This post is the last of five in a series that outlines key components of an Arts Midwest World Fest residency. Arts Midwest World Fest presents international musical ensembles in intensive week-long residencies in smaller Midwest communities. Its purpose is to foster an understanding of and appreciation for global uniqueness and differences. The residencies consist of school concerts, workshops, and outreach activities, and culminate in a public concert. This series will follow the Unni Boksasp Ensemble from Norway as they visit five Midwest towns during their second and final tour with Arts Midwest World Fest.
After five busy weeks of touring from Wisconsin to Iowa to Minnesota to South Dakota, the ensemble finished its tour on the plains of North Dakota—a stunning contrast to the fjords and mountains of Norway. Residency weeks include wonderful welcome receptions, many school workshops, and connections in all corners of the community, but the exclamation point to each week is the public concert. Each week the ensemble arrives in town relatively unknown, sharing music to which some folks in town might feel little connection. Through workshops at schools and in community locations, as well as media coverage in the local paper, word spreads and there’s growing buzz in town that typically results in a well-attended public concert. Happily, such was the case in Dickinson, North Dakota.
Students bused in from all over the area to attend a concert at Stickney Auditorium on the campus of Dickinson State University. All photos by Eric Young Smith.
Students were absolutely delighted by Kenneth’s wild story of the polar bears which he first tells and then recreates on his many percussion instruments in an unforgettable moment in the concert.
Unni and Guro perform a lovely duet at the public concert that combines the beautiful Hardanger fiddle, with Unni’s equally beautiful voice and dulcimer.
Kenneth and Gjermund celebrate Kenneth’s escape from the polar bear to happy cheers from the public audience.
Thank you to Jeremy Wohletz at Dickinson State University for a great week. And thanks to Unni, Guro, Kenneth, Gjermund, Fridtjof and Eric (road manager) of the Unni Boksasp Ensemble for a wonderful tour!