Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Concert in Bigfork - Featuring the One Voice Mixed Chorus

One Voice Mixed Chorus—Minnesota's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and straight allies chorus—celebrates the finale of its 25th anniversary season with Minnesota Voices.  It is a concert celebrating all things Minnesota--from the State Fair, lumberjacks and folk-songs to music on a stick!  A performance of Minnesota Voices takes place at The Edge Center in Bigfork on June 22 at 7:00 pm. Tickets for this nationally recognized chorus are pay what you can. There will be a community picnic before the show at 5:00 PM at the Veterans Memorial park next to the fire hall, or if the weather is not cooperating, in the commons area of the Bigfork school.

Minnesota Voices features songs by Minnesota composers from Bob Dylan, Libby Larsen, Abbie Betinis and Rene Clausen to Prince and Semisonic! Minnesota’s international roots are highlighted in Ruth McKenzie’s setting of Kalavala, including her toe-tapping Give us Room to Roar and heart-wrenching Oi Dai.  In keeping with One Voice tradition, the concert includes many light touches including Ann Reed's State Fair Song and Benjamin Britten's Lumberjack Chorus performed in true One Voice style with live lumberjacks, flannel-wear and saws.  The concert also includes “music-on-a-stick”—sing-along moments for the audience with lyrics printed on souvenir fans.

A centerpiece of Minnesota Voices is By the Fireside, a composition commissioned by One Voice and the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. The composition by Christopher Gable, explores connections between issues of AIDS in North America and Africa.  In describing the work, Gable states, “I wanted to honor that history and all the great strides we’ve made, but to keep people from growing complacent. I also wanted to pay homage to what’s happening in Africa. It’s at the forefront of the battle with AIDS—that’s where this fight will be won or lost.”  He goes on to explain the significance of fire and light in the composition, noting “there is the wonderful tradition of fireside storytelling in Africa, where the elders share their acquired wisdom to future generations, that really spoke to me. I loved this image of community and heritage.”  Near the work’s end, he also draws on the Latin text “Lux Aeterna” from the Requiem mass, a prayer that asks for the recently deceased to be blessed by Heaven’s eternal light.  By the Fireside was originally scored for chorus, baritone solo, orchestra and an African drum ensemble. One Voice’s June concerts will feature the premiere of the chamber version scored for chorus, piano, oboe and cello. Artistic Director Jane Ramseyer Miller shown below with composer Christopher Gable.

Cellist Scott Lykins and oboist Steve Hummerickhouse are featured in By the Fireside and will also perform throughout the concert. “I wanted to integrate these fine players into many elements of the concert and especially programmed music that includes oboe and cello,” explains Ramseyer Miller.  “These two instruments have such a rich and beautiful color that is well-suited with the voice so I also re-arranged several accompaniments to incorporate them.” One of these is a choral setting of the familiar “Goin’ Home” melody from Dvorak’s New World Symphony which Ramseyer Miller, shown below with part of the chorus, arranged for chorus, piano, oboe and cello.

Minnesota Voices takes the audience on a Minnesota journey of hilarity, beauty, nostalgia and reflection with a wide variety of musical genres for young and old and every music-lover in between. “What's special about this concert,” says singer, Alan Warrior, “is the juxtaposition of the familiar with the unexpected. Whether it's the fond memories of our state fair, the celebration of our choral heritage so warmly and lovingly displayed in O My Luve's Like a Red Red Rose, or the surprising and exotic beauty of Oi Dai and Naalah (those are from...Minnesota?!), This music speaks to a Minnesota that's big enough for everyone, which to me, has always been the subtext of our mission, our devotion to building community and creating social change.”

Besides Bigfork, the One Voice Mixed Chorus’ tour goes to Bemidji and Little Falls.  It is funded in part by an Arts Touring grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders. Additional information is available at:

Minnesota Voices is presented at the Edge Center for the Arts in Bigfork (stage shown above). The chorus is expected to be joined by a number of local singers. So come to Bigfork on the June 22, join us for a very special event at The Edge Center, and come early for the picnic.



  1. Here's the Star-Trib review of the show we're bringing to Big Fork:

    Looking forward to sharing it with you!

  2. You were all amazing hosts! What a great jewel of an arts complex up in the North Woods.