University of Wisconsin-River Falls

News Source

March 24, 2004


Iceland in Winter, Paris in the Spring Time--UW-RF Band Performs Both Places During Spring Break

From a dip in Reykjavik's famed Blue Lagoon under conditions akin to a Midwest winter white out, to a moonlit boat ride down the River Seine in Paris in the Spring time, members of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Symphony Band experienced it all during their Spring Break trip to Iceland and France, March 11 - 19.

Forty-three members of the Symphony Band made beautiful music in the capitals of both countries under the baton of their director, Associate Professor Kristin Tjornehoj.

The band's hosts in Reykjavik and Paris both expressed interest in making the cultural exchange complete by performing at UW-RF in the future. Ten adult members of the community traveled with the band, including Dr. and Mrs. Mel Olson of Hudson. Their son, Erik, played French horn while his father played trumpet on the tour.

The mother of senior Heather Strutt was on hand to hear her daughter solo on the oboe. Heather played Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Variations on Theme of Glinka" brilliantly to an appreciative audience in the beautiful church of the Madeleine in the heart of Paris.

Her mother captured the performance on video. The tour was bittersweet for Strutt, who graduates this year. When she's not studying or preparing for her senior recital, Strutt teaches oboe and piano to 70 private students at the Ashland Academy of Music in Mahtomedi, Minn., where she serves as director. She has also been an Oboe Instructor at the Band Summer Camp at the Indianhead Arts and Education Center in Shell Lake, Wis., for several years. The band played and the men sang part of "Ave Maria" by Franz Biebl at their concerts in Paris and Reykjavik. n Reykjavik, the group performed in a church called Langholtskirkja during the Sunday morning service and later that night at a separate concert.

Tjornehoj and the band have made previous international tours of China, Scotland and England. In the U.S., they have performed in New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. They have plans to tour Chicago in the Fall and Toronto in the future.

In addition to teaching and conducting the Symphony Band. Tjornehoj conducts the St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra. She is the staff conductor for the Indianhead Arts Center Concert Band Camp, which takes place in June. Tjornehoj has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. She is a frequent performer on the saxophone and piano, and music director at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Lakeland, Minn. A member of the College Band Directors Conference, Tjornehoj will give a music conducting workshop at UW-RF this summer.

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