Great performances by our students: Choirs, jazz groups deliver memorable events

I love this time of year because the semester crescendos in a very exciting way right up to commencement with many student projects and related events to take in and enjoy.

This past weekend I was able to be part of two great student performing arts events. The first was UW-Stout’s Chamber Choir and Symphonic Singers providing the outstanding concert “A Matter of Time.” The event was held in a perfect acoustic setting at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Menomonie. Conducted by Jerry Hui, director of UW-Stout choral activities, with pianist Michaela Gifford, music director for University Theatre, the singing was spectacular and captivating.

Kudos to these student performers for their terrific singing. More on this performance is available here.

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Jazz performers give audience a treat

The second event was Jazz from Harvey featuring our Jazz Embers combo and the Blue Devil Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Aaron M. Durst. Aaron is an associate professor at UW-Stout and part of the Jazz Embers combo — and he thrilled the audience with his contributions on the soprano saxophone.

Student membership in the Jazz Orchestra has grown significantly over the past few years, and they sounded fantastic in our wonderful and recently remodeled Harvey Hall Theatre.

Congratulations to these student musicians for providing the audience with a professional level experience. More on this performance is available here.

My wife, Debbie, and I were thrilled to enjoy both special performing arts events.

Eleva-Strum students learn manufacturing skills

On Monday I participated in the Eleva-Strum school district’s open house. The event featured career and technology education instructor Craig Cegielski’s enterprise lab, which is titled Cardinal Manufacturing. Students manufacture real products purchased and used by area industries.

Craig, a 1998 UW-Stout graduate, has motivated his students to learn and engage in a wide range of skill development activities that prepare them well for the world of work. It is a best practice in K-12 education, and it was gratifying to see community members turn out in large numbers to support Craig and his students at the open house, which raised funds to support Cardinal Manufacturing.

State Rep. Warren Petryk and retired Green Bay Packer Gilbert Brown were also on hand to support Craig and his exemplary work at Eleva-Strum school district.

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Helping spread the word about fab labs

Finally, I joined UW System President Ray Cross and officials from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.  Tuesday morning at the Altoona school district to help celebrate the district receiving a $25,000 grant from the state to help support is fabrication laboratory, or fab lab.

The grant was part of $500,000 awarded statewide by WEDC to encourage greater participation in fab lab technology in local school districts.

I am proud that UW-Stout has been a leader in promoting the use of fab labs through our Discovery Center. I took the opportunity to speak on the importance of fab labs across Wisconsin and our efforts at UW-Stout to help school districts incorporate this technology into their curriculum. More on the grants is available here.

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