Friday, February 26, 2010

Local student awarded scholarship at Saint Mary’s

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University seniors Mary Gleich of Hastings and Sarah Weir of Oswego, Ill., have been selected as this year’s recipients of $1,000 scholarships, made available due to the generosity of 1963 Saint Mary’s alumnus Dr. F. Lee Van Horn.

The scholarship is intended for graduating seniors who have demonstrated distinction in their studies and work in social activism and social sciences.

Dr. Van Horn established the scholarships in memory of K. Basil O’Leary and Brother Julius Winkler, with whom he studied and was inspired by as an undergraduate student.

Faculty involved in the selection process consider the students’ significant and sustained contributions to activities that promote social justice and help to address the needs of many.

SMU Page Series presents Irish band Danú March 10

WINONA, Minn. — Just in time to gear up for Saint Patrick’s Day, Danú will present a spirited musical and cultural journey through Celtic history on Wednesday, March 10, as part of the Page Series at Saint Mary’s University. This event will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Page Theatre, located in the SMU Performance Center.

Hailing from County Waterford, Ireland, Danú has received worldwide acclaim. Named the Best Traditional Live Act by Irish Music Magazine and praised for their “precise, spirited musicianship” by the Washington Post, this septet gets raves for its fresh, dynamic take on Irish traditional music. A lively group on stage, Danú — named for the mother of all ancient Irish gods — features gorgeous vocals paired with accordion, fiddle, bouzouki, bodhran, guitar, uilleann pipes, flute and whistles.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $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

Make your evening an event and enjoy a pre-show Irish-themed dinner catered by Chartwells in the nearby President’s Room of the Toner Student Center. Tickets are $22 for adults and $14 for students, and seating begins at 6 p.m.

Support for the performance by Danú is provided in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

SMU Page Series presents Ned Kirk March 13-14

WINONA, Minn. – Pianist Ned Kirk will interpret Beethoven and others Saturday and Sunday, March 13-14, at Saint Mary’s University, concluding the 2009-2010 Page Series. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 13, and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 14, in Figliulo Recital Hall, located in the SMU Performance Center.

Kirk, known locally as the artistic and managing director of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival and as the chair of Saint Mary’s Department of Music, is an electrifying and sensitive interpreter of Beethoven. His technique is “impeccable” and his musicianship has been described as “marvelous.”

For the past 25 years, Kirk has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, and the 2009-2010 concert season has included performances on four continents. In the United States he is appearing in concerts from coast to coast, with recital performances in California, Nevada, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, North Carolina and Florida. Other highlights include concerto engagements with the Minnesota Orchestra and music director Osmo Vänskä at both Sommerfest and the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, as well as a concerto performance with the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra in Wisconsin. Overseas performances include 10 recitals in Kenya, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, and China. For the 2010-2011 season, Kirk will be performing in Germany, Singapore and China, as well as the United States.

Since 2007, Kirk has served as artistic and managing director of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival. Now in its fourth season, the festival is dedicated to showcasing the tremendous talent found in the region, as well as featuring some of the most important international concert artists of our time.

Kirk studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the University of Massachusetts- Amhearst, and the University of Washington.

He is also an associate professor of piano and chair of the Music Department at Saint Mary’s University. Visit his website at

Tickets are $22 for adults, $18 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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Conservatory offers free hip hop dance workshops Feb. 27-28

WINONA, Minn. — Free hip hop dance workshops will be offered Saturday, Feb. 27, and Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 West 10th St. A beginning-level class will be offered from 2-3 p.m. each day, and an intermediate/advanced class will be offered from 3-4 p.m. each day.

These hip hop classes will be taught by L.A. instructor Genevieve Draskoci-Johnson. Participants must be age 11 or older.

To register, e-mail with the names and ages of those attending the workshops, desired class level, and a contact phone and e-mail address. Parent/guardian signatures are required for students under the age of 18.

For more information about the free hip hop workshops or other MCA programming, visit or call (507) 453-5500.

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

SMU offers ‘Tri Swimming’ clinic March 1 – June 9

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University is offering “Tri Swimming,” an open-water swim training and triathlon clinic March 1 through June 9. This clinic is for beginning or advanced swimmers who are looking for a swim clinic to complement their triathlon training goals.

Many people are hesitant about triathlons because they lack confidence in their swimming abilities. This course is designed to complement the already-training tri-athlete’s workout, and also to encourage those who are intimidated by swimming, especially in open water. Participants will build skills, techniques, confidence and endurance for their next triathlon or open-water experience.

Specific open-water swimming drills, activities and simulations are planned. Participants will have an opportunity to see themselves through the use of an underwater video camera. As the weather gets warmer, the group will go outside for an open-water swim.

Every other Saturday, participants will learn about the running, cycling and transition portions of triathlons. Also during the Saturday clinics, self-maintenance and bike maintenance issues will be discussed. Participants will also have the opportunity to ride the Trinona course and run outdoors.

Athletes must be 18 or older and able to swim one length of the pool without the assistance of a flotation device.

The group meets three days a week, Monday from 6 to 7:15 p.m., Wednesday from 6 to 7:15 p.m. and Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Every other Saturday, the clinic runs 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Out-of-pool time may vary according to the activity. The clinic will be held at the eight-lane Jules Gernes Pool at Saint Mary’s. Instructors are Jami Severson, assistant swimming coach at SMU with competitive and open-water swimming experience, and Robyn Wangberg, professor of physics and an IronMan Hawaii qualifier and participant.

The course fee is $300. Register and pay online at For more information, call (507) 457-6921.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Saint Mary’s student production ‘Talking With …’ to run March 4-8

WINONA, Minn. — A collection of 11 quirky female characters will take the stage Thursday through Monday, March 4-8, as the Saint Mary’s University Department of Theatre and Dance presents “Talking With …” The production, under the direction of Dr. Gary Diomandes, begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Valéncia Academy Theatre, located at 10th and Vila streets. The Sunday show begins at 3 p.m.

Written by Jane Martin, “Talking With …” features 11 very different women including: a young woman who tests her Christian faith by handling poisonous snakes; a baton twirler who sees the face of Jesus 30 feet in the air; a destitute woman who wants to live in McDonald’s, where the sick are cured by Big Macs and no one ever dies; and a housewife who escapes to Oz every day.

They make us laugh and they make us think. And even when their challenges and crises appear larger than life, the characters embody universal issues: unbearable loneliness, crises of confidence, bereavement, loss of hope and struggles with faith. Their idiosyncratic characters amuse, move and frighten audiences while always speaking from the depths of their souls.

Tickets for adults 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

Public invited to SMU Cardinal Plunge March 6

Proceeds from the first Cardinal Plunge will be split between a fund in honor of SMU student Michael Mockler and Haiti relief.

WINONA, Minn — Brave souls and warm hearts are invited to join Saint Mary’s University in the first “Cardinal Plunge” Saturday, March 6. This freezing fundraiser begins at 1 p.m. at Lake Goodview, located at Michael LaCanne Park.

This year, “Cardinal Plunge” proceeds will be split between Haiti relief efforts and a fund in honor of Michael Mockler, a current sophomore at Saint Mary’s who has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The cost for this event is $10, and all participants will receive a “Cardinal Plunge” T-shirt. This event is sponsored by several organizations at Saint Mary’s including Campus Ministry, Residence Life, Chartwells and the Student Activities Committee. Community sponsors include the Winona Dive and Rescue, EMS of Winona and Aaron Repinski with Rip-Roaring Entertainment.

Registration begins at noon on site or participants can pre-register online at and pay the day of the plunge. Donations can be made to the Michael Mockler Fund, Saint Mary’s University, 700 Terrace Heights #288, Winona, MN 55987.

Refreshments will be available.

For more information, contact Izzy Kobs at (608) 547-3868 or

Area students can win prizes, scholarships in Saint Mary’s business idea contest

WINONA, Minn. — The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary’s University is hosting a business idea contest for budding student entrepreneurs.

The contest is open to all high school and community and technical college students in the region.

A total of $1,000 in cash prizes, plus merchandise and scholarships will be awarded. Entries must be received by Monday, March 15.

Students can enter their ideas by going to and completing a questionnaire about their business ideas. They can then submit their entries online or print the forms and mail them to Saint Mary’s University, 700 Terrace Heights #56, Winona, MN, 55987. High school and community and technical college entrants will compete in two separate divisions.

Several years ago, SMU alumnus Dr. John Kabara and his wife Betty, from Galena, Ill., made a generous gift to Saint Mary’s to establish the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. A lifelong entrepreneur, particularly in the area of medical research, Dr. Kabara’s goal is to incite a passion for entrepreneurial spirit in students and to recognize the importance of entrepreneurship in society.

Dr. Thomas Marpe, dean of the School of Business, said this is a great opportunity for students to use their imagination in thinking of an idea for a business. “We know that small businesses create most of the new jobs in this country every year. If we hope to maintain the standard of living we enjoy today and have meaningful employment, entrepreneurship is necessary. We hope this competition inspires a new generation of entrepreneurs.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SMU Page Series introduces The Wailin’ Jennys Feb. 24

WINONA, Minn. – Saint Mary’s University will welcome the mesmerizing and melodious talents of The Wailin’ Jennys on Wednesday, Feb. 24. This acoustic female trio will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Page Theater, located in the SMU Performance Center.

With three extraordinary voices, two founding singer-songwriters and one singular vision, the Wailin’ Jennys — originally from Canada’s mid-western heartland — are continuing to evolve into far more than the melodious sum of their individual talents.

Founding members Nicky Mehta and Ruth Moody are delighted to welcome New York-based alto singer Heather Masse and Vancouver-based fiddler Jeremy Penner to The Wailin’ Jennys.

The Wailin’ Jennys have toured three continents and are enjoying burgeoning international acclaim and a rapidly growing fan base. They continue to garner rave reviews for their album, “Firecracker,” which has spent over 30 weeks in the Top 5 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart. “Firecracker” also rose to No. 2 on the Amazon Top Sellers Chart.

Over the past few years, The Wailin’ Jennys have made many appearances on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” sharing the stage with luminaries such as Bonnie Raitt and Meryl Streep.

Tickets for this Page Series event are $25 for adults and $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 This concert is supported in part by Theatre du Mississippi.

Saint Mary’s to display sculpture from Missouri artist

WINONA, Minn. — A unique exhibit of sculptures, some using found objects, that “exhume, analyze and challenge past and present issues,” will be on display Thursday, Feb. 25, through Friday, March 26, at Saint Mary’s University.

Chris Wubbena, assistant professor in the Department of Art at Southeast Missouri State University, will display “the de minimis series” (a term often used to reference trivial or unworthy matters) in the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries.

Wubbena’s show will feature a group of three large-scale floor pieces, each constructed out of materials such as wood, steel, concrete, paper, clothing and found objects, as well as six slide-projection pieces, each projecting images onto masking tape adhered to bricks. “The de minimis series” also features thunderous sound projection sculptures and wall-mounted sculptures consisting of manipulated books.

An opening reception for the artist is scheduled for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at the galleries, which are 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

SMU Chamber Singers to present Homecoming Concert

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Chamber Singers will present a Homecoming Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, at Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels on the Saint Teresa campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The 22-voice select ensemble, directed by Dr. Patrick O’Shea, is touring Colorado as part of their 2010 Concert Tour. Tour highlights include performances at the Chapel of Our Savior and the St. Paul Catholic Church, both located in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Repertoire will include a cappella works by Willan, Scarlatti, O’Shea, Hatfield and Woollen, as well as some vocal jazz material.

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

SMU sends student researchers to Scholars at the Capitol Feb. 25

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. 25, 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 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — will showcase current research projects completed by 34 undergraduate scholars from Minnesota private colleges and universities. Saint Mary’s students attending this year’s event include:

• Ryan Soukoup, Sleepy Eye, Minn., presenting on “Cultural Change and the Dakota Uprising.” One of his faculty advisors is Dr. Elizabeth Throop.

• Keith Fahrforth, Warrenville, Ill., and Michelle Hermes, Roseville, Minn., presenting on “The Effects of Atrazine on Pack Cell Volume, Gender and Development of Gallus Gallus.” Their faculty advisor is Dr. Debra Martin.

The Minnesota Private College Council represents 17 well-respected liberal arts colleges and universities with 60,000 students. These institutions award 30 percent of the baccalaureate degrees in the state.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Winona’s Poet Laureate plans two public events in February

WINONA, Minn. — Winona’s Poet Laureate Ken McCullough will host two public events in February.

As part of the Food for Thought Lecture Series, he will present a talk titled The Poet as Witness at noon Wednesday, Feb. 10, in the May Murray Room at the Winona Historical Society.

Memoir and creative non-fiction have become the most popular form of writing today, but first-person writing has been part of the American voice since Thoreau's "Walden" and Whitman's "Song of Myself." McCullough, who also works at Saint Mary’s University, will explore this particular American phenomenon by sharing examples from his own work and the work of other contemporary poets.

McCullough and performance artist Marilyn Klinkner will co-host a pre-Valentine's Day poetry round robin at the Winona Arts Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10. The public is invited to bring a love poem (or poems) to read (or have read), especially original work. Source books will be available. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact McCullough at (507) 457-8737.

SMU Chamber Singers to perform in Colorado

WINONA, Minn. – The Chamber Singers of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will perform a series of concerts in Colorado as part of their 2010 Concert Tour.

The 22-voice select ensemble is directed by Dr. Patrick O’Shea, associate professor of music at Saint Mary’s.

Tour performances will include concerts at:

• Chapel of Our Savior (Colorado Springs) – 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19;
• St. Paul Catholic Church (Colorado Springs) – 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21.

The Chamber Singers will also serve as guest choir for Masses at St. Paul Catholic Church in Colorado Springs at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21, and before departing at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Winona at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14.

All performances are free and open to the public. Repertoire will include a cappella works by Willan, Scarlatti, O’Shea, Hatfield and Woollen, as well as some vocal jazz material.

For more information, call (507) 457-1598, or fax (507) 457-1611.