Wednesday, February 27, 2008

SMU faculty and student musicians participate in music education conference

Five SMU students attended the state Music Education Winter Clinic including, from left: back, Jeremy Johnston, Ryan Ballanger, Tom Briese; front, Gosia Paidosh and Samantha Kirsch. Paidosh worked with conference clinic staff, and the others performed in the Intercollegiate Honor Band.

WINONA, Minn. — Two members of Saint Mary’s music faculty, Dr. Janet Heukeshoven and Denny McGuire, and five SMU students participated in the Minnesota music education conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Four SMU students performed in the select Intercollegiate Honor Band including: Jeremy Johnston, percussion; Ryan Ballanger, clarinet; Tom Briese, trombone; and Samantha Kirsch, clarinet. Gosia Paidosh, a music major, worked with conference clinic staff.

Dr. Heukeshoven was one of five collegiate conductors chosen to direct this year's Intercollegiate Honor Band. She directed the 2006-07 Kaplan Foundation/SMU Concert Band commissioned work, “Israeli Rhapsody” by internationally recognized composer Judith Zaimont. She also conducted the work with the Virginia Intercollegiate Honor Band at the University of Mary Washington.

Dr. Heukeshoven serves as collegiate representative on the Minnesota Music Educators Association Board of Directors, and also assisted with clinic sessions, the SMU exhibit booth, and conference logistics.

While attending the conference, Heukeshoven accepted the All-Steinway School Award on behalf of the SMU Music Department.

Additionally, adjunct music faculty member Denny McGuire presented a session at the state music education conference, titled: “Batucata!” The overall theme of the conference was “Embracing World Music — Embracing Local Traditions.” McGuire presented an interactive session designed to assist in-service music educators at all levels.

Josh Gracin to headline spring concert March 13 at Saint Mary’s

Josh Gracin

The Roosters

WINONA, Minn. — Country music singer Josh Gracin will headline a public concert Thursday, March 13, in Saint Mary’s University’s gymnasium, located in the Toner Student Center.

Gracin’s self-titled debut album is edging in on platinum status. With the No. 1 hit “Nothin’ to Lose” and other hits, “I Want to Live” and “Stay with Me (Brass Bed),” Gracin has established himself as a leading country singer since gaining his fame from the hit reality series “American Idol,” where he finished fourth during the show’s second season. In 2003, Gracin also contributed the song “Working for the Weekend” to the Herbie: Fully Loaded soundtrack, and he also sang on “When I See an Elephant Fly” on the Jim Brickman album, The Disney Songbook. Gracin, a former U.S. Marine and Michigan native, entertains his audiences with energetic stage performances and rocking country music.

Opening for Gracin is The Roosters, a Minnesota country band whose single “Sorry Bout the Mess,” released in April 2007, has been gaining popularity on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. No food or drinks are allowed in the gymnasium. SMU’s Student Activities Committee is sponsoring the concert.

Tickets are free for SMU students with ID and $15 for the general public. Tickets are available by calling the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, online at or are available for purchase at the door.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Saint Mary's honored three at Founder's Day ceremony

Top left: Ana Sontag, Outstanding Female Senior

Top right: Kevin Black, Outstanding Male Senior

Bottom: Alan Joswick, 2008 Heffron Award winner

Founder's Day ceremony highlights

At its Founder’s Day ceremony Feb. 26, Saint Mary’s University honored a dedicated staff member and two outstanding seniors. Founder’s Day is the annual celebration of the founding of Saint Mary’s in 1912 by Winona Bishop Patrick R. Heffron.

The 2008 Bishop Patrick Heffron Award for Service to the University was presented to Alan Joswick. Joswick has worked in the Maintenance Department on the Winona campus since 1976 and is currently the trades department supervisor. The Heffron Award recognizes Joswick’s dedicated and tireless efforts to maintain and improve the campus physical plant. He provides a daily example of service to all who live and work on Terrace Heights and of commitment to the mission of Saint Mary’s University.

The Outstanding Male and Female Senior Awards were presented to students who have demonstrated the ideals of scholarship, character, leadership, service to colleagues and the university community. Above all, these men and women have shown genuine concern for meeting the needs of others. The Outstanding Male Senior Award went to Kevin Black, son of Jeff and Mary Pat Black of Mahtomedi, Minn. The Outstanding Female Senior Award went to Anastacia Sontag, daughter of Mike and Yvonne Sontag of Minneota, Minn.

Sontag is working toward her marketing major and chemistry minor; she has been involved with the Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance Committee and Student Senate Executive Board. She also serves as president of the Student Activities Committee, has helped new students feel welcome as a New Student Orientation Leader, is involved with the Together Encountering Christ student retreat, and volunteered in Biloxi, Miss. After graduation, Sontag hopes to work as an after-school tutor and mentor with a long-term volunteer program.

Black is an accounting major and economics minor. During his time at SMU, he has been a member of the baseball team (serving as team captain), the Cardinal Athletic Council (serving as treasurer) and Delta Epsilon Sigma honor society. He has also volunteered with the Winona Food Shelf, played intramurals, and coordinated the Toys for Teens Drive. This fall he will begin a new job as an auditor for Deloitte Touche, an accounting firm based out of Minneapolis. Until then, he will be taking classes and studying for the Certified Public Accountants exam and helping coach the Mahtomedi American Legion baseball team.

The following students were finalists for the 2007 Outstanding Senior Awards: females, Lindsay Dickson, daughter of Jim and Janie Dickson of Brooklyn Park, Minn.; Laura Holupchinski, daughter of Greg and Cindy Holupchinski of Saint Paul, Minn.; Amy Kalina, daughter of Stephen and Kathleen Kalina of Webster, Minn.; and Kasey Schultz, daughter of Tom and Sue Schultz of Cary, Ill.; males, Rick McCoy, son of Lou and Peg McCoy of West Saint Paul, Minn.; Jeffrey David, son of Don and Kathy David of Potosi, Wis.; John Freeman, son of Mike and Joann Freeman, of Aurora, Ill.; and Alex Downes-Borowski, son of Michael Borowski and Marylou Downes of Woodbury, Minn.

Monday, February 25, 2008

SMU Page Series to present San Jose Taiko March 10

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University’s Page Series will host the powerful, spellbinding and propulsive sounds of San Jose Taiko 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 10.

Taiko — the Japanese drum — is an instrument that embodies the spiritual essence and the heartbeat of Japan and its people. Priests used taiko to chase evil spirits and the insects from the rice fields; samurai used taiko to bolster their courage and to instill fear in the enemy; villagers used taiko to pray for rain, to enliven festivals and to give thanks for bountiful harvests.

San Jose Taiko has adopted these traditional values and infused the art of taiko with the vitality and freshness of their American spirit to create a dynamic and compelling Asian American art form. The music of San Jose Taiko weaves traditional Japanese sounds with the beat of world rhythms. African, Balinese, Latin, American rock and jazz merge to produce an innovative contemporary sound that brings diverse styles and resonates with the soul.

Tickets for the Page Theatre performance are $20, $14 for seniors, $12 for students, and are available by calling the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

Saint Mary’s University to bring fun and info to Chicago Convention, Feb. 29 - March 1

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Chicago Convention Feb. 29-March 1 will feature well-known alumni including John McDonough ’75, president of the Chicago Blackhawks; and Walter ’81, Tim ’85, and Mark ’86 Smithe — famous in the Chicagoland area for starring in their corny but catchy television commercials for Walter E. Smithe Furniture company.

The third “SMU Convention – Chicago” will bring more than 100 Saint Mary’s faculty, staff and current students to the Westin Chicago Northwest Hotel in Itasca. Prospective students, families and alumni will be treated to activities, demonstrations, food, entertainment, and information booths that showcase the university.

Convention-goers meet with professors, coaches and admission staff; enjoy a live musical performance; and take their chances with games and giveaways.

A special pre-convention reception Friday, Feb. 29, from 7 to 11 p.m. is reserved for alumni to socialize, meet with Saint Mary’s faculty and staff, and enjoy a silent auction.

Saturday, March 1, the convention opens at 9 a.m. with exhibitor booths and displays. A free convention luncheon begins at 11:45 a.m., hosted by the Smithes, and featuring a keynote speech from McDonough.

From 10 to 11 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, fun and educational breakout sessions will be offered by faculty, staff and noted alumni. From 11 to 11:45 a.m., the Oldie Moldie All-Stars — a band mainly composed of SMU students — will perform hits from the '50s and '60s. The convention adjourns at 4 p.m.

All events are free. High school students, families and guidance counselors, and alumni should pre-register by contacting Meg Richtman, convention coordinator, at 800-635-5987, Ext. 1499, or online at
The Westin Chicago Northwest is located at I-290 and Thorndale Avenue in Itasca.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Area schools compete in High School Challenge Saturday at Saint Mary’s

WINONA, Minn. — Area schools will compete in the final round of High School Challenge — a tournament of knowledge held at and sponsored by Saint Mary’s University — Saturday, Feb. 23. The 2007-08 season marks the 37th year of the longest running academic competition for high school students in the area.

Thirty-two area teams from Eastern Minnesota, Western Wisconsin and Northeast Iowa started competing in High School Challenge in the fall for a chance to participate in the “Consolation and “Super Challenge” tournaments. Participating teams earn scholarships for their schools.

The public is welcome to watch the consolation championship between Onalaska and La Crescent high schools, beginning at 8:30 a.m. in Page Theatre, located in SMU’s Performance Center. After this competition, the final run for the “Super Challenge” begins, with brackets featuring teams from Viroqua, Winona Senior High, La Crosse Central, West Salem, North Crawford, Eau Claire Regis, Seneca, and La Crosse Aquinas.

The games will be taped by Fox 25/Fox 48 and aired Sundays, March 9 through April 27, from 10:30 to 11 a.m.

For more information, call Nicole Witt, High School Challenge coordinator, at (507) 457-1761 or

Group photo show on display Feb. 28-March 29 at SMU

Rus Hurt is one of five photographers displaying in "Tempus Fugit" Feb. 28-March 29.

Five area photographers will display assorted nature and documentary work Feb. 28 through March 29 at Saint Mary’s University.

The exhibit, titled “Tempus Fugit” or “Time Flies,” will be on display at the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries, and will include work by Wade Britzius, Rus Hurt, Kathy Greden, Ron Reimer and Jim Risser.

An opening reception is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28.

The Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries are located in the Toner Student Center. Admission is free and open to the public, and gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For more information, call (507) 457-1652.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

SMU sends student researchers to Scholars at the Capitol Feb. 21

WINONA, Minn. — Three students from Saint Mary’s University, along with their faculty advisors, will head to the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda on Thursday, Feb. 21, to present the results of their independent research and creative scholarship at the annual Minnesota Private College Scholars at the Capitol event.

The Minnesota Private College Council hosts this event in an attempt to publicize and celebrate the achievements of just a few of the many thousands of students who attend private schools of higher learning in Minnesota, and to share research that may have long-term implications for Minnesotans.

This event — to be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — will showcase current research projects completed by undergraduate scholars from Minnesota private colleges and universities. Saint Mary’s students attending this year’s event include:

• Sarah Jo Schroeder, Aurora, Minn., presenting on “The Examination of the Diet of the Freshwater Drum, Aplodinorus Grunniens, for Zebra Mussels, Dreissena Polymorpha, from the Mississippi River.”

• Anna Skonieczny of Freeport, Ill., presenting on “The Effects of Demethylating and Methylating Chemicals on Mitotic Activity of Vicia faba in Different Stages of the Cell Cycle.”

• Laura Eggert of St. Michael, Minn., and former student Victoria Evans, presenting on “The Physiological Responses of Lepomis gibbosus and Mus musculus to Noturus gyrinus Toxin.”

SMU Chamber Singers to present Homecoming concert Thursday

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Chamber Singers will present a Homecoming Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, at Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels on the Saint Teresa campus. This event is free and open to the public.

The 22-voice select ensemble, directed by Dr. Patrick O’Shea, recently returned from its 2008 Concert Tour in Madison, Wis., and Victoria, Minn.

Repertoire will include a cappella works by Palestrina, Lauridsen, Stenhammar, and Ginastera, as well as English madrigals and spirituals.

For more information, call Dr. O’Shea at (507) 457-1598.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

SMU theatre students stage drama Feb. 28-March 3

WINONA, Minn. — A rural diner gets a rude awakening when staff and customers are held hostage at the hands of an unstable madman during Saint Mary’s University’s production of “When You Comin’ Back Red Ryder?” The SMU Department of Theatre Arts will stage the disturbing drama Feb. 28-March 3, in the Valéncia Arts Center Academy Theatre.

When Teddy, a Vietnam veteran teetering on the edge of madness, and his young girlfriend barge into a forgotten New Mexico roadside diner, nothing will ever be the same for its five occupants. Teddy uses personal threats and wit to psychologically dismember his hostages. “Red Ryder’s” underlying theme includes a longing for the past – for childhood, for the innocence of the ’50s with its cowboy heroes. Just as the diner’s customers and staff will never be the same, author Mark Howard Medoff is telling his audience that this age of innocence is gone forever.

Performances, under the direction of Dr. Gary Diomandes, are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday, Feb. 28, 29, March 1 and 3. A matinee performance is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday, March. 2.

“Red Ryder” is for mature audiences only; the content includes adult language and violence.
Tickets for the show 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

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Interviews, auditions March 2 for Gilmore Creek Summer Theatre

WINONA, Minn. — Gilmore Creek Summer Theatre will conduct auditions and tech interviews for the 2008 summer season 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, March 2, in the Performance Center at Saint Mary’s University’s Winona campus. The four-week repertory season includes “The Foreigner,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and a children’s show.

The acting company will consist of a total of nine performers. Actors should bring a headshot and résumé and prepare two contrasting monologues (not to exceed three minutes). Actors who can sing should also prepare a 32-bar song selection that best showcases their voice. Bring a battery operated media player (cassette, CD, MP-3) for accompaniment. A cappela singing is not permitted. Actors must be available for daytime and evening rehearsals.

Technical positions available include technical director, costume shop supervisor, stage manager, scenic artist, prop master, carpenters, running crew, and costume technician. Technicians must be available for daytime and evening work. For more information regarding technical positions, contact Kit Mayer, production manager, at (507) 457-1717 or

To schedule an audition or interview for March 2, contact Judy Myers, artistic director, at (507) 457-6686 or

Contract dates for actors are June 9 – Aug. 3. Technician contracts vary from May 12 – Aug. 6, depending on position. Salaries vary depending on casting and technical assignments. If needed, housing is provided on the Winona Campus of Saint Mary’s University.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

SMU Page Series to present vocal talents of Chic Gamine

WINONA, Minn. —The rhythmic voices of Chic Gamine will fill Saint Mary’s Page Theatre with a unique harmonious blend of soulful music Wednesday, Feb. 20. SMU’s Page Series will present the all-women vocal group, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Performance Center.

Chic Gamine, a French-Canadian group of five women, uses a male solo percussionist as their only musical support. Their voices become their instruments as they launch into intricate string arrangements, bass-heavy rhythm sections and melodious harmonies. Together they create a sound that resounds with passion and their own particular brand of humor that leaves audiences begging for more.

The members of the group have been singing together in various formations since 1997. Most recently, three of them were members of the acclaimed world vocal ensemble Madrigaia, and look to embellish that legacy with new, original material. Their performance will draw from “soul, world and roots” – including African, Middle-Eastern, South-American music and, of course, French-Canadian Folk.

Tickets are $18, $12 for seniors, $10 for students, and are available by calling the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

Make it dinner and a show. Pre-show dinners are provided by Chartwells Catering. Seating begins at 6:30 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.