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April 09, 2008
Anoka-Ramsey Community College's spring performance concert, Today is the Gift-music of celebration and remembrance, will be particularly inviting this year, thanks to the world premiere of a newly-composed band piece by Stephan Paulus, a world-renowned composer living in St. Paul, Minn. Everyone, including students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to hear for the first time "Bounce-Back for Ellis" by Paulus as part of the college's annual spring concert, Thursday, May 8, 7:30 p.m., Coon Rapids Campus Performing Arts Center.

Melissa and Samuel Bergstrom

Anoka-Ramsey Community College music faculty members Melissa and Samuel Bergstrom (shown) commissioned a band piece from internationally renowned composer Stephen Paulus. The newly-composed piece, titled "Bounce-Back for Ellis" for the Bergstrom's young son who died in December 2006, will make its world premiere at the free, annual spring concert, Today is the Gift, Thursday, May 8, 7:30 p.m., Coon Rapids Campus Performing Arts Center.

"Bounce-Back for Ellis" was commissioned by the college's Choir Director Melissa Bergstrom and the college's Band Director Samuel Bergstrom in remembrance of their son who died in December 2006.

"Though the piece is for our son, it is a celebration of life," says Melissa Bergstrom. "Ellis didn't like slow music or even choir music all that much, but he loved the drums, the trumpet and the tuba."

Cast of Thousands
In what Bergstrom jokingly refers to as a "cast of thousands," the concert will feature an unprecedented number of musicians including the college's Guitar Quartet and Woodwind/Piano Trio, members of the Lake Wobegon® Band and Anoka-Ramsey alumni choir members.

The world premiere of Ellis' song will be performed by the college's Concert Band and music faculty, honor band students from St. Michael-Albertville High School as well as friends, musicians and educators from the community and various schools and colleges.

This concert also marks the first time Concert Choir and the Concert Band will perform the spring concert together and the first time alumni have been invited to perform at the event. To date, more than 25 alumni have come forward to perform the song, "Down By the Riverside," and choral music of Stephen Paulus with the current Concert Choir. With so much interest, the joining of alumni and students voices will now be an annual feature at the Coon Rapids Campus spring concert.

More About Stephen Paulus
Stephen Paulus is a prolific composer of more than two hundred works in many genres, including music for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, solo voice, keyboard and opera.

Along with the Bergstrom commission, Paulus has been commissioned to write works for some of the world's great solo artists, including Thomas Hampson, Doc Severinsen, William Preucil, Cynthia Phelps, Evelyn Lear, Leo Kottke and Robert McDuffie. Commissions have also been received from the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Houston Symphony and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Subsequent performances are coming from the Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis, National Symphony and the BBC Radio orchestras. Paulus has received both Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, and is co-founder and a current Board Vice-President of the highly esteemed American Composers Forum, the largest composer service organization in the world.

Paulus’ music has been described by critics and program annotators as rugged, angular, lyrical, lean, rhythmically aggressive, original, often gorgeous, moving and uniquely American.

Ellis Bergstrom Music Scholarship
In memory of their son and to assist young musicians, the Bergstrom's have also established a scholarship fund. People interested in learning more about the scholarship or contributing should contact the college's Institutional Advancement Department at 763-433-1130.

For more information about this and other upcoming events at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, visit www.AnokaRamsey.edu.