“New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music” swept across the state throughout the year, drawing large crowds to both the exhibit and accompanying music events.
To close the exhibit’s six-city tour, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of a Lakota song cycle by Native American composer Jerod Tate in Sioux Falls. The concert, which will also feature a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3, will be held at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 12. For tickets, call 367-6000 or visit www.washingtonpavilion.org
Tate is a member of the Chickasaw Nation who resides in Oklahoma. His piece that will be performed by the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra is considered an expression of honor and respect from a Chickasaw man to the Sioux Nation, according to Sarah Burman of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra.
Tate composed the original poetry for the piece, which consists of six movements. It begins with an intro and goes on to feature five movements honoring a Lakota warrior.
The piece will be sung in Lakota by baritone Stephen Bryant.
Tate, a 2011 Emmy Award winner, received his BM in Piano Performance from Northwestern University where he studied with Dr. Donald J. Isaak. He then completed his MM in Piano Performance and Composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Elizabeth Pastor and Dr. Donald Erb.
Tate has received numerous commissions and his works have been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Ballet, The New Mexico Symphony, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Dale Warland Singers, the New Jersey Chamber Music Society and the Philadelphia Classical Symphony.
Tate’s middle name, Impichchaachaaha’, means “high corncrib” and is his inherited traditional Chickasaw house name. A corncrib is a small hut used for the storage of corn and other vegetables. In traditional Chickasaw culture, the corncrib was built high off of the ground on stilts to keep its contents safe from foraging animals.
New Harmonies, offered by the Smithsonian Institution through the South Dakota Humanities Council, began in March with a grand opening in Sturgis, before moving on to Aberdeen, Brookings, Deadwood and Rapid City. It arrived in Sioux Falls at the Siouxland Heritage Museums in November for the final leg of the tour.
“New Harmonies” showcases the history of American music in genres such as blues, country western, folk ballads, and gospel. It features familiar songs, histories of instruments, roles of religion and technology, and the connection of musical roots in all popular American music.
The exhibit includes interactive display panels featuring a variety of musical genres and instruments, music artifacts and much more. It describes the work of well-known artists like Ma Rainey, B.B. King, Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Mahalia Jackson, Woody Guthrie and Joan Baez.
Its popularity was evident as New Harmonies traveled across the state.
“We have had only positive feedback on this exhibit; music is so universal and relevant,” said Sturgis Public Library Director Julie Moore-Peterson. “People even came back to tour after coming to events.”