The starting date for the 10-stop regional tour of the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra's collaboration with the Kitchigami Regional Library System's legacy tour will be Tuesday, Aug. 3.
Marian Ridge, director of KRLS approached BSO Director Beverly Everett to see if she and the BSO would be interested in a tour of the region as the marquee event of the first year of the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage funding.
The answer was a resounding yes and the pieces fell together easily. As conductor of the Bismarck Symphony Orchestra, Everett started work on this same program more than a year ago as a tribute to Art Link, the former governor of North Dakota and noted conservationist. She asked Joseph Adams, whose original work, "Efflorescence," was performed by the BSO in November 2009, to write another original piece for the proposed concert. A professor of music theory and orchestration at the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Adams composed "Quiet Landscape" which is based on the famous 1973 speech given by Link, "When the Landscape is Quiet Again." That tribute concert became a memorial concert as Link died only days before the June 12 performance. Link's widow, Grace, and family asked that the concert go on, and it was a bitter-sweet experience for the audience as they remembered a beloved and respected former governor.
Everett asked if she could use the same concert, in an abbreviated form, for this tour and was given the green light to go ahead with the project. Everett recruited a singer and actor from this area, Matthew Goinz, to sing the vocals for this piece, and Adam's brother, Jacob Adams, will be the pianist for the entire tour. Then time was spent in selecting the players for the ensemble group and they include members of the BSO. Sadie and Sarah Hamlin; Michele Laliberte, concert master; and Andrew Martin, second chair; will play the violins and viola. The ensemble is completed by Jillian Walecka on cello, Eric Allen on bass, Peg Rickert on clarinet and Susan Woodman on bassoon. BSU faculty member and flutist Susan Nelson will join the group for this tour. A second piece, "Appalachian Spring." by Aaron Copland, orchestrated for the small group by Joseph Adams, will complete the hour-long free concert.
"This symphony tour fits perfectly with the literacy focus of public libraries," said Ridge. "Like the printed word, music has a language, a grammar and tools for communicating ideas. Both call for intellectual and emotional responses - and both encourage thought and enjoyment. This concert balances the familiar with the new and introduces important new Minnesota talent to our audiences - just the KRLS libraries do."
Except for Longville, all the workshops will all be held at the same time, 2-4 p.m., at each library location and are open to the public for ages 8 and older. Everett, conductor of the BSO, will give background information on the two composers and the music that will be played during the evening performances.
The first workshop will be held from 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3, at the Bemidji Public Library, 509 America Ave. N.W. The evening performance of the BSO ensemble group will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Calvary Lutheran Church, 2508 Washington Ave. S.E. There is no admission charge for either event. On Thursday, Aug. 5, the Blackduck Public Library will host the workshop and the Zion Lutheran Church the concert.
A complete listing of the various stops and venues may be seen on the krls.org website. Upon reaching the home page, click legacy events to get to the BSO tour. The final concert of the tour will take place Wednesday, Aug. 18, in Bemidji and notice of the location will be published.
"It's an honor for us to share this wonderful music and the talents of the BSO musicians as part of our legacy in our five-county area," said Ridge. "It's been a special pleasure for me to work with music director Beverly Everett and composer Joseph Adams to put this tour together."