Minnesota Public Radio comes home to Saint John’s University April 25 -26 to mark its 50th anniversary

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March 21, 2017

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) returns to its birthplace with a two-day visit to the Saint John’s campus in late April. On Tuesday, April 25, MPR Day at Saint John’s will feature live broadcasts of all three MPR regional services: MPR News, Classical MPR and The Current, as well as live performances and special guests throughout the day. All events will take place at Brother Willie’s Pub in Sexton Commons. In addition, Garrison Keillor will perform a sold-out show at the College of Saint Benedict that same evening. 

On Wednesday, April 26, Classical MPR hosts Bring the Sing, a free community choral event, in Saint John’s Abbey and University Church. Part sing-along, part workshop, it's music-making fun for all — the ability to read music is not required. VocalEssence’s Phillip G. Schoultz will lead the event, which will later be broadcast on Classical MPR’s Choral Stream. Choirs from Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict, led by Axel Theimer and Susan Cogdill, and the St. John’s Boys’ Choir, led by André Heywood, will also participate. Kim Kasling will be the organist. Michael Barone, one of MPR’s first employees in Collegeville and host of the nationally distributed music program, Pipedreams, will be on hand to introduce the program and discuss the famed Abbey organ. The event takes place in the Abbey and University Church from 5 to 8 p.m. Registration is recommended. Visit mpr50.org for more details and to sign up. 

Since its beginning as a college radio station at Saint John's University, MPR has grown to a 45-station regional network of three distinct services – MPR News, Classical MPR and The Current – as well as a national producer and distributor of radio programs, podcasts and streaming services, serving 1 million Minnesotans and more than 20 million listeners a week nationwide. 

“As we started planning our 50th anniversary year, coming to Saint John’s was at the top of our list,” said Ali Lozoff, director of MPR’s 50th Anniversary. “It’s extraordinary that this idea that a few college kids had and built with the unwavering support of administration back in 1967 has become an organization that serves 20 million listeners every week.” 


Lozoff added, “We invite everyone in the community to join us throughout the day to meet our hosts, enjoy great programming, tour our studios where it all began, and let us say thanks for their ongoing support in person.”

More information about MPR Day and other MPR 50 events may be found at mpr50.org

MPR Day Schedule of Activities: Tuesday, April 25, 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

6– 9 a.m. MPR News Live Broadcast

Cathy Wurzer hosts the regional broadcast of Morning Edition live from Brother Willie’s Pub. The broadcast will feature archival clips from MPR’s early days at Saint John’s and interviews with several faculty members about the news of the day. We’ll also be talking to Stearns County residents about the Trump administration’s first 100 days.  

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Classical MPR Live Broadcast

Alison Young hosts a midday program of live and recorded segments. Richard Bresnahan, Classical MPR fan and Artist-in-Residence at The Saint John's Pottery, will stop by and chat with Alison about how he uses classical music with art-making. In addition, faculty and student ensembles from Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s will perform. 

3– 6 p.m.  The Current live broadcast

Host Jill Riley will be on air with a live performance by Communist Daughter. Other staff from The Current will be on hand to chat with the crowd and hang out with Current fans. 

Refreshments, tours and meet and greets are available throughout the day. Limited edition 50th anniversary merchandise will be available for sale along with merchandise from all three regional stations. The Garrison Keillor Gratitude Tour at the College of Saint Benedict’s Escher Auditorium is sold out.