The University of Minnesota Rochester strives to sustain an open exchange of ideas in an environment that embodies the values of academic freedom, responsibility, integrity, and cooperation. In support of this, UMR has launched a weekly series for the Rochester community and visitors titled "UMR CONNECTS".
Events will take place Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM and, following a specific theme each month, this weekly showcase will connect you to speakers, authors, panels, etc. on a variety of engaging topics. Upcoming themes include:
UMR CONNECTS is committed to supporting the University's overall mission of public engagement and outreach by fostering connections between the University, its students, and those who live in or visit our community. No pre-registration is required, and we hope you will join us!
Questions? Please contact Nick Anderson at 507-258-8053 or email@example.com
Are you ready for the UMR CONNECTS outdoor season? Enjoy our weekly events outside, on the Peace Plaza every Tuesday night this summer! (June, July, August, weather permitting).
As a real-life couple, songwriting team, and acoustic duo, Brandon and Heather Sampson get plenty of opportunities on a daily basis to live up to the definition of their name, The Dovetailers. Trying to separate their love story, from their combined love of music is impossible. They met at a live music venue, spent their courtship years singing along to Sun Volt, Juliana Hatfield, The Drive-by-Truckers, and the Old 97's to name a few. With honesty, heartbreak, and humor, they explore the day-to-day life of lovers with simple instruments and straightforward harmony.
Artists have, for ages, created works that create opportunities for healing and human development through the use of the visual language. Growing up and facing her own humanity and feeling a deep responsibility for helping others, Johanna's artistic conversation is based in the healing and development of humans both personally and universally. She will speak on her experience as a healer, an artist and her own personal struggles that have shaped her work.
Johanna Jones, was born and raised in Minnesota. She spent her childhood running around outside in her home town Northfield. In college she fell ill and turned to alternative medicine for healing. During this time she began practicing Qi Gong and it grew into a central aspect of her life and Art. She lived in California for seven years and returned to her home state to have a family and cultivate herself as an artist and a healer. She currently lives and works in Northfield Minnesota. She loves to travel and stay connected to the people she knows and love, and has yet to know and love, all around the globe.
Billy McLaughlin has been changing people’s idea of what an acoustic guitar can sound like since the 1980’s. He is recognized as an innovative performer and composer who embraces the advantages of acoustic guitar amplification, unorthodox techniques and altered tunings while celebrating a gift for melody. His enormous yet fluid acoustic guitar tone has carried him around the world, to Billboard’s Top-Ten Chart and most recently through a devastating medical disorder called focal dystonia. McLaughlin has had to re-learn the guitar left-handed and is in the early stages of what might be described as “one of the great musical-comeback stories of all time.” His story is the subject of an award-winning documentary film called Changing Keys - Billy McLaughlin and the Mysteries of Dystonia. “Many people fail because they quit too soon.” reads the fortune cookie saying that McLaughlin taped to his dashboard in 2001 – it remains there to this day.
Billy's Past - A serious professional in his teens, McLaughlin left his home and rock band in Minneapolis for the University of Southern California guitar department where he became interested in minimalist composers Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. Employing what would become his signature style of placing both hands on the fretboard, McLaughlin began composing for his first release using a technique of “hammer-ons” and “pull-offs” that create a harp-like effect on the acoustic guitar. This unusual approach led Billy to extensive national touring earning multiple NACA Campus Entertainer awards. In 1995 McLaughlin signed a multi-album international contract with Virgin Records label Narada whose first release, Fingerdance, peaked at #7 on the Billboard charts. Hundreds of shows a year and another release deep into the contract with Narada, he began struggling with his hands – something felt “off” and it was getting worse.
For two years he struggled with a mysterious and unrelenting condition of unexplainable muscle spasms and contractions. Shockingly as symptoms grew worse he could no longer perform most of his own repertoire. In 2001, Billy was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder called focal dystonia. The diagnosis was confirmed at the Mayo Clinic. Going against doctors’ recommendations to quit music and look for other work, McLaughlin focused on his songwriting and returned to his rock band which was less demanding for his hands. Despite releasing his ensemble’s best recording, Finally – Live! (2002) it was clear that focal dystonia had ended McLaughlin’s career as a virtuoso guitarist.
The Challenge – Feeling utterly lost without his music and not willing to give up, McLaughlin began the unlikely journey of teaching himself to play in his signature style, left-handed! Late in 2004 a documentary film crew began following McLaughlin’s desperate attempt to regain his career. Warned by doctors of a higher likelihood for developing focal dystonia in his remaining good hand, McLaughlin chose to press on towards an ambitious goal he had yet to achieve – to perform and record a new project with a string orchestra.
In January 2007, McLaughlin published a limited release of Into the Light, a concert recording of compositions for acoustic guitar with string orchestra. This collaboration with Grammy nominated arranger, Eugenio Toussaint, is McLaughlin’s first recording as a left-handed guitarist. In 2008, Coming Back Alive, a companion DVD shot by volunteers from the WWE broadcast crew capturing the historic performance was completed and released via direct marketing.
The Future - Billy’s story is truly an inspiration! The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (Chicago, IL) has named Billy their first Ambassador for Public Awareness and for his efforts McLaughlin has just been awarded the international 2010 Leadership in Public Neurology Award at the American Academy of Neurology conference held in Toronto. Previous winners of the award include Paul Allen, Julie Andrews, Leon Fleischer and Michael J. Fox. The documentary film, Changing Keys, chronicling McLaughlin’s physical and emotional struggles, the medical mysteries of dystonia, and this amazing musical come-back has been awarded top-honors at the Houston International Film Festival. This independently produced film will begin airing on over 50 major market PBS stations in June 2010. McLaughlin is a featured speaker at the TED conference in Atlanta (May 2010) and is touring internationally including China, the Philippines, India, Europe and extensively throughout the US.
Billy has appeared on Billboard’s TopTen Chart. Previously signed to Virgin Records’ Narada label, McLaughlin has 14 CD releases, 3 National Campus Entertainer of the Year Awards*, 5 Minnesota Music Awards and his decades of national concert touring earned him the Hall of Fame Achievement Award*.
Now serving as Ambassador for Awareness for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, McLaughlin is the winner of the 2010 Public Leadership in Neurology Award** whose previous winners include Paul Allen, Julie Andrews, Leon Fleischer and Michael J. Fox.
McLaughlin has resumed an international schedule of concert appearances and keynote speaking. He resides in his home state of Minnesota where he is, proudly, raising two boys.
Founded in 1985, Choral Arts Ensemble (CAE) is a highly selective vocal ensemble of forty volunteer singers, all of whom are carefully selected for their musicianship and their ability to work together to promote our organizational mission; singers do not have tenure and must re-audition annually to perform with the ensemble. The singers of CAE are active community members from a wide variety of professions, all drawn together to create excellent music and contribute to the thriving arts community in and around Rochester and southern Minnesota, northern Iowa, and western Wisconsin.
In addition to its paid accompanist, CAE occasionally hires both professional instrumentalists and vocal soloists as dictated by programming needs. Choral Arts Ensemble holds a unique position and reputation in the area it serves. CAE is regarded as the region’s premier organization dedicated to the creation and performance of choral music of all eras and genres, including premiere performances of newly commissioned choral works. The organization has a strong history of audience growth and retention as well as a successful record of program expansion, while maintaining its reputation of excellence.
Artistic Director Rick Kvam has loved choral music his whole life, and holds music degrees from Harvard and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Rick founded the Rochester Men’s Capella in 1982, the Choral Arts Ensemble in 1985, and the SE Minnesota Honors Choirs in 1992. He has won the Sally Ordway Award for arts initiative and the Mayor’s Award for artistic excellence. Married to accompanist Jan Kvam for 23 years, he has also worked for nearly 20 years as an emergency medicine physician at OMC hospital.
The Center for Victims of Torture
At the age of 12, Shannon was diagnosed on April 15, 2011 with a brainstem glioma tumor (DIPG). This was a terminal diagnosis as this type of tumor is inoperable and incurable. Shannon fought her nine month battle with determination and grace until passing away on January 6, 2012. The Shannon O'Hara Foundation Mission: Shannon lived her life with a positive attitude, always working hard for what she wanted, and being a good friend and teammate. In her memory, this foundation will support youth who carry on those ideals by awarding scholarships. In addition, funds will be used to support brain tumor research as we work towards a cure.
Join us as we board the trolley and travel to four different religious institutions. We will enjoy a tour of each location and learn about the unique aspects of the religion and its respective religious community.
Judas will tell his own story as the only Judean in a group of Galileans. He was a zealot and devoted to the coming of the Messiah. You will hear him tell of his testing (not betrayal) of Jesus and his relationship with the other apostles. Learn about the human context surrounding Christ's ministry and death.
Watch for further updates and specific details of upcoming sessions! Please check out our Event Calendar for a full list of events happening at UMR.