Tuesday, October 30, 2007

SMU theatre students stage tragedy — ‘Yerma’ — Nov. 9-12

WINONA, Minn. — A young woman’s painful yearning to be a mother leads to the gradual untangling of her mind in the Saint Mary’s University’s Department of Theatre Arts production of “Yerma” Nov. 9-12.

The dark tragedy, “Yerma,” by Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, centers on a childless young woman, trapped in a bitter and loveless marriage. Trapped too by social attitudes and conventions, Yerma is prevented from loving another man. Her internal conflict and mental instability seal her fate in a tragic climax befitting her tragic life.

The basic themes of this compelling tale — directed by Judy Myers — resemble the themes in every woman’s life: love, passion, desperation, sexuality and marriage.

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday, Nov. 9, 10 and 12. A matinee performance is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11.

Tickets for the show — to be held in Page Theatre — are $8, $6 for students and seniors and are available at the Performance Center Box office, 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays or online at www.pagetheatre.org.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Saint Mary’s University announces Gilmore Creek Summer Theatre 2008 season

WINONA, Minn. — A man-eating plant and a phony foreigner will headline Saint Mary’s University’s second annual Gilmore Creek Summer Theatre. The professional theatre company summer lineup will include the popular musical “Little Shop of Horrors”; the hilarious comedy “The Foreigner”; and a yet-to-be-named children’s production in rotation throughout July and August at SMU’s Page Theatre.

Judy Myers, returning for a second year as artistic director, is excited to bring a talented cast of performers from throughout the United States to Winona. Myers said this year’s productions are guaranteed to leave audiences laughing. “These familiar favorites will be popular with audiences of all ages,” she said, “We hope they serve as a complement to Winona’s other rich summer theatre offerings.”

“Little Shop of Horrors,” directed by Myers, follows Seymour, a down-and out skid row floral assistant who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant, which he names Audrey II, with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. Soon Audrey II grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore that offers him fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite. Audrey II finally reveals itself to be an alien creature poised for global domination. Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, this musical is based on the film by Roger Corman and screenplay by Charles Griffith. Anthony Freeman will serve as the musical director.

“The Foreigner” by Larry Shue demonstrates what can happen when a group of devious characters must deal with a stranger who (they think) knows no English. The locals of a rural Georgian fishing lodge are told that an innocent, shy young man named Charlie speaks no English. As the plot progresses, Charlie overhears more than he should: the evil plans of a sinister, two-faced minister and his redneck associate; the fact that the minister's pretty fiancĂ©e is pregnant; and many other damaging revelations made with the thought that Charlie doesn't understand a word being said. The wildly funny climax separates the "bad guys," and the "good guys" and ensures a happy ending.

“The Foreigner” will be directed by Steve Snyder, a faculty member of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., who returns to GCST after having directed last summer’s successful production of “Lend Me a Tenor.”

Gary Diomandes will again serve as GCST’s artistic associate and Kit Mayer is returning as production manager and resident scene designer.

GCST will also include a children’s theatre production in its 2008 season. Performance dates will be announced at a later date.

Gilmore Creek Summer Theatre Schedule
July 10 “Little Shop of Horrors” 7:30 p.m.
July 11 “Little Shop of Horrors” 7:30 p.m.
July 12 “Little Shop of Horrors” 7:30 p.m.
July 13 “Little Shop of Horrors” 3 p.m.

July 17 “The Foreigner” 7:30 p.m.
July 18 “The Foreigner” 7:30 p.m.
July 19 “The Foreigner” 7:30 p.m.
July 20 “The Foreigner” 3 p.m.

July 24 “The Foreigner” 7:30 p.m.
July 25 “Little Shop of Horrors” 7:30 p.m.
July 26 “The Foreigner” 7:30 p.m.
July 27 “Little Shop of Horrors” 3 p.m.

July 31 “Little Shop of Horrors” 7:30 p.m.
August 1 “The Foreigner” 7:30 p.m.
August 2 “Little Shop of Horrors” 7:30 p.m.
August 3 “The Foreigner” 3 p.m.

Sweeney named vice president for development, alumni relations

WINONA, Minn. — Brother Louis DeThomasis, chancellor of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, has named Joseph P. Sweeney as vice president for development and alumni relations.

Sweeney, a 1981 Saint Mary's graduate, will begin his new position on December 3. He will oversee the university’s fundraising, alumni relations and advancement services.

Sweeney comes to Saint Mary’s from Loyola Academy, a Jesuit college-preparatory high school in Wilmette, Ill., where he served for 11 years as vice president for development and director of principal gifts. During Sweeney’s tenure, Loyola’s endowment increased from $14 million to nearly $53 million. Previously, Sweeney worked seven years as director of development at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill.

Joe and his wife, Stacey (Sanborn ’82) Sweeney, have four children. Their son Kevin is currently a sophomore at Saint Mary’s.

Saint Mary's University reports increase in undergraduate and graduate enrollment

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota reports enrollment growth at both the undergraduate and graduate program levels.

As of the fall "enrollment data freeze" dates, Saint Mary's has a total of 5,960 students, up 394 from last year's total of 5,566.

The number of graduate students enrolled is 3,918 (929 in Winona-based programs and 2,989 in Twin Cities campus-based programs). That number is up 170 from last year's enrollment of 3,748. An additional 692 bachelor degree-completion and undergraduate certificate students are enrolled, up 166 from last year's total of 526.

The undergraduate College at the Winona campus shows enrollment of 1,350, up 58 from last year's total of 1,292. (1,276 are full-time undergraduates and 74 are part-time and non-degree-seeking students.) The freshman class of 399 is the second-largest in Saint Mary's history. Adding in transfers and readmitted students, the total of new degree-seeking students is 455.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Common Threads clothing sale will be Oct. 25-27 at Saint Mary’s

WINONA, Minn. — The sixth annual Common Threads clothing sale will be held Oct. 25-27 at Saint Mary’s University’s Hall of Fame Room, located in the Toner Student Center.

Gently used clothing and footwear for men, women, youth and infants will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, through Saturday, Oct. 27.

The cost is 50 cents per item or $4 for a paper bag full of items. The public is welcome.

The event is sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry and the student Peace and Justice group. Each year the money raised — along with the leftover clothing from the sale — goes to local organizations that help those less fortunate. Last year approximately $355 was raised.

This year proceeds will go to the Winona Catholic Worker House and the SMU Peace and Justice group general fund.

For more information, contact Glenna at (715) 797-0210 or e-mail gmkryz4@smumn.edu.

Monday, October 15, 2007

SMU, WSU to host Japanese celebration, events on Oct. 20-21

WINONA, Minn. — Winona will welcome a delegation from Misato (Winona’s sister city in Japan) in October.

A “Culture Fest” — free and open to the public — will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Toner Student Center. The event, which will run from 2 to 3 p.m., will include booth displays and demonstrations featuring Shodo, the art of drawing unique characters; Ikebana, art formed with flowers; Kimono, a traditional Japanese dress; and Sado, a tea ceremony.

These events will be followed by Japanese dancers and Taiko drummers from 3 to 4:15 p.m. in Page Theatre. The dancers will perform an original form of “Nihon Buyo,” which features the use of bamboo props and a beating rhythm. “Senrai,” a group of young Japanese musicians, will share their talents using the traditional instruments of Taiko drums.

A banquet begins at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Hiawatha Room, located on SMU’s Saint Teresa campus. Admission is $18 per person, and tickets are available at City Hall, 457-8234. The event features the Gate City Jazz Band from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., as well as the International Dancers of Winona and Native American hoop dancer Jackie Bird.

On Sunday, Oct. 21, the Culture Fest will be repeated at WSU’s Kryzsko Commons. Exhibits run 1 to 2 p.m., with performances from 2 to 3:15 p.m.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Students celebrate National Chemistry Week during SMU Chemistry Night Oct. 25, Nov. 1

WINONA, Minn. — Several area high school juniors and seniors (and their teachers) will be learning the importance of chemistry in everyday life via hands-on activities 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 during Chemistry Nights at Saint Mary’s University.

Chemistry Night, sponsored by the SMU Department of Chemistry and the La Crosse-Winona Local Section of the American Chemical Society, is an annual event to help students explore the discipline of chemistry and appreciate the positive role chemistry plays in the world.

Each year students solve a challenging but fun chemical problem based on the National Chemistry Week theme; this year’s theme is “The Faces of Chemistry.”

Students will be distributed into small teams and will work with instrumentation in the SMU Department of Chemistry, under the guidance of chemistry majors.
During the event, students will have hands-on exposure to various chemical instrumentation and wet chemistry. Prizes will be awarded including 12 SMU scholarships of $2,000 and $1,000.

The event is free, and there are still openings. Students who are interested should have their high school science teacher contact Dr. Jim Vogel at (507) 457-1558.

Halloween Fun Night is Oct. 29 at Saint Mary’s

WINONA, Minn. — Elementary and preschool children from the Winona area are invited to attend the seventh annual Saint Mary’s University Halloween Fun Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29.

Participants should stop at the guard booth at the main entrance of the Winona campus for directions on where to park.

Young trick-or-treaters should start out the evening at the Hall of Fame Room, located in the Toner Student Center, where face-painting, a coloring station, bucket toss and other fun games will be offered, and the Cardinal mascot will greet pint-sized ghosts and goblins.

From there, SMU students will lead groups of trick-or-treaters through the residence halls of the university, where they can go door to door for candy.

Last year more than 600 youth participated in this free, safe and fun event, sponsored by the Office of Residence Life of Saint Mary’s.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona announces family application dates

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program is accepting applications from community members who need help obtaining family gifts for the holidays. The annual gift-giving program — in its sixth year — helps more than 1,400 people have a much happier holiday season.

Families may pick up an application form through one of the human service agencies that they work with (Catholic Charities, Family Services of Winona, Habitat for Humanity, Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Project FINE, Semcac, Winona Area Hospice, Winona Area Learning Center, Winona County Community Health, Winona County Department of Human Services, Winona Senior Advocacy Program, Winona Volunteer Services, Winona Workforce Center or Women’s Resource Center). Families affected by the flood should contact the American Red Cross for an application form.

Completed application forms must be returned to Winona Volunteer Services (416 E. 2nd St.) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 26 or Nov. 2, or 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 27 or Nov. 3. On these dates, SMU student volunteers will review the forms for processing.

This program exists through the generosity of the Winona community, as well as the work of other community partners including: Winona Volunteer Services, United Way, Winona Radio, the Winona Post and Wells Fargo Bank.

Monday, October 08, 2007

DeThomasis to cook at ‘Recipe for Relief’ fundraiser for SMU faculty, staff flood victims

WINONA, Minn. — Friends of Saint Mary’s University are invited to a ‘Recipe for Relief’ fundraiser Sunday, Oct. 28, at the Winona campus. Proceeds will benefit the many faculty and staff at SMU who received severe flood damage.

Mark your calendars for a fun-filled evening of music, food and festive bidding. The event will be held 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the dining room of the Toner Student Center. Admission will be $25 or $15 for students.

Several celebrity SMU “chefs” will be preparing a huge variety of tasty hors d’oeuvres, and the master chef himself, Brother Louis DeThomasis, Saint Mary’s chancellor, will give out a special recipe — as well as a live (and lively!) demonstration of how to prepare it. Recipes by all the chefs will be shared.

SMU student jazz combos will be joined by directors Eric Heukeshoven and Dr. John Paulson. Additionally Chris Kendall, vice president for student development, will perform folk music. A silent auction will complete the evening.

This SMU benefit follows the Sept. 7 Rockin’ for Relief event — a live concert to assist flood victims in our surrounding communities — which raised $2,889. With a matching $2,500 donation from Modern Woodmen of America, the proceeds totaled $5,389.

Between 300 and 350 people attended that event, sponsored by Saint Mary’s Volunteer Services and Office of Campus Ministry.

SMU hosts High School Challenge competitions for 32 area teams

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary's University of Minnesota High School Challenge returns for another season of fun competition at 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 13, in Saint Mary’s World Room, located in the Hendrickson Center. The 2007-08 season marks the 37th year of the longest running, locally produced television program showcasing Eastern Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, and Northeast Iowa high school students in an educational forum.

High School Challenge is a contest in which high schools compete to correctly answer questions dealing with high school subjects, general information and current events. Thirty-two teams compete in winner and consolation bracket tournaments.

High school students receive scholarships to Saint Mary's for participating in High School Challenge. Schools that win their first game receive $2,000 scholarships to SMU. Schools that lose their first game receive $1,000 scholarships to SMU. Each scholarship is renewable for three consecutive years if requirements are met.

The following schools will compete in Round 1A Oct. 13: Blair-Taylor High School, Onalaska High School, La Crosse Central High School, North Crawford High School, Osseo Fairchild High School and Eau Claire North High School.

The following schools will partake in Round 1B Oct. 13: Bangor High School, Black River Falls High School, De Soto High School, Decorah High School, La Crescent High School, La Crosse Logan High School, Lewiston-Altura High School, Alma Center Lincoln High School, Seneca High School, West Salem High School and Winona Senior High School.

The following schools will participate in Round 1C Nov. 3: La Crosse Aquinas High School, Cotter High School, Caledonia High School, Holmen High School, Sparta High School, Melrose-Mindoro High School, Riceville Community High School, Eau Claire Region High School, Hope Lutheran High School, Eau Claire Memorial High School, Weston High School and Viroqua High School.

Teams that win their afternoon game will return Dec. 1 for the Consolation Championship games. Teams that win their morning and afternoon games will return in February for the Super Challenge Championships. The Consolation Championship and the Super Challenge Championships are taped at SMU and are televised on Fox 25 La Crosse and Fox 48 Eau Claire, beginning in March.

For more information contact Nicole Witt Gerdes, High School Challenge coordinator, at (507) 457-1761 or ngerdes@smumn.edu.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

SMU exhibit to examine cultural, social forces through paintings, audio

"Samiha" - encaustic painting by Michal Sagar

"Hinda" - encaustic painting by Michal Sagar

WINONA, Minn. — Minneapolis artists Michal Sagar and Francisca de Beurges Rosenthal will present a thought-provoking and inspiring exhibit titled, “Branches: A Contemporary Convivencia” from Oct. 14 through Nov. 10 at Saint Mary’s University.

The show, which includes encaustic on wood by Sagar and an audio installation by de Beurges Rosenthal, explores a poetic interplay of social and cultural forces between Jews, Muslims and Christians. Specifically, the two focus on where human tensions interact with the natural world, leaving their imprint on each other.

Sagar has created portraits of Jews, Muslims and Christians — from their home countries and from the U.S. — to understand what separates us and what binds us together. Their memorable faces are captured in encaustic paintings on wooden panels. Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax with colored pigments.

De Beurges Rosenthal interviewed some of the people depicted in Sagar’s beautiful, yet haunting, pieces. An audio installation from these interviews accompanies the paintings. One of de Beurges Rosenthal’s earlier sculpture and voice pieces, “Sh’ma” was first seen at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in 1996. This installation depicted the issues of the Holocaust and the silence produced by trauma. In her ongoing work, de Beurges Rosenthal gives voices to those often encouraged to keep silent.

“Branches” will be on display in the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries, located in SMU’s Toner Student Center, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

An opening reception is planned for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at the galleries.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information, call (507) 457-1652.

TheatreworksUSA to bring favorite children’s story to life Oct. 19

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Page Series and TheatreworksUSA will stage the comical children’s story, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” on Friday, Oct. 19. “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” – a hilarious musical that follows the terrible day of Alexander will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Page Theatre, located in the SMU Performance Center.

This timeless story begins with Alexander waking up with gum in his hair, and then he trips on a skateboard, and then he accidentally drops his sweater in the sink – and all this before breakfast! Alexander’s day continues to go down hill as he gets smushed in the car on the way to school, his teacher dislikes his drawing of an invisible castle, and Paul doesn’t want to be his friend anymore. There’s no dessert for lunch, there’s lima beans for dinner, and there’s kissing on TV.

Since 1961, TheatreworksUSA — America’s largest not-for-profit theatre for young and family audiences — has entertained more than 78 million people in 49 states and Canada.

Tickets are $6, and are available by calling the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, during regular office hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at www.pagetheatre.org.

Make it dinner and a show. Pre-show dinners are provided by Chartwells Catering. Seating begins at 5:15 p.m. in the Toner Student Center, located next to the Performance Center. Adult dinners cost $20 and include chicken, beef, and vegetarian options, along with beverages and dessert. Bottles of wine may be purchased for an extra fee. Children’s dinners cost $12 and include mac-n-cheese or chicken fingers with sides, beverages, and dessert. Orders will be accepted up to three days prior to the event; order online or by phone.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Get set to scream at annual Saint Mary's Walk of Horror

WINONA, Minn. — This year's Saint Mary's University Walk of Horror is again guaranteed to give you goosebumps. New scares are planned around every corner.

The 11th annual hair-raising fundraiser for the SMU Cardinal fastpitch softball team will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 19-20 and 26, 27 and 31 in the SMU bluffs. Walkers are asked to meet on the lighted path between the SMU baseball and softball fields, where the haunted walk will begin.

Groups are then escorted through the dark bluffs surrounding the SMU campus for approximately 20 minutes.

The cost is $5 for adults, $4 for students with ID, and $4 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available at the gate.

SMU head fastpitch softball coach Jen Miller said the event is fun for all ages. The scare level is toned down for younger children and turned up for groups bold enough to face their fears. Last year more than 1,000 brave souls took SMU’s Walk of Horror.

Proceeds from this event will be used for the softball team’s spring trip to California for a tournament.
For more information, contact Miller at (507) 457-6923.

SMU hosts acrobatic dance with “MOMIX Remix” Oct. 10

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Page Series will host the unpredictable acrobatic dance program “MOMIX Remix” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10.

“MOMIX” is celebrated for its ability to conjure up a world of surrealistic images using props, light, shadow, humor and the human body.

“MOMIX Remix” is compiled of jaw-dropping routines from the company’s most famous works in the past 25 years. Moses Pendleton, the group’s choreographer and director, will showcase a dance experience like no other at Page Theatre, located in the SMU Performance Center.

Pendleton’s dancers may transform into sidewinders and Gila Monsters, float weightlessly through extraterrestrial terrains, strap into snow skis, or fly through the air like baseballs.

Tickets are $22, $16 for seniors, $14 for students and are available by calling the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, during regular office hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at www.pagetheatre.org.

SMU student’s art displayed in Smithsonian, Kennedy Center

SMU senior Holly Schuh’s artwork is on display in Washington, D.C.“Two Voices” is on display the Kennedy Center Hall of States through October.

“Pause,” is on display at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center through Dec. 31

WINONA, Minn. — Holly Schuh, a Saint Mary’s University senior from Altura, Minn., received the Award of Excellence and $2,000 for her artwork, currently on display at the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center.

The 2007 juried exhibition “Driven” highlights the work of 15 emerging, young visual artists with disabilities. The exhibition, sponsored by VSA arts and Volkswagen of America, Inc., is on display at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institution, through Dec. 31. The work of 15 “Driven” awardees is also on display at the Kennedy Center Hall of States through October in celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The 15 finalists displaying work were chosen from 204 applicants, ranging in age from 16 to 25, from throughout the United States.

This year’s assignment challenged artists to illustrate the motivational force behind their personal vision … what moves them to create art.

Schuh aims to portray the emotions of human struggles through the representation of the human figure. Inspired by a mission trip to India and an intense awareness of humanitarian issues, Schuh links art, humanity and human figures in works that emote without words. Schuh want her figures to “cause discussion about struggles and the changes that are needed in the character of humanity’s actions.”

Schuh said she changed as an artist after she began exhibiting symptoms of hereditary neuropathy with pressure-point palsies, a rare, slowly progressive hereditary neuromuscular disorder that makes an individual very susceptible to nerve injury from pressure, stretch or repetitive use.

“I am determined to see my hands create and to see my disease as a positive inheritance,” she said. “I want my abstract figures to cause discussion about struggles and the changes that are needed in the character of humanity’s actions.”