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Dale Warland Singers present "A River Journey"
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A chain of "Black-eyed Susans" float down the Cannon River in Northfield, Minnesota (MPR Photo/Preston Wright)

St. Paul, Minn. — A River Journey is a Grand Excursion 2004 event, the first of many this year which celebrate the 150th anniversary of the "Grand Excursion of 1854."

A River Journey explores the iconic significance of rivers in American arts and culture, and features the world premieres of "River Journey Suite", a major commission by not one but four American composers: William Banfield, Steve Heitzeg, Kirke Mechem and John Muehleisen. The program celebrates American heritage with plaintive war ballads, colorful folk music and spirituals including the Civil War-era "Beautiful River" and the Scottish traditional "The Water is Wide".

The result is an eclectic yet harmonious quartet of masterful short works that can be performed together or on their own. The composers used inspiring texts ranging from Psalm 137 to poems by Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg and Minnesota poet Robert Bly.

Grand Excursion 2004 is a collaborative effort of more than 50 upper Mississippi River communities and dozens of regional organizations to celebrate the renaissance of the upper Mississippi River region.

Broadcast program:

arr. Carol Barnett: Cindy
arr. William Hawley: Beautiful River
Stephen Foster/arr. Fissinger: Gentle Annie

River Journey Suite:
John Muehleisen: Prairie Waters by Night
William Banfield : Deep Like the Rivers
Kirke Mechem: By The Rivers of Babylon
Steve Heitzeg: Elegy on Water

arr. Norman Luboff: Deep River
Derek Healey: In Flanders Field
Jeffrey Van: Shiloh: A Requiem
arr. Jeffrey Van: The Water is Wide
arr. Norman Luboff: A la Claire Fontaine

arr. Carol Barnett: McKay


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