Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus will celebrate a decade of music, art, theatre and dance education on the banks of the Mississippi River with a full slate of events on Tuesday, March 7.
The celebration will include campus tours, recognition of the Vincentians who founded the property in 1843, and a concert, “A Tribute to the River Campus, Past, Present, and Future, ” highlighted by the world premiere of a choral and symphony orchestra piece composed as a tribute for the occasion.
The celebration will recognize the Congregation of the Mission, the Catholic religious order known as the Vincentians who formerly made their home on the grounds of what today is the River Campus. The Vincentians have been an integral part of the history of the community and region for nearly 200 years. They arrived in 1818, and in 1843, constructed St. Vincent’s College and Seminary, one of the first institutions of higher learning west of the Mississippi River.
That seminary building has been restored and opened as a part of Southeast’s River Campus in 2007. It now houses classrooms, faculty offices spaces, music practice rooms, an Arts Resource Center and the Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall, which formerly served as the seminary chapel. Adjacent to the renovated seminary building is the Cultural Arts Center. It houses the 900-plus seat Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall, the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre, a dance studio, art studios and gallery, the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum and the John and Betty Glenn Convocation Center, all of which opened in 2007. In fall 2014, the Kenneth and Jeanine Dobbins River Campus Center, featuring both academic and student residential space, was added. It includes the St. Vincent’s Commons, a cafeteria, and a memorial wall with the original bricks from a Vincentian handball court, both near the entrance to the building, which pay tribute to the property’s Vincentian heritage.
The 10th season celebration will begin with tours of the River Campus from 10 a.m. to noon.
A ceremony recognizing the Vincentians is planned for 2 p.m. in the Shuck Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public. There, Southeast President Carlos Vargas and Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger respectively will read proclamations from the University and the city, after which the Rev. Joe Williams of the Vincentians will offer a response. The ceremony also will include a discussion of the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra performance planned that evening. Leading that discussion will be Dr. Sara Edgerton, director of the orchestra; Dr. Gordon “Dick” Goodwin, composer and professor emeritus at the University of South Carolina; and Paddy Bell, lyricist.
At 6:45 p.m. that evening, Edgerton, Goodwin and Bell will lead a pre-concert talk in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall.
At 7:30 p.m., a dedicatory concert titled “A Tribute to the River Campus, Past, Present, and Future” will take place in the Bedell Performance Hall as part of the Cuba Financial Symphony Series. This special choral and orchestral concert will pay tribute to the River Campus with a world premiere performance of a work by Goodwin, which describes the history of the River Campus from its beginnings to its current role as a leading cultural center. The piece was commissioned to recognize the Vincentian Community and is in memory of the late Rev. Oscar Lukefahr, C.M., who served the people of this region for many years. It also will feature the exciting young talents of the Southeast Department of Music’s 2016 Concerto and Aria and Rising Star Competition winners. Following the concert, a reception is planned at 9:30 p.m. in the John and Betty Glenn Convocation Center.
Concert tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or online at RiverCampus.org/a-tribute-to-the-river-campus-past-present-and-future/.