Department of Music Announces Spring 2020 Performance Series Events

January 24, 2020 | Arts & Entertainment

MANKATO, Minn. – The Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music announced its spring 2020 schedule of concert events. Events over the course of the spring semester include the Performance Series professional artist series, the Minnesota Storytellers series, and 12 student ensemble concerts.

Events are made possible in part by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008. Additional funding is provided by the Nadine B. Andreas Endowment, the Bunny Just Piano Festival Endowment and KMSU The Maverick.

The Performance Series professional artist series and the Minnesota Storytellers series offers contemporary and ethnically diverse music featuring nationally and internationally recognized artists. Visiting artists also provide master classes, clinics and workshops benefitting the university student community and Mankato area residents.

Spring semester concerts and artist highlights:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21: MIKE MUNSON has established himself as a member of the next generation of bluesmen to carry on a tradition some feared was dying out.  His music is a master class in creative blues composition and performance, never losing sight of his art form or the music’s roots.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 28: GYPSY MANIA HOT CLUB QUARTET is a Twin Cities-based swing Jazz band, performing a timeless jazz tradition commonly known as Gypsy Jazz, a blend of traditional Roma music and swing jazz in the tradition of Django Reinhardt’s French swing tradition of the 1930s.
  • Sunday, Feb. 9: Pinecastle Records recording artists the ROE FAMILY SINGERS are a Good-Time, Old-Time Hillbilly band from the tiny community of Kirkwood Hollow, Minnesota. The band marries old-time sounds from barn-dances, fiddle pulls, and gospel tunes into a rollicking river of fresh yet familiar Americana music.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11: DUSTY HEART merges sophisticated vocal harmonies with intimate layers of guitar, fiddle and banjo to define their lush sound. Dusty Heart has crafted a sound that bridges together the diverse musical worlds of roots, indie, pop and folk.
  • Sunday, Feb. 16: Pianist JAY HERSHBERGER has performed throughout the United States, as well as Canada and Europe. Through his performing experiences he has concluded that, “performing is an act of sharing with others, and I find such moments to be incredibly meaningful.”
  • Thursday, Feb. 20: CHRIS KOZA is a composer and performer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has supported and shared the stage with artists such as Brandi Carlile, Ingrid Michaelson, The Jayhawks, Neko Case, and Dan Wilson, among others. Koza’s music is born out of folk, country, storytelling and rock ’n roll, building on the rich Americana tradition.
  • Monday, Feb. 24: DESSA (Minnesota Storytellers series) is a rapper, writer, and public speaker whose extraordinary career spans many genres. As a writer, she has contributed to The New York Timesthe Star Tribune, the hit podcast Welcome to Night Vale, and literary journals around the country. She’s hosted radio and television events, delivered keynote speeches around the country, and contributed to “The Hamilton Mixtape.” Dessa has toured North America, Europe, Australia, China, and South Africa, both as a solo artist and as a proud member of the Doomtree hip-hop collective. 
  • Saturday, March 28: THE JIMMYS are a seven-piece band from the Madison Wisconsin, area, fronted by deft singer-keyboardist Jimmy Voegeli. The Jimmys run the stylistic gamut—jump blues, shuffles, boogies, golden-era R&B, even New Orleans traditional jazz—using an honest, crisp expressionism that pegs them as eclectics of an interesting sort. (performance at Hooligans)
  • Tuesday, March 31: TODD CLOUSER has been hailed as the tomorrow of creative rock by Mexico City's leading newspaper, La Jornada. Clouser has performed at some of the world's finest rock festivals, jazz clubs, and cultural landmarks. His music carries the sonic legacies of psychedelic rock, New York City's downtown scene, and introspective song into new territories.
  • Thursday, Apr. 2: JON CLEARY is a member of the hallowed ranks of New Orleans “piano professors.” Cleary won a 2016 Grammy for his album 'GoGoJuice.' Jon Cleary is a triple threat, combining soulful vocals, masterful piano skills, and a knack for composing infectious grooves with melodic hooks and sharp lyrics. Cleary has produced over six recordings to date, which features a mix of the styles that inform the New Orleans sound. Cleary’s work pays obvious homage to the classic Crescent City keyboard repertoire created by such icons as Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Dr. John, and James Booker – while also using it as a launching pad for a style that incorporates such other diverse influences as 70s soul and R&B, gospel music, funk, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Cuban rhythms, and much more.

In addition to Performance Series and Minnesota Storytellers series concerts, Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Music will offer a faculty recital featuring Benjamin Cold, saxophone, and Filip Živanović, classical guitar; a number of student ensemble performances, including the concert choirs; Aaron Humble, conductor; concert wind ensemble; Amy Roisum Foley, conductor; the Jazz Mavericks big band; Douglas Snapp, conductor; the contemporary vocal ensembles; Stephanie Thorpe and Doug Snapp, conductors; and the University percussion ensemble directed by Michael Thursby.

The department is offering advance ticket package discounts for student ensemble concerts, Minnesota Storytellers events and Performance Series events. For more ticketing information, visit or call the Performance Series office, 507-389-5549.

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