M State’s ‘Down by the Riverside’ explores area’s history in song

DownbytheRiverCome take a trip “Down by the Riverside” as the Minnesota State Community and Technical College choirs combine music and Otter Tail County history in their annual spring concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, in Legacy Hall on the Fergus Falls campus.

Conducted by Michael Trosvig, M State’s Concert Choir and Vocal Ensemble will perform Civil War-era music from the time period when this area was settled, a connection that’s reflected in landmarks such as the Fergus Falls street names of Union, Lincoln and Sherman.

The music will be woven with a historical narrative that uses letters to tell the tale of a young man, a Civil War veteran, who travels from New England to Otter Tail County ahead of his wife and child to take advantage of the Homestead Act. The letters were based on research gleaned from the Otter Tail County Historical Museum.

“Not many people know that our area was first settled primarily by Civil War veterans and their families,” Trosvig said. “Each leg of our young man’s journey and the trials that ensue are punctuated with music from the time period and help tell the story. It almost takes on the aspect of an unstaged musical. Who doesn’t like a good story?”

In addition to featuring Minnesota history, the concert also will feature the Voice Ensemble performing works by Minnesota composers including Norwegian immigrant and St. Olaf College Choir director F. Melius Christiansen, up-and-comer Jake Runestad and M State’s own music instructor David Stoddard and student Josh Reiten.

Tickets are $9 in advance and $11 at the door for adults, and $7 in advance and $8 at the door for students. Tickets can be purchased at the M State box office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour prior to the performance, by calling 218.736.1600 or online at mstatetickets.com.

Posted in News on April 13, 2016 at 10:15 am