News Blog

La Grande Bande Concludes ‘22-‘23 Season with “Dine Out” event in Mankato

GAYLORD, MN, MAY 1, 2022 — La Grande Bande’s third complete season concludes this month with activities on Friday, May 20. The fourth and final season performance, entitled Court Entertainments, will take place in Mankato at the restaurant Swiss & Madison (920 Madison Ave).

The May 20 concert continues La Grande Bande’s so-called “Dine Out” concert experience where the audience can enjoy great food while the group performs. “It’s been one of our most popular events over the past three years. We’re so thrilled to be brining it back for the first time since the pandemic,” La Grande Bande’s Music & Artistic Director, Michael Asmus, said. “The concerts in this format are really relaxed and informal—we don’t even wear the usual concert attire. Everyone can talk while we’re not performing, and we usually go around and talk with folks between pieces. It’s just a great evening together with everyone.”

Something that is really intriguing about this concert is the shift of cultural importance from one French king to the next. For composers and musicians in the Baroque era (1600-1750), patronage from aristocrats and royalty was one of the best options for success.

“In a way, the concert represents a major transitional period in French culture. By around 1710, Louis XIV was in his final years as king. Everyone would have been posturing to latch on to the successor’s wagon—in some cases of monarchical transitions, it was like betting on the winning horse. So, composers, musicians, artists, and all others needing patronage in France at that time would have been moving towards his successor Louis XV. The new king was only 5 when he took the throne, so these people were really hoping to woo his handlers and advisors,” Asmus noted.

On the docket for the performance are violin sonatas, vocal selections, and even a solo harpsichord piece, all written by French composers between 1707 and 1740, including Jean-Philippe Rameau, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Jean-Francois Dandrieu, and Louis-Nicolas Clerambault. Like all other performances by La Grande Bande, English translations of the French texts, as well as what pieces are being performed, will be projected for this concert.

“We absolutely love using the projections because it really gives everyone the chance to understand what the singers are singing about,” noted Madeline Cacciatore, a board member for La Grande Bande. “The projections really help everyone know what’s being performed, too. It’s just something we really like doing, and something we plan to continue for the foreseeable future.”

La Grande Bande’s activities begin on May 20 at 6:30 with a pre-concert talk given by Michael Asmus. The concert begins at 7:30. Tickets are required to attend the pre-concert talk and the concert performance

Tickets for the May 20 activities are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. To order tickets, visit www.lagrandebande.org/tickets or call 507-237-6539. Reserving tickets in advance is strongly encouraged as seating capacity for this concert is strictly set.

La Grande Bande Presents February 25 Concert in New Ulm

GAYLORD, MN, FEBRUARY 1, 2022 — La Grande Bande’s third complete season continues this month with activities on Friday, February 25. The third season performance entitled Music from New Spain, will take place in New Ulm at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.

Originally intended to be performed during LGB’s 2020-2021 season, Music from New Spain unites music and history in a one-of-a-kind performance. “We’re essentially recreating parts of the 1649 Consecration celebrations for the Puebla Cathedral that took place in Puebla, México. I saw the Cathedral on a trip to Puebla in 2016, and I was blown away by its size and beautiful architecture inside and out. So, I wanted to create a program inspired by the Cathedral.”

Asmus found further inspiration during conversations with Dr. Luisa Vilar-Payá, a scholar based in Puebla who studies the Cathedral’s musical history. Vilar-Payá’s research focuses on the Consecration service at the Cathedral. “We’ll be singing beautiful Gregorian chant and incredible music that was written specifically for the Consecration by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla. There will also be readings and some organ music as well.” The Consecration Rite is a very important service within the Catholic Church because it turns the building into a sacred space that can be used for Mass. The Rite was incredibly important for Puebla’s inhabitants and for the Bishop at the time, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza.  

Building works on the beautiful and ornate Puebla Cathedral had been all but abandoned when Palafox arrived in Puebla in 1640. Palafox’s arrival revived the building of the Cathedral and created immense tensions in the Cathedral Chapter. “I don’t want to give it all away,” Asmus noted, “but there was some unbelievable intrigue and politicking that took place during Palafox’s tenure. The whole affair ended in this huge political battle. The Puebla Cathedral, as it stands now, is a testament to Palafox’s tenaciousness and determination. Without him, the Cathedral wouldn’t exist.”

La Grande Bande’s activities begin on February 25 with a free Open Rehearsal Session from 3:00-5:00 in the Cathedral. A pre-concert talk will be given by Luisa Vilar-Payá in the Cathedral basement. The concert begins in the Cathedral at 7:30. Tickets are required for to attend the pre-concert talk and the concert.

Tickets for the February 25 activities are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. To order tickets, visit www.lagrandebande.org/tickets or call 507-237-6539. Reserving tickets in advance is strongly encouraged. Seating for each concert is general admission. A ticket is required for admission to all pre-concert talks. LGB’s Open Rehearsal sessions remain free of charge and open to all.

COVID-19 statement: La Grande Bande is following CDC and MDH guidelines and encouraging attendees to wear a mask and to be fully vaccinated. Currently, proof of vaccination or a negative test are not required. All attendees must complete a verbal health screening before entering the performance or pre-concert talk. For the latest up-to-date information on LGB’s covid policy visit our website www.lagrandebande.org/covid.