SMSU Briefs for Nov. 1

SMSU named one of state’s Best Online Colleges

Southwest Minnesota State University has been ranked by College Choice as one of the Best Online Colleges in Minnesota for the 2017-2018 academic year.

College Choice is an independent ranking organization utilizing data-driven research and methodology to help students and families during the college search process.

Every year, College Choice selects colleges that have the best online programs in the state, and this year SMSU is ranked No. 11.

SMSU was cited for its “smooth transfer from associate’s degree credits to bachelor’s programs,” according to College Choice.

Previously, SMSU was also honored by College Choice for its cost-effective online degrees.

‘In Dreams’ concert planned Nov. 2

The SMSU Men’s Glee Club and Bella Voce, conducted by Dr. Stephen Kingsbury, will present a concert, “In Dreams,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at the First Lutheran Church in Marshall.

The church is located at 100 Church St. The event is free and open to the public.

The concert takes its inspiration from dreams and fantasies. According to Kingsbury, SMSU director of choral activities, “As we all know, at times these dreams can be playful and fun. At others, they are rife with meaning and symbolism. The music that we will be performing was chosen to reflect this diversity. We will be singing everything from the works by the 19th-century Boston-based composer, Amy Beach to Billy Joel. There are pieces that are tender and intimate. There are also works that are dramatic and powerful. There will definitely be something for everyone.”

‘Building Dreams’concert Nov. 7

The SMSU Chorale, conducted by Dr. Stephen Kingsbury, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, at the First Lutheran Church in Marshall.

The concert is titled, “Building Dreams,” in honor of SMSU’s 50th anniversary.

The church is located at 100 Church St. The concert is free and open to the public.

According to Kingsbury, SMSU director of choral activities, “2017 is an important year in the life of the university and in the life of the choir. Not only is it the 50th anniversary of SMSU, but the choir was there from the very beginning, so we are marking our 50th anniversary as well. This gives us a great opportunity to look back and examine the legacy of excellence that has been fostered by a vast number of extremely talented and dedicated faculty and students, but it gives us an opportunity to look forward as well to see where we might see ourselves in another 50 years.” To that end, the program looks back at the music that has defined the choir, he said.

“We are actually doing two pieces from the earliest surviving printed program for a concert by the SMSU choir, which was then called the College Chorus,” he said. Other pieces the choir will perform celebrate the importance of education, the legacy of the outstanding past faculty of the music program, as well as contemporary works that look forward to the next step in the choir’s evolution.

“We’re closing the concert with two amazing contemporary works for choir by the Scottish composer James MacMillan and ’riks Ešenvalds, a composer from Latvia. I don’t want to give too much away, but the end to this performance will be breath-taking,” Kingsbury said.

The SMSU Chorale is the department’s elite, mixed choral ensemble, Kingsbury said. The ensemble specializes in the performance of a wide range of sacred and secular choral literature of all historical periods, voicings, and nationalities. Repertoire includes unaccompanied works for a cappella choir as well as works performed with professional instrumental ensembles.

SMSU Theater’s second production is Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’

The second show of SMSU Theater’s 50th anniversary season is Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, “Hamlet.” Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14-18 and 2 p.m. Nov. 19. Show tickets are $10 and are available at, with limited tickets available at the door. All performances are in the SMSU Black Box Theatre (Fine Arts 112), with free parking available in lot B-1. All performances are free to SMSU students with a valid student ID.

Perhaps Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy, “Hamlet” explores the consequences of a corrupt, dysfunctional family and state, the toxic tension between appearance and reality, the drive for revenge and the challenges of following through with it.

SMSU’s energetic, streamlined production aims to clarify and heighten the key elements of this complex tragedy, offering audiences new insights and understanding. An added twist is that roles will shift from actor to actor, so throughout the performance several different actors will play Hamlet, as well as the other characters in the show.

“Hamlet” is directed by Theater Professor Nadine Purvis Schmidt of Estelline, S.D., who is also the producer. Theater Professor Mike Lenz of Cottonwood, is the scenic, lighting, and sound designer and technical director. Theater Professor Sheila Tabaka of Marshall, is the costume designer. Jenna Miller, a senior theater arts major from Marshall, is the stage manager. The ensemble cast and major crew are: Kristen Barnhardt, a junior disability advocacy in new media major from Sioux Falls, S.D.; Morgan Benson, a senior theater arts major from Tracy. Benson is also the publicity manager. Alexander Castro, a community member from Marshall. Amanda Castro, a community member from Marshall. Sariah Cheadle, a junior English major with minors in theater and coaching, from Fulda. Leah Graham, a junior theater arts major from Sebeka. Thomas Knudson, a senior theater arts major from Walnut Grove. Danny McDonnell, a junior theater arts and elementary education double major from Jordan. Jonathan Raatz, a junior social work major from Willmar. Jaylee Schanus, a junior theater arts major from Willmar. Malorie Hudson, a junior early childhood education major and theater arts minor from Rochester, is the house manager.