CSS celebrates a century with music historyThe College of St. Scholastica continues its year-long centennial celebration by rescuing from obscurity a piece of Duluth’s musical heritage.
The College of St. Scholastica continues its year-long centennial celebration by rescuing from obscurity a piece of Duluth’s musical heritage.
The college presents a live performance of the orchestral work, “The Highwayman,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Mitchell Auditorium on campus.
“The Highwayman” was written in 1940 by music faculty member Sister Martina Hughes, to words by the English poet Alfred Noyes. The poem narrates the story of a highwayman or robber who falls in love with an innkeeper’s daughter on a dark, windy night. Directing a professional orchestra and an 80-voice chorus will be Shelley Gruskin, professor emeritus of music at St. Scholastica.
“The Highwayman” was chosen by the Minnesota Federation of Music Clubs as the best work submitted by a Minnesota composer in 1940.
The Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra and Chorus premiered it in May 1941 in a performance remarkable enough to be featured in Time Magazine a few weeks later.
The 25-minute work was performed only one more time, in the 1970s — before now.
Sister Martina, a Benedictine nun from St. Scholastica Monastery, went on to serve as president of the College of St. Scholastica from 1954-58. She was recognized not only for her musical compositions, but also her inspirational teaching and her visionary leadership. She died in 1992.
“The Highwayman” is part of the College’s Cambiata Concert Series and is a featured concert for the college’s 100-year centennial celebration.
An alumni reception precedes the event, in the parlor rooms in the front entrance of Tower Hall. The concert program will also include a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 as well as selections from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance.”
Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students, and free for St. Scholastica students and Sisters from St. Scholastica Monastery. Go to spotlight.css.edu or call 218-723-7000.