Luther College Music Department presents Copland's 'The Tender Land'

A coming of age story set in 1930's dustbowl Iowa and featuring kindness and skepticism reminiscent of the Midwest, the Luther College Music Department will present Copland's opera "The Tender Land" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, in Luther's Center for Faith and Life Main Hall.

Tickets for the performance are $15 for adults and $8 for children 18 and under. They can be purchased online at or via the Luther Ticket Office, (563) 387-1357 or [email protected].

A pre-concert lecture will be given by Luther senior Natalie Nelson with assistance from Kat Beane Hanson, adjunct faculty in music, before both performances at 6:30 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall. Nelson intends to graduate in 2019 with majors in music and English. The lecture is open to the public with no charge for admission and will include student performances of excerpts from the opera.

The opera was created by American composer Aaron Copland and librettist Horace Everett, otherwise known as Erik Johns, for the NBC Television Opera Workshop. The two were inspired to write this opera when viewing photographs of that era. "The Tender Land" takes place in late spring on the land of a lower-middle class farm in the Midwest United States. The world of this quiet family is turned upside down as they prepare for the graduation of the elder daughter Laurie whose dreams of a larger life are excited by two outsiders, who were initially accepted into the community as harvesters.

Stage direction for the production is led by Carla Hanson, Luther instructor in music, with assistance from Evan Mitchell '14, Luther alumni guest lecturer in music. Musical direction, preparation and performance are conducted by Nicholas Shaneyfelt, assistant professor of music; and the show is choreographed by Luther senior Abigail Grinager and Jane Hawley, Luther professor of dance.

The production features original sets, designed and built by Mark Potvin, Luther instructor of music, as well as original costumes, designed and built by Marann Faget of Creative Costumes and Clothing in Rochester, Minnesota. Lighting design is by Denise Ruemping of Rochester, Minnesota. The production's stage manager is Luther sophomore Cleo Garza.

The cast of "The Tender Land" includes Luther seniors Nathan Baldwin, Becca Busse, Xavier Conzet, Parker Fretheim, Lauren Eakes, Alijah Goetting, Janet Irankunda, Natalie Nelson, Riley Peters and Katie Stuelke; juniors Garret Baumler, Gunnar Ehlers, Eddy Galstad, Grace Huber, Noah Lauer, Hunter Moore and Jenna Reimann; and sophomores Elaine Bayse, Andrea Blocker, Mac Braun, Jack Desmul, Colton Ironside, Emma Kuehl, Emily Lauer, Colton Schlines and Thomas Warden. Luther juniors Joshua Burniece and Anne Wilson will serve as pianists for the performances.

Luther is home to one of the largest collegiate music programs in the nation with five choirs, three bands, three orchestras, two jazz bands and more than 800 student musicians. Luther students participate in large ensembles, faculty-coached chamber groups, private lessons and master classes. More than 275 music majors study music theory/ear training, history, education, composition, jazz, church music and performance.