Friday, January 30, 2009

Fox receives National Catholic Education Association award

WINONA, Minn. — Dr. Mary Catherine Fox, professor of interdisciplinary studies at Saint Mary’s University, was presented with the National Catholic Education Association’s Distinguished Graduate Award Sunday, Jan. 25, at Holy Angels School in Aurora, Ill.

Dr. Fox was honored for “exemplifying the highest qualities of Catholic Education” and for “rendering distinguished service to the Catholic Church and the United States of America.” The award is not presented every year, and encompasses the Aurora Deanery of the Rockford, Ill., diocese.

Her nomination for the award came from a fellow classmate and current teacher at Holy Angels, Nancy Nardone.

After graduating from Holy Angels School in 1967, Fox attended Rosary High School in Aurora and then went on to Saint Mary’s College where she received her bachelor’s degree and then master of science in telecommunications.

Fox has worked at Saint Mary’s for 19 years, serving as the dean of business, vice president for university relations and as professor of interdisciplinary studies.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dance Repertory Company auditions are Feb. 6

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts will host auditions for the Dance Repertory Company’s annual spring concert, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 West 10th St.

The company is seeking intermediate and advanced dancers with modern, jazz, or pointe training. Roles are available for male and female dancers, ages 13 and older.
Interested candidates are asked to bring a photo of themselves, planning calendars, and proper shoes/attire to the audition.

The DRC will present its annual spring concert, featuring the classical ballet La Bayadère and well as contemporary jazz and modern works, May 14-16 at the Saint Mary’s University Page Theatre.

The Dance Repertory Company is the performing troupe of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts of Saint Mary’s University. Company members participate in rehearsals, technique classes and stage performances. Past productions of the company include: The Firebird, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Excerpts from Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Goodman Suite, Youth In Motion, Tappin' to Connick, and Pure Entertainment, among others.

For more information about the Dance Repertory Company or the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, visit or call (507) 453-5501.

SMU invites community to events as part of ‘Our Drinking Fountains, Our Water’ project

WINONA, Minn. — Five local institutions are collaborating with the Minneapolis-based In the Heart of the Beast Puppet-Mask Theater to spearhead a community-wide program, “Our Drinking Fountains, Our Water.”

As part of the theater’s residency activities, Saint Mary’s will attempt to raise community awareness about our drinking water through the creation of art and through performance around that art.

Accordingly, the public is invited to a daily mask-making activity from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Feb. 2-5, at Lake Park Lodge. The activity will celebrate our water commons through the collective creation of papier-mâché masks, bowls and a large water dragon. These creations will be used on Friday for the performance/celebration of an ancient English ritual known as well-dressing or, in this case, water-fountain-dressing.

The culminating celebration will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, at Saint Mary’s University. The celebration will involve student-designed installations, the created masks and dragon, and "performances" that are to be centered around drinking fountains in the Toner Student Center and Hoffman, Lasalle, and Saint Mary’s Halls. A map of all of the "dressed" fountains will be available at all of the installation sites and on the following website:

Both opportunities are free, and no experience is necessary.

Winona State University, Saint Mary’s University, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, Southeast Minnesota Water Resources Board and the City of Winona are incorporating the water theme into classes, presentations and activities this year. Plans also include the highlighting and decorating of public drinking fountains on the college campuses and in the City of Winona, as well as raising awareness through visual art and performance. The goal of the project is for the community to achieve a broader and deeper understanding of water quality and stewardship. This project is funded by the State of Minnesota through the Minnesota Campus Compact.

For more information, call Dr. Joe Tadie, (507) 457-6652 or e-mail

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Openings available in MCA’s Winona Area Youth Singers

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts invites area students in grades three through six to participate in a new youth choir, the Winona Area Youth Singers (WAYS).

Young people who have been introduced to choir and music in their elementary or middle schools and are seeking additional educational and performance opportunities are encouraged to attend. WAYS is dedicated to providing quality, artistic, and educational programs for all young people, regardless of their financial circumstances.

The repertoire and focus of WAYS will be more intensive by nature. The choir is meant to complement a student’s current vocal training.

Semester II WAYS members will participate in a spring concert (May 3), a special mentorship program with Saint Mary’s University, and in community outreach by performing at nursing homes and for other charitable events.

WAYS is directed by Lindsy O’Shea, who holds a Masters of Arts in Instruction and a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music Performance from Saint Mary's University. She has been involved with choral music — as a singer or director — for 15 years. O'Shea previously taught choral and general music in the Rochester and Faribault Public Schools. Additionally, she worked with the choirs of Blue Lake Fine Arts camp and with the Michigan State University Children's Choir. She is currently adjunct faculty with Saint Mary's, where she directs the women's choir and teaches private voice lessons. She also sings with the La Crosse Chamber Chorale.

WAYS meets weekly throughout the semester on Thursdays, 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 West 10th St. Registration is currently being accepted and will remain open through Jan. 26.

Semester II tuition for participation in WAYS is $150. Full and partial financial need-based scholarships are available for WAYS participants through MCA’s scholarship fund, provided by the Hiawatha Education Foundation.

For more information about WAYS or MCA's other performing arts programming, visit, e-mail or call (507) 453-5501.

SMU Page Series offers ‘If you Give a Pig a Pancake’ and other stories Feb. 6

WINONA, Minn. — It’s no ordinary pig tale. Audience members will learn why it’s probably poor judgment to give a pig a pancake Friday, Feb. 6, at Saint Mary’s University. The Page Series presentation, which begins at 6:30 p.m., features Theatreworks USA in this familiar children’s story where offering a pig syrup leads to baths, baths lead to bubbles, bubbles lead to rubber ducks, and rubber ducks lead to wanting a trip to the farm. This, along with many other favorite kids’ storybooks will come to life on the SMU Page Theatre stage. Stories may include “Diary of a Worm,” “Fluffy the Classroom Guinea Pig,” “Horace & Morris but Mostly Dolores,” “How I Became a Pirate,” “Lilly’s Big Day,” “The Paper Bag Princess” and “Ruby Mae Has Something to Say.”

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. Monday through Friday or online at

Tickets sold out for Acrobats of China at SMU

WINONA, Minn. — Tickets are sold out for the Acrobats of China presentation Tuesday, Feb. 3, at Saint Mary’s University. The Page Series event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in SMU’s Page Theatre, will be a night of wonder for the whole family.

The Acrobats of China will combine martial arts, spectacular costumes and breathtaking acrobatics. In this long-established Chinese tradition, every-day objects become tools to showcase the skills of the jugglers, spinners, and acrobats of this present-day troupe. The audience will watch in amazement as 15 people balance on a bicycle, performers spin dozens of cups and saucers while doing the splits, and many other amazing feats of strength and flexibility.

Although the show is sold out at this time, a few seats may become available the evening of the performance. Patrons still wanting to attend are asked to arrive early to be put on a waiting list. The box office opens at 6:30 p.m. the evening of the show. If any seats do become available, they will be available first come, first served. A waiting list will not be created until the box office opens the evening of the show.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Artist reception for Solberg is Jan. 22 at Saint Mary’s

A reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, for local artist Mary Solberg whose mixed-media icon paintings are featured in the Ben Miller Lobby of the Saint Mary’s University Performance Center through Feb. 9.

“Everyday icons are images of people or animals living or dead, contemporary or historic whom I wish to venerate on a personal level,” Solberg said. “No less an icon for their familiarity, the mixed media paintings incorporate metal leaf, beeswax and oil to create a portrait, which celebrates the sacred in all of us.”

To view her work, go to

Monday, January 12, 2009

Russian National Ballet’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ on stage Jan. 27 at Saint Mary’s University

WINONA, Minn. — The classic fairytale “Sleeping Beauty,” a full-length ballet in three acts, will be performed by the Russian National Ballet Theatre Tuesday, Jan. 27, at Saint Mary’s University’s Page Theatre.

“Sleeping Beauty,” a crowning jewel of choreographer Marius Petipa’s career, is often considered the finest achievement of classical ballet. Good will triumph over evil beginning at 7:30 p.m. Audiences will enjoy a lavish theatrical set, complete with magical effects and courtly splendor.

Pyotr IIyich Tchiakovsky was delighted with the invitation to write the music for a ballet based on Charles Perrault's well-known fairytale. A baby princess, condemned at her christening by an evil fairy to prick her finger and die on her 16th birthday, is saved by the gift of the good Lilac Fairy, who declares the princess will only sleep until awakened by the kiss of a prince. The fairytale, replete with a king and queen, fairies both good and evil, a beautiful princess and dream prince, lent itself perfectly to the full evening ballet that was Petipa's pride.

The Russian National Ballet Theatre, formerly known as the Soviet National Ballet, was founded in Moscow by graduates from the Russian Choreographic schools of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Perm in the transitional period of Perestroika in the late 1980s. This was a time when many of the great dancers and choreographers of the Soviet Union’s ballet institutions were exercising their new-found creative freedom by starting new, vibrant companies — dedicated not only to the timeless tradition of classical Russian Ballet but to invigorating this tradition as the Russians began to accept new developments in dance from around the world.

In 1994, the legendary Bolshoi principal dancer Sergei Radchenko was selected by Presidential decree to assume the first permanent artistic directorship of the company.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students and are available at the SMU Box Office (507) 457-1715 or online at Pre-show dinners are available at $20 for adults or $12 for youth.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts registration open house is Thursday

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts semester II registration open house will be held 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 West 10th St.

Registration for Winona Area Youth Singers (WAYS) choir and semester II dance classes, beginning Jan. 12, will be accepted at the open house. Students will have the opportunity to tour of the facility, enjoy refreshments, and meet new and returning faculty and staff. Students can be also be fitted for all their dance attire needs at the open house. MCA’s dance attire boutique offers quality basics including leotards, tights, ballet slippers, jazz shoes and tap shoes.

Dance class offerings are available for adults and children older than 3; they include beginning through advanced levels in classical ballet, tap, jazz, creative movement and modern, and hip hop. The Dance Technique for Boys and Men’s Class is a special tuition-free boys program.

Semester II also provides programming specifically for beginning teens and adults by offering classes in partnership with Winona County Community Education including: Clogging I, Clogging II, Dance Fitness, Power Piyo, and Teen and Adult Ballet. Academic credit is available through Cotter High School and Saint Mary’s University for a variety of MCA dance classes.

The official youth choir of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, WAYS offers students in grades 3 through 6 additional educational and choral performance opportunities. Semester II WAYS members will participate in a spring concert, a special mentorship program with Saint Mary's University choirs, and in community outreach by performing at nursing homes and for other charitable events. Placement for new members will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 9 at Valéncia Arts Center. WAYS is dedicated to providing quality, artistic, and educational programs for all young people, regardless of their financial circumstances.

WAYS and semester II dance classes provide 10 to 14 weeks of instruction, depending on the specific course/activity registered for. Dance classes conclude with a demonstration week, April 13-18. WAYS will conclude the semester with the presentation of a spring concert, May 3. Tuition for MCA classes varies depending on course length and level. Discounts and scholarships are available.

In addition to participation in classes, dance students ages 13 to 25 are invited to audition for MCA’s performing troupe, The Dance Repertory Company. Auditions will be held in late January (specific audition date to be announced). The DRC will present an annual spring concert, May 14-16 at Saint Mary’s University Page Theatre.

For more information about MCA’s open house, dance classes, WAYS, or future performances, visit, e-mail or call (507) 453-5500.

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

‘SMU 10K’ citizens classic ski is Jan. 25 at Saint Mary's University

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University is inviting the public to the annual "SMU 10K" classic ski event on Sunday, Jan. 25.

“We’re very fortunate to have an excellent trail system here that is both scenic, as well as challenging," said Chris Kendall, vice president for student development. “And this year we actually have snow, thanks to our new snow-making capabilities as a result of a partnership with the Winona Ski Club.”

The classic-style citizens ski event will be held at Saint Mary's University, home to one of the region's finest cross country trail systems. The trails wind through the bluffs and valleys above the Mississippi River. New trails along Gilmore Creek have been added this year.

The event is open to all individuals, with a mass start slated for 1 p.m. On-site registration will begin at 11 a.m. at the SMU Toner Student Center. The cost is $10, which includes a souvenir race bib and a completion medal. Medals will be awarded for men and women in open and recreational classes.

For more information or to receive a registration form, call Davey Warner at (507) 457-8740. Check out more information online at

Saint Mary's University is located on Hwy. 14, one mile west of Hwy. 61 in Winona.