill when one of my piano students wins the State Contest, which happened this year along with four of my other students being chosen as alternate winners.

This brings me to the recent publicity I’ve had with my own music! WCCO (channel 4) did a very nice story on my piano compositions, which made me quite excited to begin school again and finish my composition degree. If you didn’t catch it, CLICK HERE to watch! Many thanks to Kerry McNally for taking interest in me!

You can still order my Blessed Beyond Measure cd at All proceeds still benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. And stay tuned for more information on my two upcoming Night of Inspiration Concerts in April and May!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Miss Minnesota: The Picture Perfect Job!

Hello Everyone! I decided to do a picture blog because I have had a busy two weeks and wanted to show you what I was up to!
Last weekend I went to Two Harbors (near Duluth) to crown Kimberly Jacobson the new Miss North Shore. I was able to spend the weekend with Kimberly and her family and Vicki, the new director of the pageant. I was given the royal treatment and had a blast at their festival, "Winter Frolic."
Look how cute the truck was that I rode in for their parade!
The people that live in Two Harbors are extremely tough. The bitter cold weather didn't bother them or keep them from watching the parade and partaking in the weekend's events!

Kimberly and I did a lot of events during the weekend to kick off her new title and to have the community get to know her and myself and what the Miss America Organization is all about! Did I mention it was really cold out!?

The cold didn't keep me from having fun either, and we did get to warm up indoors with hot cocoa and face painting.

I believe this was called "Swooshing." If you haven't "swooshed" before, then you are missing out! They had "Swooshing" races to raise money for charity, so I decided I needed to try it and it is was so much fun!

To continue with "I love to Read Month" in February, I visited three other schools either reading to classrooms or speaking to the schools on ways they can be an inspiration to others by using their gifts and talents!
I am really loving these types of appearances. Witnessing the enthusiasm from these young students makes me excited for their future and what it holds.

Congratulations to the new Miss West Metro and Miss City of Lakes, Allison Lordboch and Samantha Phillipi! All of the Miss Minnesota locals have been crowned so congratulations to you all! What an exciting journey you have ahead of you as you prepare for the job of Miss Minnesota 2011 along with Miss Minnesota week in June!

Tuesday, March 1st is National Pancake Day. Please make sure to visit your local IHOP and get yourself some pancakes for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. I always say that calories don't count when they are for charity! Check out IHOP if you want more information!

Until next time,
Kathryn Knuttila

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Congratulations to the new Miss Coon Rapids, Megan Ehlert, who was crowned on Saturday evening! How exciting it has been to see all these titleholders for 2011!! I do want to mention how impressed I was with the organization of the pageant, which would not be possible without the hardworking VOLUNTEERS that make it possible. Thank you to each and every local director and the volunteers for each pageant. Without you this organization would not be where it is today. I hope you know how much I appreciate you and so do your titleholders and community! Keep up the great work! The last pageant of the season (Sweeps) is coming up soon and then we are on track to Miss Minnesota week… but again, I don’t want to think about that yet!

I have had some fun appearances these past few days! On Monday night, I was in a town called Lake Park where I was invited to perform and speak during their middle school and high school pops concert for jazz band and choir. Even though it was absolutely bitter cold outside, there was a great turnout and the concert was so fun! The kids sang some of my favorite pop songs; I told them it was better than the halftime show during the Superbowl! I also talked about the importance of music in my life, the Miss America Scholarship Program, and a bit about Inspiring America and CMN. I had my CD’s on hand and raised another $170 for CMN!

So in my last blog, I told you that I thought I might be in a commercial during the Superbowl, but later realized that it was FOX news that did a segment on me and CMN. Click here to watch! I can’t tell you how much I appreciated FOX news doing this for me! I do apologize if I misled you or if you were specifically watching the Superbowl to see “my” commercial; I certainly appreciate your support though!

This month is “I Love To Read” month, which has me visiting classrooms to read. Today I read to a third grade class at World Cultures Magnet School in St. Paul. After I was done reading, they asked me questions about being Miss Minnesota. I forgot how much I love this part! I was asked if I get to ride in a limo to my appearances. You know, that’s not a bad idea! I will work on that for the next Miss Minnesota. ;)
I also was asked if there was a King, Mr. Minnesota and if my crown was real. Kids just make me smile! I left them all with a signed autograph and a CD for the class to listen to during their study time. They were such a great group of kids so I really look forward to the next class visits.

If there is ever a month to show extra support for reading, this is the month to do it! We all know how reading is so important especially with the lower literacy rates in our country. If you get a chance, I encourage you to volunteer to read at your local school or library!

Keep reading!