The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t stopping the Fine Arts Series at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.
In fact, the series has added four new online events, all taking place before Christmas.
Zydeco artist Terrance Simien has two presentations on Nov. 17. Saint John’s University graduate John McCutcheon performs an online concert Friday, Nov. 27. Finally, Manual Cinema's Christmas Carol brings to life Charles Dickens’ holiday classic with an inventive adaptation with two shows Dec. 12.
Also on the schedule include two previously announced online events – a writing workshop with Aja Black on Thursday, Nov. 19, and a concert by the Reminders on Friday, Nov. 20, which is part of Community Engagement Day at CSB and SJU.
The Fine Arts Series is introducing Pay-As-You-Can ticketing for the remainder of 2020. There are “regular” ticket prices for each of the events. However people can choose the price that fits their current budget. There is no fee for CSB and SJU students for 2020 (with the exception of the John McCutcheon concert Nov. 27). Please note that for any ticket with a dollar amount, there will be a $2 ticket fee.
Celebration, Impact and Importance of Zydeco Music and Creole Culture with Terrance Simien
12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17 via Zoom
Join Grammy award-winning musician and eighth generation Louisiana Creole Terrance Simien for this exploration of the roots and cultural importance of Zydeco music and Creole culture. Simien has introduced audiences all over the globe to his colorful Creole identity through his original song lyrics and energetic live performances. You’ve likely heard Terrance’s song “Gonna Take You There” from the Disney film “Princess & the Frog.” He is a highly respected and articulate teaching artist who has lectured at several notable universities, including Berklee College of Music in Boston in partnership with their American Roots Music program. Some have called his performances ‘stealth education’ – a way of learning through unconventional means like the performing arts. The regular ticket price is $5, and the Zoom link to this event will be provided 24 hours before the event.
Country Creole Gumbo: Cooking Demo with Terrance Simien
7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17 via stream
Simien will host a live streamed cooking demo. He'll be sharing is his family’s very own traditional gumbo, and share bits of Creole history and cultural along with this family favorite recipe. This live stream will be co-hosted by Mateo Mackbee, chef and owner of Krewe Restaurant in St. Joseph, Minnesota. Participants can pre-order a free cooking kit for two of ingredients for Terrance’s gumbo recipe until Friday, Nov. 13th courtesy of Krewe restaurant. These ingredient kits will be available for pick up at Krewe from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, and from 5-8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16. There is limited availability to reserve the recipe ingredients from Krewe. You must separately register for the ingredients and your ticket ($5) for the livestream.
Workshop, Writing with Feeling with Aja Black
6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 via Zoom
Join hip-hop artist Aja Black (one half of the the Reminders) for a virtual writing workshop. The ability to generate unique creative ideas that speak to our personal experience is a crucial skill that we all possess. Over time, many of us lose our ability to access that skill. Art has the power to convey perspective through emotional connection and shared experience. “Writing with Feeling” is a workshop that opens a path to individual creativity through the use of word association, sensory language and emotion. We will use these tools to understand, tell and share our unique perspectives and experiences through the use of tailored writing exercises. Although this event is free, pre-registration is required due to limited capacity. Tickets are $5. The link to the Zoom meeting with be emailed to participants no later than 24 hours before the workshop.
The Reminders in concert
7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 via Livestream
Find your groove as The Reminders deliver an inspiring performance that transcends expectations to uplift and entertain, returning to the series following a Jan. 26, 2018 performance. The Reminders’ visionary music is infused with roots, soul and Colorado sunshine! The duo seamlessly blend sharp rhymes and soulful vocals with reggae-tinged hip-hop beats to highlight relevant and inspiring messages of unity and togetherness. You'll receive an email 24 hours before the event with a link and information about how to join the stream. One link per ticket ($20). You can watch on any internet-connected device on your favorite internet browser.
John McCutcheon in concert, “Home for Thanksgiving”
7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27 via Mandolin
McCutcheon is giving thanks to the holiday due to his deep connection to SJU (a 1974 graduate) and his long history of performing as part of the Fine Arts Series. He has extended a special invitation to our audiences to take part in this concert, hosted through a new music streaming service called Mandolin, a digital platform designed to help artists during this time. A master instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, storyteller, activist and author, John is folk music’s renaissance man with a knack for simple songs told with literary craft, charming wit and pure heart. McCutcheon has earned six Grammy nominations for his eclectic catalog of American folk music. This performance is presented in partnership with FARM, a regional chapter of Folk Alliance International, the leading international voice for folk music. All ticket proceeds will be divided to support McCutcheon, FARM and the Fine Arts Series at CSB and SJU. Tickets ($20 general admission, $30 family and household or $5 for students or unemployed/laid off workers) will be purchased through Mandolin rather than the Fine Arts Series.
Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol
3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, via Livestream
This world premiere online event brings to life Charles Dickens’ holiday classic with an inventive adaptation made specifically for streaming rather than a live performance. An avowed holiday skeptic, Aunt Trudy has been recruited to channel her late husband Joe’s famous Christmas cheer. From the isolation of her studio apartment, she reconstructs his annual Christmas Carol puppet show – over a Zoom call while the family celebrates Christmas Eve during a pandemic. But as Trudy becomes more absorbed in her own version of the story, the puppets take on a life of their own and the family’s call transforms into a stunning cinematic recreation of this most classic story. There will be a post-performance question and answer “Behind the Scenes with a Puppeteer” following the 7 p.m. performance. Tickets are $20.
All events are supported by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation for the arts and cultural heritage fund. The Reminders are also funded, in part, by a grant from the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Crane Group.