MPR previews Maryan Mursal’s Midnimo residency finale concert

MPRLogoMinnesota Public Radio News recently published an article covering Somali singer Maryan Mursal’s concert series at the Cedar Cultural Center, an event co-sponsored by Augsburg College as part of the Midnimo program that seeks to build knowledge and understanding of Somali Muslim culture through music. Mursal rose to early fame as a teenager in Mogadishu, but was forced out of Somalia by war. She eventually found asylum–and a renewed musical career–in Denmark.

In addition to the concert performances, Mursal participated in public discussions, workshops, and community events, as well as a live radio performance on The Current that featured an Augsburg alumni jazz band and Somali musicians from around the world.

Read: Superstar, refugee, legend: Singer Maryan Mursal’s voice endures on the MPR News site.

MPR features Midnimo program’s Aar Maanta residency


The Cedar Cultural Center and several other Minneapolis organizations hosted popular London-based Somali singer Aar Maanta in early April as part of the Midnimo series, a two-year partnership with Augsburg College to build cross-cultural awareness, knowledge, and understanding of Somali culture through music.

The Minneasota Public Radio story “Aar Maanta is the voice of a new Somali generation” discussed the ways in which Aar Maanta’s music resonates with Minnesotans and rejuvenates the Somali music scene.

Student Spotlight: DeVante Jackson finds the Twin Cities a 'sweet spot' for jazz

Augsburg College student DeVante Jackson ’17

Augsburg College student DeVante Jackson ’17

DeVante Jackson ’17 performed jazz around campus and across town during his first semester at Augsburg College.

Jackson—a saxophone player and pianist—regularly joined the Augsburg Jazz Band on stage in Hoversten Chapel, and had experiences only available to students who study in an urban location. Jackson amplified his formal music education by accompanying professional groups and amateur artists at theaters, jazz clubs, and cultural centers throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul.

“The Twin Cities are a vibrant area for jazz musicians,” according to Andrea Canter, the Twin Cities Jazz Society’s chair of education. When compared to other U.S. cities including New York and Los Angeles, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is “…smaller in terms of population, but we have an awful lot going on. We have long been considered one of the top jazz centers in the country.” Continue reading

Revolution and rap: Augsburg student researches Arab Spring

Cantrall_research“Music is more than organized sound; it can be a message from the heart of humanity,” according to Robert Stacke, Augsburg College associate professor of music. “Music can motivate a population in a manner that words alone cannot do. It is a powerful tool that can inspire political action and send its message to the world.”

Since 2010, political protests and revolts have erupted in more than a dozen Arab nations, and one of the American media’s most significant impacts on the demonstrations came from a medium that is, perhaps, least expected. Continue reading

Short-term study abroad: a credit and an amazing experience

shortterm_abroadDuring the winter break, several students and faculty were busy learning abroad on short-term faculty-led programs through Augsburg Abroad and the Center for Global Education.

Winter faculty-led programs were:

History of Cuban Music in Cuba with Professor Bob Stacke, Music

Students experienced the fascinating culture of Cuba and its history, politics, and religion by exploring the way Cuban music has contributed to Afro-Caribbean music as a whole. Students also explored how music is used as a means of expressing cultural difference and social realities. Continue reading

The sights and sounds of Paris

parisIt is said that Paris is never more French than in the winter. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why a group of students and two Augsburg faculty spent part of their holiday break taking in the sights and sounds of Paris.

Actually, they were in the City of Light to experience the art and music. In this course, professors Merilee Klemp of the music department and Tara Sweeney of the art department worked together to develop a program that would help students understand and appreciate the intersections between the disciplines. Continue reading

Advent Vespers keeps growing at 30 years

vespersIn 1980, Augsburg Choir director Larry Fleming’s vision for the first Advent Vespers was unlike any other. Among many holiday performances, Augsburg’s program would offer a spiritual experience—a service with both music and liturgy—and the focus would be on Advent, preparing and waiting for Christ’s presence.

From this first service, Advent Vespers grew to four services. Last year, more than 10,000 people attended, making this Augsburg’s largest event of the year.

This year, as Advent Vespers celebrates its 30th anniversary, a fifth service has been added, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, offering a daytime service to more easily accommodate larger groups of visitors. Continue reading

Using art to make a difference

finearts_keystoneWhat can fine arts majors learn about themselves and their disciplines by volunteering in the community? Come to the Fine Arts Keystone final presentation on Monday to find out.

This Fall, senior students in film, music, theatre, and studio arts worked with Centro, a multi-social service agency that serves the Chicano and Latino communities. Students volunteered in the food bank and worked with children in the Siembra preschool. They blogged about their experiences throughout the term and created art respective of their disciplines as a way to reflect on their engagement with Centro. The class will present a collaborative art piece on Monday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in the lower level of Old Main. Continue reading

Making a joyful noise for 15 years

masterworksFor 15 years the Augsburg College Masterworks Chorale has provided an opportunity for alumni, staff, faculty, friends of Augsburg, and current students to come together and make a joyful noise unto the Lord–and for thousands of Twin Cities choral music lovers. The Chorale will celebrate its fifteenth year by performing In Repentence, a piece commissioned by Sergey Khvoshchinsky at its fall concert on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. at Church of the Annunciation, 509 West 54th Street in South Minneapolis.

Peter Hendrickson, director of choral activities at Augsburg College, began the Masterworks Chorale mainly to perform orchestral music, which is very different from the repertoire of the other Augsburg choirs. The chorale consists of faculty, staff, alumni, community members, and current students. Many members are professional musicians, directors of church choirs, and teachers. “It is a great representation of people from Augsburg and their relationship with the community,” Hendrickson said. Continue reading