Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WSU, SMU jazz groups join forces to help families in need

The Saint Mary's University Jazz Combo I

The WSU Jazz Ensemble

WINONA, Minn. — Jazz students from Winona State University and Saint Mary’s University are combining talents to help Winona-area families in need through “Jazz For Winona-Live United.”

The benefit concert — which will involve both SMU and WSU big bands and combos under the direction of Drs. John Paulson and Rich MacDonald — is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at Signatures Event Center, 22852 County Road 17.

Two WSU combos will kick off the evening followed, by the Winona State University Jazz Ensemble. Their set will include: “Soon” by George Gershwin, arranged by Don Schamber; “La Fiesta” by Chick Corea, arranged by Michael Philip Mossman; “Dizzying” by Ryan Kisor, arranged by Bob Washut; “Yesterdays” by Jerome Kern, arranged by Mark Taylor; “That’s a Good Question,” composed and arranged by Dan Kallman and commissioned for the WSU Jazz Ensemble in spring 2011; and “Hey, That’s My Bike,” composed and arranged by Brad Turner. Featured student soloists include: Ross Nixon on sax; Kelly Mason on trumpet; Jase Ginkel on trombone; and Kelly Blau on guitar.

Saint Mary’s University’s Jazz Combo I will perform jazz classics like Horace Silver’s “The Preacher,” “I'll Take Romance” and the cool bossa “Speak Low” by Kurt Weil. Alto saxophonist Markiese Russell and tenor saxophonist Ben Scott are featured soloists in the combo. The 18-piece Jazz Ensemble follows with some great selections and soloists including “My Romance” with Tyler Ringeisen on flugelhorn; “My Foolish Heart,” featuring Katy Kosiek on alto sax; and several other recognizable standards like “It Had To Be You,” arranged by Frank Mantooth. Closing the Jazz Ensemble set will be Gordon Goodwin’s rocker “Hit The Bricks.”

A cash bar will be available, and a freewill offering will be taken at the door.

All of the funds raised from this benefit will go to the Winona chapter of The United Way and their “Live United” campaign, dedicated to helping individuals and families in need in the Winona area.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saint Mary's to stage classic Irish play ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ Oct. 6-9

SMU students Katie Sapper, Alex Bush and Joanna Mills rehearse a scene from "The Playboy of the Western World."

John Millington Synge’s classic Irish comedy/tragedy, “The Playboy of the Western World” — to be staged Oct. 6-9 — is sure to touch the hearts of lads and lasses alike.

For this production, students from the Department of Theatre and Dance are under the guest direction of Patrick Sutton, who has served as director of The Gaiety School of Acting-the National Theatre School of Ireland in Dublin for the past 18 years.

The Gaiety School of Acting boasts such well-known graduates as Olivia Wilde, Colin Farrell and Stuart Townsend.

Sutton, a renowned acting coach, director and writer, has also been garnering international attention for spearheading the renovation of the historic Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin’s first theatre (1662). He is also the director of COMMUNICATE, a communications company working in politics, industry and the arts. As such, for 11 years, Sutton worked on speeches for Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

“The Playboy of the Western World” was first performed in Dublin on Jan. 26, 1907. It begins with a young Christy Mahon who has just quarreled with his father and leaves him for dead. Mahon finds his way to the village pub where he is lauded as a hero for his deed. In a classic Irish twist, his father is not dead and comes looking for his cowardly son. The quarrel continues with extremely tragic — yet sometimes humorous — results.

“There’s something we can all identify with in this play: truth, lies, bravery and valor,” Sutton said before explaining how this play can be both tragic, yet comedic. “It’s a folk play that ends in misery but there’s also dancing, slapstick and Irish comedy along the way ... . We don’t play it for laughs, but we have great fun telling the tale.”

The show runs 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 6-8, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9.

Tickets for all shows are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and can be purchased at or at the SMU Box Office, (407) 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SMU offers full weekend of student performances

Flute player Emily Fasen, Monticello, Minn.

WINONA, Minn. — Two public student performances — a jazz concert and a choir and band performance — highlight Saint Mary’s University’s upcoming Family Weekend Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

• SMU jazz groups will kick off their year with a fall blast at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, in Figliulo Recital Hall, located in the Performance Center. Jazz Combo I (a new and hot jazz nontet) will fire off the show with jazz classics like Horace Silver’s “The Preacher,” “I'll Take Romance” and the cool bossa “Speak Low” by Kurt Weil. Alto saxophonist Markeise Russell and tenor saxophonist Ben Scott are two of the student soloists featured in the combo. The 18-piece Jazz Ensemble follows with some selections including “My Romance” with Tyler Ringeisen on flugelhorn, “My Foolish Heart” featuring Katy Kosiek on alto sax, and several other recognizable standards like “It Had To Be You,” arranged by Frank Mantooth. Closing the Jazz Ensemble set will be Gordon Goodwin’s rocker “Hit The Bricks.” Both groups are directed by professor of music Dr. John Paulson. Two jazz workshop combos, directed by Dr. Paulson and Eric Heukeshoven, will play for a reception following the concert in the Toner Student Center Lounge.

•The SMU Concert Band and Choirs will combine talents for a 2 p.m. concert Saturday, Oct. 1, at Page Theatre. The SMU Concert Band , under the direction of Dr. Janet Heukeshoven, will start the concert with “Bayou Breakdown” by Brant Karrick, followed by the “First Suite in E♭” by Gustav Holst, and finishing with an arrangement by John Wassen of music from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” The Chamber Singers will perform a set of Swedish folksongs arranged by Hugo Alfvén, and the Concert Choir will present selections by Fauré, and Gilbert and Sullivan. Both choirs are directed by Dr. Patrick O’Shea. The Women’s Choir, directed by Lindsy O’Shea, will also perform. A reception will follow in the Toner Student Center Lounge.

Tickets to both performances 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. weekdays or online at Tickets are also available at the door.

Panel to conduct ‘Inter-Religious Dialogue’ Oct. 3 at Saint Mary’s University

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University is inviting the public to an “Inter-Religious Dialogue” Monday, Oct. 3.

Three guest speakers will discuss how Christianity, Islam and Judaism relate the dignity of the person to the intersection of faith, work and vocation.

Michael Naughton is the holder of the Alan W. Moss Endowed Chair in Catholic Social Thought at the University of Saint Thomas. He is also the director of the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought, at the Center for Catholic Studies, which examines Catholic social thought in relationship to business theory and practice.

Brian Shapiro, associate professor in the Accounting Department of Saint Thomas, co-teaches with Naughton on the senior capstone theology course on the intersection of faith and management. He is an active member of Bet Shalom, a Reform Jewish Congregation in Minnetonka.

Tamim Saidi, born in Afghanistan, was forced to escape Pakistan as a teenager and came to the U.S. in 1990. He is vice president of the Islamic Resource Group and a vice president and founding member of the Northwest Islamic Community Center. He also participates in a writers group for, a local group with a mission to improve the understanding of Minnesotans about their Muslim neighbors and Islam.

The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Figliulo Recital Hall, located in the SMU Performance Center.

Co-sponsors include SMU’s Offices of Campus Ministry and Academic Affairs, the Office for Mission, the Theology Department and Student Activities.

For more information, contact Dennis Gallagher at (507) 457-6936.

Speaker to address business ethics, story of incarceration Oct. 5 at SMU

WINONA, Minn. — Jerome Mayne, a former mortgage-banking executive and white-collar criminal, and renowned motivational speaker, will present “Professional Ethics” Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Saint Mary’s University.

The event — free and open to the public — is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Salvi Lecture Hall, located on the third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall.

Using humor, Mayne will share his personal experience in the finance world and of his incarceration for white-collar crime. Mayne hopes his story inspires students and business professionals to use their own morality to make the right decisions — even when the right decisions aren’t easy.

Mayne’s presentation is co-sponsored by SMU’s offices of Campus Ministry, Student Life and Student Activities, the Business Department and the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

For more information, contact Dennis Gallagher at (507) 457-6936 or

Saint Mary’s invites community to submit ‘to-do’ lists for ‘Make a Difference Day’

WINONA, Minn. — In recognition of national “Make a Difference Day,” Saint Mary’s University’s Volunteer Mentors group is inviting Winona residents and nonprofit agencies to submit requests for service.

The university hopes to get as many students as possible out into the community between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday, Oct. 22. Students are willing to help individuals and organizations with anything from painting to yard work.

Saint Mary’s will supply the workers, if you supply the materials needed (paint, brushes, rakes, tools, etc.).

“Make a Difference Day” is the most encompassing national day of helping others, a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Created by USA WEEKEND magazine, this annual event takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. For the fourth year, SMU is proud to join the millions of people throughout the nation who are participating.

To register your request, please call Chris McClead at (507) 457-7268 or e-mail by Monday, Oct. 10. Please include details about what you need done, how many students are needed for the job and where you are located.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saint Mary's invites public to Fall Frolic Oct. 1

WINONA, Minn. — The public is invited to participate in the 24th Fall Frolic 5K fun run/walk at Saint Mary’s University Saturday, Oct. 1.

Registration will run from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in SMU’s Toner Student Center with the race beginning at 10 a.m. The $8 cost includes a T-shirt.

The annual event is free to SMU students, faculty and staff, but is open to the community as well. Typically close to 500 people participate; competitors of all levels (including walkers) are welcome.

Participants will enjoy the beautiful bluff trails of SMU’s Winona campus. Registration forms — as well as a complete weekend schedule — are available online at

Family Weekend runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 and includes a full slate of activities for families of students and the SMU community. In previous years, as many as 1,000 visitors have come onto campus for Family Weekend music and theatre events, sporting events, the Fall Frolic, and other games and activities.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Constitution Day presentation is Sept. 21 at Saint Mary’s

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University will celebrate Constitution Day with a presentation titled, “The Puzzle of Presidential Selection” by Dr. Tom Mans, professor of Social Science at SMU. The public is invited to this event, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Salvi Lecture Hall, located on the third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall.

How to find the right president was one of the most difficult questions faced by the framers of the Constitution in 1787. Mans will discuss the options considered at the time and how the Electoral College system came to be chosen. Over time, with the emergence of political parties and communication technologies, the process has evolved in ways that the framers had not expected – and on some occasions has produced an electoral crisis.

Mans is a political scientist with expertise in American political institutions and processes. His undergraduate degree was earned at St. John’s University and his master’s and doctoral degrees are from the University of Iowa. Prior to coming to Saint Mary’s in 2007, he taught or was in academic administration at Berea College, The University of Iowa, Creighton University, and Saint Vincent College.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Saint Mary’s gallery displays work by woodblock printmakers in support of Japan

“Kamakura Omikuji” by Preston Lawing of Saint Mary’s University is one of the pieces in “Inspired by Japan,” now on display at Saint Mary’s Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries. When visiting a Shinto temple, you may receive a fortune (Omikuji). If it is bad (Kamakura), you can tie it on a rope outside the temple, and the priests will burn them at the end of the day, sending the smoke “back to heaven.” The written words are “earthquake” and “tsunami.” This print is saying, “We do not accept this disaster as our fate, and we continue to be strong.”

WINONA, Minn. — After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March of this year, artists and printmakers from around the world gathered to produce a suite of prints titled “Inspired by Japan” to raise money for relief efforts. Their work — including a print by Preston Lawing, chair of the Saint Mary’s University Department of Art and Design — is now on display at SMU’s Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries.

This exhibition — which will run through Sunday, Oct. 2 — brings together 60 printmakers in a show that will run concurrent with several other venues including South Africa, Japan, Poland, Michigan and Oregon.

For several centuries, Japan has been famous for the Ukiyo-e style of woodcut printmaking. These 60 artists, who work in the relief form of printing (carving away parts of the woodblock, and printing the raised portion), produced limited-edition prints to be donated and sold to raise funds for disaster relief in Japan.

The Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries, located in the Toner Student Center, are open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Freshman class up 7.5 percent at Saint Mary’s University

WINONA, Minn. — Enrollment of new students continues to grow at Saint Mary’s University, with the Winona campus freshman class up 7.5 percent from a year ago. The official 10th-day-of-class count shows 373 freshmen enrolled this fall.

The total Winona undergraduate enrollment of 1,372 includes 1,318 full-time and 54 part-time students.

The larger freshman class contributes to an overall university enrollment that is expected to surpass 6,000. The official student count for Saint Mary’s Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs is taken in October.

“I often hear students and alumni talk about the quality education they experience at Saint Mary’s,” said Jim Bedtke, vice president for the College. “That quality is recognized by national ranking services and the National Survey of Student Engagement. The word is out: Saint Mary’s is an excellent place to prepare for your future.”

Saint Mary’s moves up in U.S. News ‘Best National Universities’ ranking

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota continues to move up in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of best colleges and universities.

Saint Mary’s is ranked No. 177 by U.S. News in the National Universities category for 2011, moving up six slots from No. 183 in 2010.

The ranking of more than 1,500 schools is available online at Results were announced today, Sept. 13.

“Saint Mary’s is a new kind of university for the 21st century,” says President Brother William Mann. “We are a national university committed to academic quality and relevance, and to educating our students for ethical lives of service of leadership — at every program level.”

U.S. News placed Saint Mary’s in the first tier of the “National Universities” category, which includes a total of 280 schools in two tiers. This grouping includes schools that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees. This is the fifth year Saint Mary’s is ranked in this category.

Taking top honors in the “National Universities” ranking are Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University and Columbia University. Saint Mary’s is one of only three public or private schools in Minnesota in this category.

Along with the “National Universities” category, the other main U.S. News institutional groupings include “Liberal Arts Colleges,” “Regional Universities,” and “Regional Colleges.”

U.S. News categorizes schools primarily by mission and region, and ranking data is gathered from each institution on indicators of academic excellence.

Monday, September 12, 2011

MCA begins tuition-free Adult Arts Wellness Program

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is offering tuition-free dance, fitness, and music classes to adults through the MCA Adult Arts Wellness Program.

Parents who have a child enrolled in a dance or music class/program at MCA may participate in their own class at no additional cost. Class options for parents include: Nia, Clogging, Power Piyo, Teen and Adult Ballet, Teen and Adult Tap and Jazz, and Adult Flute Choir.

“While our school’s focus is programming for youth, we think it is important for our student’s parents to also experience the joy of the arts,” said Christine Martin, managing director. “We hope this tuition-free opportunity will make it possible for more parents to participate.”

All classes and programs are held at MCA’s Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 West 10th St. Classes begin this week. Registration is currently being accepted at the Valéncia Arts Center, by mail, or online at

To accommodate the busy schedules of working parents, as well as stay-at-home parents, MCA adult classes are offered during the noon hour and in the late afternoon and evenings.

The Nia class, a fitness class for all levels, offers a dynamic blend of dance arts, martial arts and healing arts. Nia is held on Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. at the same time as MCA’s Creative Music class for 3- and 4-year-olds. Parents can sign up their young children for Creative Music while they enjoy the Nia fitness class.

Clogging I is offered for beginners on Mondays from 5:15 to 5:45 p.m., follow by Clogging II from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. for those with experience.

Power Piyo is a Pilates and yoga combination class focusing on yoga postures and Pilates strengthening to offer the perfect conditioning class. Power Piyo is held Mondays from 4 to 5 p.m.

Teen and Adult Ballet, held on Mondays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., provides an introduction to ballet technique, allowing adult students to experience the artistry of ballet while gaining flexibility, placement, strength and fluidity.

Teen and Adult Tap and Jazz provides adult students with an introduction to tap and jazz dance, offering a rhythmic-filled class and a great workout. This class is held on Tuesdays from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m.

MCA also offers music programming for adults through the new MCA Flute Choir. The flute choir is open to all community flutists of various performance levels. Flute choir members will study and perform a variety of music from serious recital pieces to fun seasonal/pops favorites. The flute choir will meet on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008.

For more information about MCA visit, e-mail or call (507) 453-5500.

Speaker to address Kwik Trip’s success Sept. 22 at Saint Mary’s

WINONA, Minn. — John McHugh, director of leadership development for Kwik Trip Incorporated, will discuss how the Wisconsin-based company evolved into an industry leader Thursday, Sept. 22, at Saint Mary’s University.

The event, hosted by SMU’s Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Salvi Lecture Hall, located on the third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall.

Kwik Trip began in Eau Claire, Wis., in 1965. Since that time, Kwik Trip has grown to more than 400 stores with 10,000 coworkers in three states and has been named a “Top Workplace” in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

A commitment to innovation means that Kwik Trip is a convenience store company unlike any other. Kwik Trip not only serves customers with convenient, clean retail centers, but also produces many of the private label products featured in the stores. Kwik Trip’s La Crosse-based headquarters operates its own commissary, bakery, and dairy and also maintains its own distribution center and fleet under the Convenience Transportation name.

McHugh’s presentation is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Trevor Hall at (507) 457-6978 or

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Terrance Simien, Zydeco Experience kick off SMU’s Page Series Sept. 16

WINONA, Minn. — The 25th season of the Saint Mary’s University Page Series will kick off with the sweet southern sounds of Louisiana with Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience Friday, Sept. 16, at Saint Mary’s University.

The event, set to take the stage at 7:30 p.m., will be held in Page Theatre, located in the SMU Performance Center.

Incorporating his hypnotic blend of Zydeco, New Orleans funk, and reggae-flavored Afro-Caribbean sound, Terrance Simien aims to propel you out of your seat and have you dancing in the aisles.

For more than two decades the Grammy-award winning artist, an eighth-generation Louisiana Creole, has been shattering the myths about what his indigenous Creole Zydeco music is and is not. Leading his Zydeco Experience Band, Simien has become one of the most respected and internationally recognized touring and recording artists in roots music today.

He has performed over 5,000 concerts, toured to over 40 countries and reached at least a million people during his eventful 25-year career. In December of 2009, Disney Pictures released a Pixar animated film, “The Princess & The Frog,” set in New Orleans, which was scored by Randy Newman and features the music of Simien, Terence Blanchard and Dr. John.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors and students and are available online at or call the box office, (507) 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. $10 student rush tickets may be available for some events 20 minutes before curtain.

Saint Mary’s is a fiscal year 2011 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.

Dance Repertory Company II Auditions are Sept. 17

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts will conduct auditions for the Dance Repertory Company II winter concert, at noon Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 West 10th St.

Auditions are open to beginning- and intermediate-level dance students ages 5 to 13. Boys and girls will be cast in concert dance pieces in one or more of the following genres: classical ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and modern dance.

Parents are asked to accompany children to the audition, bring a photo of their child, and planning calendars. Auditioning students should wear proper dance attire.

“The DRC II is a great performance opportunity for our youngest performers,” said Christine Martin, managing director. “Our directors and choreographers work with the children in a positive, nurturing and rigorous, but non-competitive environment. We are looking forward to seeing new and returning students at the auditions.”

The DRC II will present winter concerts, Dec. 2-3, 2011 at the Valéncia Arts Center Academy Theatre. The concert will feature the DRC II members who train at MCA, as well as the MCA high school and college students in their choreographic debuts, presenting their own works as part of their semester-long choreography class.

Dance Repertory Company and the DRC II are the youth performing troupes of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts. Company members participate in rehearsals, technique classes (starting Sept.12, 2011) and stage performances. Past productions of the company include: The Firebird, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Cinderella, Excerpts from Swan Lake, Cinderella, Youth In Motion, Tappin' to Connick, Pure Entertainment, Dance Mosaic, and An Evening with Benny Goodman, among others.

For more information about the DRC II or other programs offered at MCA, visit, e-mail or call (507) 453-5500.