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Grateful this program survived the chopping block

In 2016, it appeared the 50th anniversary of UW-River Falls' Commissioned Composer Program would be its last.

Fortunately, despite worrisome budget cuts, the program — the most enduring of its kind in America — has survived the chopping block.

Looking back at the roster of composers whose originality — including the annual commissioned piece — has graced these concert halls, UWRF's Music Department should be honored to have contributed to the careers of these composers and to have inspired the wonder of composition, tapping the imaginations of students who are exposed to a wonderful tradition.

This year's commissioned composer is Jocelyn Hagen.

Beginning as a songwriter, choral music increasingly attracted her. While on campus, she will work with students, faculty, instrumentalists, singers and choral groups.

At the end of the week, the following two events are open to the community. At 3p.m. Thursday, March 23, a lecture is scheduled at Kleinpell Fine Arts Center, Room 129.

The intense process culminates with the 51st annual Commissioned Composer Concert at 7:30 p.m. in Abbott Concert Hall, KFA. The composer's work and the premiere of the commissioned piece she has written for UWRF will be performed by music students. Free admission to both.

Hagen's music has been performed all over the world. The Twin Cities' Star Tribune described her music as "dramatic and deeply moving."

Sample her work at: www.uwrf.edu/MUS/CommissionedComposers.cfm.

Here's a selection called "April and the Sun," with choral composition by Hagen and the text by Sara Teasdale:

You took my empty dreams

And filled them every one

With tenderness and nobleness,

April and the sun.

 

The old empty dreams

Where my thoughts would throng

Are far too full of happiness

To even hold a song.

 

Oh, the empty dreams were dim

And they were wide,

They were sweet and shadowy houses

Where my thoughts could hide.

 

But you took my dreams away

And made them all come true

My thoughts have no place now to play

And nothing now to do.

Other events, opportunities

• Continuing exhibition through April 2, The Phipps Center for the Arts Galleries. In addition, art classes for children, June through August, 109 Locust St., Hudson. More at www.thephipps.org.

• 7 p.m. Thursday, March 16. "Two Trains Runnin," presented by The Anderson Center in partnership with the Flyway Film Festival at the Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, Minn., www.sheldontheatre.org/page/tickets.

• 7 p.m. Saturday, March 18. Community Barn Dance with the Rush River Ramblers. Sponsored by River Falls Community Arts Base, River Falls Parks and Recreation Department at the Academy Gym, 439 W. Maple St. Adults $7, children 12 and under $2.50.

The following UWRF concerts are free at Abbott Concert Hall, KFA, unless otherwise noted:

• Noon, Friday, March 24. Coffee Concert features Natalia Moiseeva, violin; Susan Janda, viola; Teresa Richardson, cello; and Pat O'Keefe, clarinet.

• Noon, Friday, March 31. Coffee Concert features Leslie Shank, violin and Joe Hagedorn, guitar.

• Noon, Friday, April 7. Coffee Concert features Natalia Moiseeva, violin; Joan Molloy, violin; Solvoy Peterson, cello; Sue Boelbe, flute; and Laura Edman, organ.

• 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13. Trombone Choir Concert.

• Noon, Friday, April 14. Coffee Concert, Oleg Levin, piano.

• 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20. Year of Brazil, Earth Day Concert with One World Concert.

• Noon, Friday, April 21. Coffee Concert, Jovina Skantos Neto, Brazilian-American pianist/composer.

• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Year of Brazil: Universal Language X111-UWRF Jazz Ensemble.

• Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26. Hammond Arts Alliance presents "Renaissance," an exhibition of 10 artists at Foster Hall, 865 Davis St., Hammond. Opening reception at 5 p.m. and Costume Contest at 7 p.m. (Saturday only). lupineanderson//www.artreachstcroix.org/.

• 5-9 p.m. Friday, April 7. First Friday opening reception at Seasons on St. Croix, 401 Second St., Hudson.

• 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, April 7. Opening reception for the Orange Dragon Gallery, 122 Orange, St., Prescott. Exhibit runs from April 1; www.orangedragongallery.org/.

• 5 p.m. Friday, April 14. Community Arts Base's opening reception at Art's House 108 E. Maple St. Families invited to see a novel exhibition and paint fishing flies and rods.

• Save the date! Community Arts Base Spring Gala is 6-11 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at River Falls Golf Club; www.riverfallscab.org.

• Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 18, Birdhouse Auction at ArtReach St. Croix, 224 N. Fourth St., Stillwater, Minn. Also, information about Valley Reads at www.artreachstcroix.org.

• Pottery classes for adults and children at www.kinniclay.com.

This Arts Minded column is written by Phyllis Goldin.

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