Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saint Mary’s Chamber Singers to perform in Rome

WINONA, Minn. — The Chamber Singers of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will perform in Rome as part of their 2011 Concert Tour. A highlight of the tour will include the performance of two new compositions — by SMU Music faculty — at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican March 11.

The 25-voice select ensemble is directed by Dr. Patrick M. O’Shea, associate professor of music.

Tour performances will include the following liturgies and concerts:

  • Parish of S. Giovanni Battista De La Salle – 6:30 p.m. Ash Wednesday, March 9
  • Basilica of St. Peter, Vatican – 5 p.m. Mass, Friday, March 11
  • Collegio S. Giuseppe de Merode – 11:30 a.m. Concert, Saturday, March 12
  • Parish of Santa Susanna – 10:30 a.m. Mass, Sunday, March 13

The concert at S. Giuseppe is free and open to the public, and guests are welcome at the various liturgies. Repertoire will include a cappella works by Palestrina, Monteverdi, Kevin Siegfried, Moses Hogan, and world premieres of Preghiera Semplice (Prayer of St. Francis), composed by A. Eric Heukeshoven, and O Pray For the Peace of Jerusalem, composed by Dr. O’Shea especially for this tour.

Before departure, the Chamber Singers will sing as the guest choir for Mass at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, at Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago. Upon their return, they will present a free “Homecoming Concert” in Winona at the Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels, 7th and Vila streets, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 17.

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

Saint Mary’s invites public to Relay for Life March 18-19

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Colleges Against Cancer group invites the community to its 2011 Relay for Life — to be held 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday, March 18-19, in Saint Mary’s Gostomski Fieldhouse.

Teams comprised of friends, families and co-workers will join together for this fundraising effort, which celebrates people who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost, and provides an opportunity to fight back against the disease.

Last year more than 250 people participated in the event which raised more than $20,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Team members will spend the night walking around SMU’s indoor track from dusk to dawn to represent the 24-hour fight against cancer. Each team raises money for the American Cancer Society. This year’s theme is based on the American Cancer Society’s slogan; “Imagine a World with More Birthdays. I’m Making it Happen.”

Activities planned through the night include a silent auction, bingo, and other birthday-party themed games such as musical chairs, a piƱata and 'pin the tail on the donkey. Performances by a student band and the SMU Dance Team are also planned.

If you are thinking about creating a team; if you would like to come and support the American Cancer Society’s efforts; if you would like to celebrate cancer survivors and remember those you have lost; or if you would like to be recognized as a survivor and have your success celebrated, come to this event. Participants are welcome to stay for as much or as little as their schedules allow.

To sign up, go to The deadline to be part of SMU’s Relay for Life is Friday, Feb. 25.

For more information, contact Kaitlin Wermerskirchen at

Saint Mary’s hockey team hits the nets with Big & Little Pals

WINONA, Minn. — Approximately 50 youth and Saint Mary’s University students involved with Big & Little Pals enjoyed an evening of hockey at SMU Friday, Feb. 18. The group teamed up with members of the SMU Men’s Hockey team for some off-the-ice hockey training. The Pals had dinner on campus before enjoying obstacle courses, stick handling and shooting pucks. The evening concluded with an SMU Men’s hockey game vs. Gustavus Adolphus. Big & Little Pals pairs SMU students with first- through fourth-graders from the Winona community for a year. The pairs meet once a week for a fun mentoring activity.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Next SMU Page Series event highlights our nation’s history

WINONA, Minn. — The Pushcart Players will present the musical tribute “Let Freedom Ring: America at the Beginning” as part of Saint Mary’s University’s Page Series Thursday, March 3.

The robust musical review that celebrates our nation’s birth and development will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Page Theatre, located in the Performance Center.

Audiences will enjoy a history lesson come to life — “Let Freedom Ring” is a compilation of authentic folk songs and vignettes that illustrate significant moments in history.

The play begins with the beginning of time, moving quickly to the arrival of the first Americans from Asia. With the passage of approximately 30,000 years (in under five minutes!), Freedom introduces second Americans who arrive on the Eastern shores in 1620, after a long and arduous journey from England.

Among the new settlers are four main characters —Sam, Sarah, Jennie and Ginny — who transcend time, distance and circumstance to lead us chronologically and geographically through two centuries of our American past. Their journey through the landscape of America includes whistle stops along the way to witness early encounters with Native Americans, disputes with Mother England, the Boston Tea Party, American Revolution, westward expansion, Underground Railroad, Civil War, California Gold Rush and Industrialization.

The finale is a spirited medley of international songs that celebrate the new wave of immigration at the turn of the 20th century.

Nominated for an Emmy for its two prime time specials on CBS, Pushcart Players will be celebrating its 35th year as a touring ensemble.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for seniors and students 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

Saint Mary’s University is a fiscal year 2010 recipient of an Institutional Presenter Support grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Saint Mary's University welcomes noted journalist to Minneapolis campus

“Under-Told Stories” project connects Twin Cities to under-reported stories of poverty, global health, and the environment

MINNEAPOLIS – Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota announced today its partnership with the “Under-Told Stories” project, which shares stories from some of the world’s most remote locations through PBS NewsHour and other media organizations. The partnership brings “Under-Told Stories” Director Fred de Sam Lazaro to the university’s Minneapolis campus, provides new learning opportunities to Saint Mary’s students, and is intended to raise awareness for the local ramifications of global issues.

A resident of Saint Paul, de Sam Lazaro is the face of the “Under-Told Stories” project. He has reported from almost 50 countries and has served PBS NewsHour since 1985. He regularly covers global health, poverty and development, environmental issues, and social entrepreneurship. He led the first American news crew that reported on the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region, and he also directed films from India and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the acclaimed PBS documentary series, Wide Angle.

What the partnership means locally

De Sam Lazaro and longtime “Under-Told Stories” producer Nicole See will make their home at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and specifically the university’s Hendrickson Institute on Ethical Leadership, as part of the project’s joint commitment to journalism and teaching. Students in the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs will have access to hands-on experiences in some of the world’s developing regions. “Under-Told Stories” content will also be incorporated into the curricula of numerous Saint Mary’s courses.

“Saint Mary’s and the Hendrickson Institute provide the ideal home for our project at so many levels,” de Sam Lazaro said. “Both foster an engagement with the major global issues of the day, and our journalism is a ‘shoe-leather’ complement to the learning and debate that come from textbooks and seminars, bringing home the relevance of these issues.”

Recent “Under-Told Stories” topics include the election in Southern Sudan, Pakistan’s flood recovery, India’s strained water supply, and Iraqi refugees exiled in neighboring nations. De Sam Lazaro has also covered stories in the United States, including ancient manuscript preservation in Minnesota and technology’s impact on the patient-doctor relationship in American hospitals. “Under-Told Stories” segments are featured regularly on PBS NewsHour nationwide and are available to view anytime at

“Fred’s solutions-oriented stories bring hope out of despair and make issues from half a world away relevant to Americans,” said Lindsay McCabe, executive director of the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership at Saint Mary’s University. “‘Under-Told Stories’ raises awareness of poverty, while shedding light on the opportunities and lessons to be found in impoverished places. This aligns well with Saint Mary’s commitment to diversity, accessibility, social justice, and ethical stewardship.”

Next SMU gallery show highlights ceramic, mixed media sculptures

WINONA, Minn. — A unique grouping of ceramic and mixed media sculptures by Lisa Schreiner Truax of Saint Mary’s Department of Art and Design will be on display at SMU Feb. 24 through March 27.

The show, “Synthetic Harmony,” is free and open to the public at the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries, located in the Toner Student Center.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

An opening reception is scheduled for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at the galleries.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SMU students to perform in Intercollegiate Honor Band

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University students, clockwise from top left: Katie Lieder (Winona), Chris Engesser (Luverne); Tommy Quinn (Cannon Falls) and Ashley Buhr (Mankato) and are performing in this year’s Intercollegiate Honor Band at the Minnesota Music Education Conference in Minneapolis Feb. 17-19. The ICHB, directed this year by British conductor Keith Allen, is made up of top players from colleges and universities throughout Minnesota. After two full days of rehearsals (Thursday and Friday, Feb. 17-18) the band will perform at 9:15 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, in the Minneapolis Convention Center. This performance is free and open to the public.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Public invited to International Week events at Saint Mary’s University

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Office of Student Life will present the first annual International Week, Feb. 14-19. A full schedule of activities and speakers highlight the week, which will conclude with the second annual International Showcase. The public is invited to several events.

Wednesday, Feb. 16 – The Office of Student Life will present the movie, “Babies,” at 9 p.m. in Salvi Lecture Hall, located on the third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall. This International movie looks at one year in the life of four babies from Mongolia, Nambia, San Francisco and Tokyo. This event is free.

Thursday, Feb. 17 – Father John Lasuba will give a presentation about the unrest in Sudan at 7 p.m. in the President's Room, located in the Toner Student Center. Father Lasuba lost his father and his five brothers to war in Sudan. He was separated from his two sisters when he moved to the United States in 2004. Now he ministers to 22 new Sudanese families at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in downtown Rochester. This event is free and sponsored by the Peace and Justice Club.

Saturday, Feb. 19 — The International Showcase will begin at 8 p.m. in the dining room of the Toner Student Center. The evening will include a wide and colorful array of international music and dance, performed by many SMU international students. A freewill donation will be asked, and all proceeds will go to the Winona County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

For more information, contact Laura Schmidt at (507) 457-1648 or

Winona Arts Center hosts University Jazz night Feb. 21

WINONA, Minn. — The Winona Arts Center will host a University Jazz night, featuring students from both Saint Mary’s University and Winona State University, Monday, Feb. 21.

The event, which will begin at 7:30 p.m., will take place at the arts center, located at 5th and Franklin streets.

WSU students, directed by Dr. Richard MacDonald, will begin the evening, and performances by Saint Mary’s students, directed by Dr. John Paulson, will follow.

Friday, February 11, 2011

SMU Department of Theatre and Dance presents comedy ‘25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

WINONA, Minn. — Can you spell hilarious? The Saint Mary’s University Department of Theatre and Dance will present the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” Feb. 24-27.

Catchy musical numbers combine with colorful characters filled with youthful angst and yearnings in this one-act musical comedy directed by Dr. Gary Diomandes and music director Judy Myers.

Feel the anxious anticipation at this fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. The contestants include a Boy Scout, an allergy-plagued student, an over achiever, a tentative newcomer, the wide-eyed offspring of hippie parents, and a politically aware contestant — six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grownups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves.

“25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” spotlights the unlikeliest of heroes: a quirky yet charming cast of outsiders for whom a spelling bee is the one place where they can stand out and fit in at the same time.

With the underlying theme that losing doesn’t make you a loser, anyone who sees this show is a winner.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 24-26, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27.

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

* This show includes adult language and subject matters.

Monday, February 07, 2011

SMU sends student researchers to Scholars at the Capitol Feb. 28

WINONA, Minn. — Two students from Saint Mary’s University, along with their faculty advisors, will head to the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda on Monday, Feb. 28, to present the results of their independent research and creative scholarship at the eighth 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 14 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 37 undergraduate scholars from Minnesota private colleges and universities. Saint Mary’s students attending this year’s event include:

• Jennifer Koezly, Ham Lake, Minn., presenting on “Iron Oxide/Nanoparticle Arrays as Multimodal Imaging Agents.” Her faculty advisor is Dr. Paul Nienaber. This work stems from a summer undergraduate research experience conducted with Dr. Valerie Pierre of the chemistry department at the University of Minnesota.

• Stephanie Valentine, Omaha, Neb., presenting on “Just Truss Me: Geometric Recognizers.” Her faculty advisor is Dr. Ann Smith. Valentine will introduce Mekanix, a sketch recognition system that can recognize, correct and provide feedback on a student’s hand-drawn truss diagram in real-time.

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.