In the thirteen years since a handful of St. Olaf students got together to sing for fun, a lot has happened. Cantus, the all-male choir, has been handed the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence by Chorus America. Amongst choirs it's considered the most prestigious award in the U.S. Previous recipients include the Dale Warland Singers, VocalEssence and Chanticleer.
Now, in a move similar to that of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Cantus is transforming itself into a fully musician-led artistic structure. This eliminates the position of Artistic Director (previously held by founding member Erik Lichte) and gives the choir members the ability to choose their own music and progam their own tours as a group. A press release from the choir stated "by handing the programming reins to the singers themselves, Cantus has shown its commitment to chamber music in both form and function."
Pictured above: (top row, l to r) Timothy C. Takach, Dashon Burton, Chris Foss
(middle row, l to r) Eric Hopkins, Aaron Humble, Adam Reinwald
(bottom row, l to r) Paul Rudoi, Gary Ruschman, Shahzore Shah.
Photos courtesy of Cantus
Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch (a.k.a. Florence Henderson) and NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar teamed up yesterday to petition the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan . Their goal is to make music education- or at least the arts - a core subject in a student's education.
Currently, Minnesota standards require just one credit of arts education for a student to graduate from high school. That's compared to four credits of language arts, three and a half credits in social studies, and three credits each in math and science. That art class could come in the form of music, dance, theater, or media arts. In addition students are required to take at least seven electives.
What do you think? What would be the benefit of taking music, or any art class, every year of your education? Would it come at the cost of electives? Or some other core class? Students who have a natural affinity for the arts have the choice of taking those classes as electives, so why force students who aren't naturally interested? What's the benefit?(2 Comments)
Earlier this week President Barack Obama attempted to placate impatient gay rights activists by extending partial federal benefits to same-sex partners of US government workers. Perfect timing for Choreographer and Ballet of the Dolls Artistic Director Myron Johnson to bring back his piece "Romiette and Juleo," a re-telling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette with two men in the lead roles. Promotional materials for the show invite us to "join Ballet of the Dolls to see how things may - or may not - have changed in the past 17 years."
There's plenty of music out there this weekend for all types. For those who are mourning the loss of Jorjo Fleezanis as concert chair of the Minnesota Orchestra, they can see her tonight at the White Pines Festival. Also scheduled to perform this weekend are the Charles Lazarus Group and the Miro Quartet.
Then there's Rock The Garden tomorrow at the Walker Art Center. This year's guests include The Decemberists, Calexico, Yeasayer and Solid Gold.
And then of course there's everything I mentioned yesterday.
So what are you doing this weekend?
Image courtesy of Ballet of the Dolls