Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Area high schools advance in SMU High School Challenge

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University High School Challenge preliminary season finished Saturday, Nov. 21, with Round 1C. High School Challenge is the longest-running, locally produced television program showcasing area schools in an educational forum. Participating schools come from Eastern Minnesota, Western Wisconsin and Northeast Iowa.

The following schools competed in October and November and are moving on to the Consolation Championship on Dec. 5: Bangor’s red team, Holmen’s white team, Blair-Taylor, Youth Initiative I, Aquinas, Cotter’s white team, DeSoto, and Decorah’s red team. Moving on to the Super Challenge Feb. 13 are: Cotter’s blue team, Riceville (Iowa), Decorah’s blue team, Logan’s red team, Lewiston-Altura, Regis’ green team, Holmen’s maroon team and West Salem’s black team. Other competing teams were: La Crosse Central, Bangor’s black team, North Crawford, West Salem’s orange team, Winona Senior High, Logan’s white team, Youth Initiative II, Weston, Regis’ white team, Alma Center Lincoln, Caledonia, La Crescent, Seneca, Onalaska and Osseo-Fairchild.

During the first rounds of competition, teams that win their afternoon game return for the Consolation Championship games. Teams that win their morning and afternoon games return for the Super Challenge Championship. The final eight games of the tournament are taped at SMU and televised on Fox 25 La Crosse and Fox 48 Eau Claire.

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. All members of the school’s senior class with a B or above average are eligible for these scholarships.

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

Monday, November 23, 2009

Miles Johnston to highlight SMU jazz concert Dec. 4

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University will present an evening of jazz — featuring student jazz groups and guest musician Miles Johnston — Friday, Dec. 4.

The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Page Theater, located in the SMU Performance Center. The Jazz Ensemble (16-piece big band) and Jazz Combo I, both under the direction of Dr. John Paulson, will perform.

The Jazz Ensemble will perform a wide range of styles, featuring several distinctive student soloists, and Johnston, who is a multi-talented drummer, singer and cornet player. The set will include “The Nasty Blues” by Mike Carubia, which will include solos by Vanessa Grams of Little Falls on alto sax; Trevor Woggon of Viroqua, Wis., on trombone; Benjamin Scott of Rochester on bari sax; and bassist Joe Mazucca of St. Michael. Also included will be Mike Tomaro’s arrangement of Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington’s “Caravan”; “Smack Dab in the Middle,” arranged by Sammy Nestico from the book of Count Basie; and a new plunger trombone feature, “Keep the Stick” by Dean Sorenson. This piece will highlight the work of student trombonist Tom Briese of Rochester, Minn. Johnston will sing several selections from the Great American Songbook, arranged by Dave Wolpe for big band, including, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Just Friends” and “Night and Day.”

Jazz Combo I will play several recognizable works by Horace Silver like “The Preacher” and “Sister Sadie,” along with an outstanding arrangement of “Freddie The Freeloader” by Miles Davis, arranged by Frank Mantooth and featuring Johnston on cornet. Also, included in their set will be a new arrangement by vibraphonist Jeremy Johnston of “Black Magic Woman,” as played by Santana.

A jazzy Christmas tune or two will be included in the mix, and an additional Jazz Workshop Combo will perform in the lobby for a pre-concert show. Come early to enjoy music by these talented students.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors and are available at the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays or online at www.pagetheatre.org.

Miles Johnston

Miles Johnston has been playing music for more than 40 years. He studied music at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and then piano technology at the UW-River Falls.

While in the Army, Johnston played in stage band, concert band, marching band, and small jazz and rock groups. With the 3rd Armored Division Band he traveled throughout Germany, Holland, and France playing Fasching parades, concerts, beer tents, and Army ceremonial jobs.

After the Army and after finishing school, Johnston and his family moved to Rochester, where he has played with numerous bands.

When Johnston was in his early 40s, he decided to take up the cornet as a second instrument. After seven years of cornet practice, just as he had started to play publicly, he was humbled by the onset of Bell’s palsy, which temporarily paralyzed the left side of his face. It was a year before he could play publicly again.

In 2000-2001, he performed aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line flag ship the S.S. Norway. Since then, has been performing with the swing group 2 O’Clock Jump and doing freelance work. He also regularly plays with the Miles Johnston Quartet and as part of a local jazz trio and duo.

Winter Dance Showcase Dec. 4-5 at Valéncia

WINONA, Minn. — Dance Repertory Company II performers and young choreographers will present Winter Dance Showcase 2009, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4-5.

Audiences can enjoy performances at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, in the Valéncia Arts Center Academy Theatre, located at 1164 West 10th St.

Dance Repertory Company II is the junior performing troupe of Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA). Students ages 5 to 12 will perform classical ballet, jazz and modern dance. These young students auditioned last September for the showcase and have been participating in weekly technique classes and rehearsals.

“The Winter Dance Showcase is a great performance opportunity for our younger dancers,” said Christine Martin, MCA managing director. “The children really enjoy performing contemporary dance forms, as well as being part of our full-length ballets like The Nutcracker and Cinderella.”

The performance will also include original works by the MCA and Saint Mary’s University young choreographers. These high school and college students participated in choreography and dance composition courses throughout the semester.

“The Winter Showcase offers the students a culminating project requiring them to utilize all of the choreographic tools that they have learned this semester,” said Tammy Schmidt, SMU assistant professor of dance and MCA director of dance. “Additionally, the process of directing their pieces gives these young choreographers real world experience in dance performance production.”

Young choreographers presenting works include: Dot Armstrong, Abby Ayotte, Fallon Devine, Lydia Feuerhelm, Joanna Mills, Sarah Mills, Bryan Moore and Adelle Vietor. DRC II cast members include: Colin Cada, Lauren Callahan, Walker Crum, Gwendolyn Gray-Burlingame, Cooper Hancock, Phoebe Kropuenske, Megan Lynch, Alec Meinke, Hayden Meinke, Justine Meinke, Laura Schleich, Natalie Schleich, Olivia Schlesser, Maren Stewart, Emily Strom, Anna Velikanova, Calli Jo Wagner and Emmalena Williamson.

Tickets are $10 for adults. Admission for children and students ages 2-21 is free. To reserve tickets, call (507) 453-5500. Seating is limited. For more information about MCA performances, classes and programs, visit www.mnconservatoryforthearts.org. For more information about the SMU dance minor program, visit www.smumn.edu/danceminor.

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University.

Saint Mary’s Concert Band holiday concert is Dec. 6

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Concert Band, under the direction of Dr. Janet Heukeshoven, will hold its annual holiday concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Page Theatre.

Musical selections include classic Christmas favorites such as “O Holy Night,” Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival” and “Sleigh Ride.”

After the concert, the audience is invited to join the band in the Miller Lobby for a Christmas cookie reception with more music, presented by SMU band members.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and are available at the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at www.pagetheatre.org. Tickets are also available at the door.

For more information, contact Dr. Heukeshoven at jheukesh@smumn.edu.

Saint Mary’s University choirs to present ‘Lessons & Carols’ Dec. 5

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Women’s Choir will present their annual holiday tribute, “Lessons and Carols,” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5.

The performance — a celebration of Advent and the Nativity through song and spoken word — will held at Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels, located on the Saint Teresa campus.

Music will include familiar carols, as well as selections by a variety of composers from Renaissance to the present.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors and are available by calling the SMU Box Office, Ext. 1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at www.pagetheatre.org.

Winona Area Youth Singers winter concert is Dec. 6

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts will present the Winona Area Youth Singers (WAYS) in a winter concert — featuring music from around the world — on Sunday, Dec. 6.

The concert will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Valéncia Arts Center Recital Hall, 1164 West 10th St. The program will include folk music from the Pacific Rim, Africa, Europe and the Americas, and concludes with some traditional Christmas carols.

“The singers have been working hard and are excited to perform songs from different cultures and in different languages,” said Lindsy O’Shea, WAYS director.

WAYS members include: Shae Alcamo, Phillippa Armstrong, Adrian Brietzke, Andrew Behling, Mariah Bruner, Carina Dretske, Daria Goede, Justine Meinke, Alexa Morescki, Shannon O’Brien, Audrey Schmidt, Addison Sim, Noel Thompson and Korto Thrune. The WAYS assistant conductor is Matt Polum, and Laura Rothe serves as accompanist.

Reserved tickets are not necessary. Admission is $10 at the door for adults; cash and checks are accepted. Admission is free for children and students ages 2-21.

In addition to the winter concert, the group will be participating in holiday caroling throughout the Winona community on Monday, Dec. 7.

WAYS members are students in grades four through eight from Winona and the surrounding areas. The youth choir started its second year this past September and has been rehearsing a variety of choral material.

WAYS is the official youth choir of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts. WAYS is dedicated to providing quality, artistic and educational vocal music experiences for all young people, regardless of their financial circumstances.

WAYS is tuition-free to all students in the 2009-10 academic year, courtesy of a grant from Saint Mary’s University Friends of the School of the Arts. Registration and placement auditions to join WAYS for semester II are Monday, Jan. 4, 2010.

For more information about WAYS or MCA’s other performing arts programming, visit www.mnconservatoryforthearts.org, e-mail mca@smumn.edu or call (507) 453-5501. The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Giving trees go up Nov. 19 for Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona giving trees will be going up Nov. 19. This communitywide program — in its eighth year — is providing gifts to area children and seniors in need this holiday season.

Tags, each labeled with a different person’s holiday gift wishes, will be placed on area giving trees beginning next week.

Trees will be located at: the three Winona National Bank locations, the Winona Public Library, Videoland, Scrapper’s Haven, the Winona Post, as well as Security State Bank of Lewiston.

Individuals who want to help make someone’s season a littler merrier should visit one of these locations, take as many tags off the trees as they wish, and return the wrapped gift/s by Dec. 11 to the tree where they obtained the tag/s. The recommended amount for holiday gifts is approximately $30 per person. Tags should be securely taped to the outside of the presents.

As the gift distribution is early this year — mid December — the community is asked to begin their season of giving early as well. The success of this program depends on the generosity of the Winona-area community.

For more information, call the Gifts for Winona line at (507) 457-8719. Other community partners that join SMU to help make this program possible are the Winona Post, Winona Radio and Winona Volunteer Services.

Student art on display through Dec. 11

This relief print by Brianna Nelson is one of several pieces on display for the 2009 Undergraduate Art Show at Saint Mary’s University. The show is not limited to art majors, but is open to any SMU art student. A variety of artwork is on display Thursday, Nov. 19, through Friday, Dec. 11, in the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries, located in the Toner Student Center. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and the exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Sister Margaret Mear at mmear@smumn.edu.

A True Fighter” by Mariana Sanchez is part of the 2009 Undergraduate Art Show at Saint Mary's University. The show, currently on display at the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries, includes photographs, drawings, sculptures and prints. The exhibit will run through Dec. 11 and is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For more information, contact Sister Margaret Mear at mmear@smumn.edu.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona application deadline is Nov. 13

WINONA, Minn. — The last day to apply for the Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program is Friday, Nov. 13. People who need help obtaining holiday gifts for the children and seniors in their families should go to one of the human service agencies that they work with (Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, Project FINE, Semcac, Winona County Department of Human Services, Winona Senior Advocacy Program, Winona Volunteer Services, Winona Red Cross or Women’s Resource Center) to get a form.

Through the generosity of the Winona-area community, this annual gift-giving program helped more than 1,800 people have a much happier holiday season last year.

Other community partners that join SMU to help make this program possible are the Winona Post, Winona Radio and Winona Volunteer Services.

For more information, call the “Gifts for Winona” line at (507) 457-8719.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Page Series brings swing music to Saint Mary’s stage Nov. 19

WINONA, Minn. — Enjoy a night of energetic swing music combined with lively storytelling during the next Page Series performance of Five By Design: Club Swing on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Travel back in time beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Saint Mary’s University’s Page Theatre.

The swing era comes to life at the mythical Club Swing nightclub in the Hotel Crosby. As the nightclub faces a wrecking ball, Joe Sullivan, the club’s former mixologist, must do something to save the club.

From the frenetic-paced opening of Benny Goodman’s “Bugle Call Rag” to the show’s blockbuster finale of Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing,” Club Swing celebrates the songs, events and personalities that defined American popular culture during the swing era. Whether performing their seductive arrangement of Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine,” the madcap parody of Spike Jones’ “Cocktails for Two,” or the lush romance of Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa,” Minneapolis-based Five By Design enchants audiences by deftly blending music and theatrics.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors and are available at the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at www.pagetheatre.org.

Make your evening an event: enjoy a pre-show dinner – catered by Chartwells – in the nearby President’s Room of the Toner Student Center. Dinners can be reserved when purchasing tickets. Dinners are $22 for adults and $14 for children.

SMU Oldie Moldies to perform at Signatures Nov. 21

WINONA, Minn. — Catch dinner and a show with the Oldie Moldie All-Stars from Saint Mary’s University on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Visions Event Center.

Rock along to your favorite ’50s, ’60s and ’70s tunes while you enjoy a menu of house salad, pan-seared Canadian walleye fillet, wild rice pilaf, mixed vegetables, caper tarter sauce, rolls and butter, and a root beer float.

The Oldies are members of the national music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at Saint Mary’s. The group consists of 10 talented and engaging singers and band members. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7 p.m.; the Oldies will perform two sets, one at 6:30 p.m., and a second at 7:45 p.m.

The price for the dinner and show is $30 per person; reservations can be made now through Nov. 19 by calling Signatures at (507) 454-3767. Payment is accepted at time of reservation. A chicken or pasta option is available by reservation.

Visions Event Center is located at Signatures Restaurant, 22852 County Road 17 in Pleasant Valley.

Monday, November 02, 2009

SMU students to stage ‘The Crucible’ Nov. 12-15

WINONA, Minn. — The historical events surrounding the infamous witchcraft trials of Salem, Mass., will be portrayed in the Saint Mary’s University Department of Theatre and Dance production of “The Crucible.”

This intense play, written by Arthur Miller in 1953, includes a large, energetic cast under the direction of Larry Gorrell, former SMU dean of the School of the Arts. Show times are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 12-14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, in Page Theatre, located in the Performance Center.

One of the greatest plays of the 20th century, “The Crucible” revolves around Reverend Samuel Paris and members of his household involved in allegedly practicing witchcraft during an era when individuals were tortured and put to death for mere insinuations of such involvement. This two-act drama explores how Americans respond to non-traditional and unconventional behavior and how it is so easy to turn our backs on those who differ from us. Also evident in this extraordinary work — still relevant for today — is Miller’s perspective on the way the elders, religious leaders and lawmakers handle the gripping situation.

Authentic period costumes are designed by guest artist Jason Lee Resler, who has designed costumes for the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Lanesboro’s Commonweal Theatre, and the University of Minnesota Centennial Showboat.

The 21-member cast includes five students from Rose Bruford College, located outside of London. These students — American Theatre majors — are studying abroad at Saint Mary’s in 2009-10.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and are available at the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at www.pagetheatre.org.