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A musical tribute

April 25 Village Arts concert highlights the long-time support of Rugby residents

April 22, 2010
Tribune Staff Report

While most concerts feature star performers, Village Arts will honor their audience as "stars" at their pops concert, "Music Among the Stars", Sunday, April 25.

Glory Monson, artistic director for the organization, said, "It is our audience that keeps Village Arts going, and we certainly have strong supporters for every event. We count on these familiar friends who are consistently there to clap, cheer and share positive comments with our staff and performers."

Esther Smith and the late Loren Smith will be honored at Sunday's concert in recognition of a lifetime of support of music in Rugby.

The Smiths moved to Rugby in 1951 and soon became involved in music. Both had played cornet in high school at Rolette and had sung in church choirs, an activity Loren continued in Rugby. In addition, "He was in Village Arts' first production of "My Fair Lady" in 1967," Monson said.

Loren passed away in October 2009 and his presence is sorely missed by many music groups in the area. "He was always helping with (musical) things," Esther recalled.

He was a charter member of the Heart of America Concert Association when it began 34 years ago and had served continuously on the board until his death. "He was adamant about belonging to things and doing his part," said fellow board member, Pat Monger.

Fact Box

What: "Music Among the Stars"

When: Sunday, April 25, 3 p.m.

Where: Tilman Hovland Auditorium, Rugby High School

If you go: Tickets are available at the door.

Of note: Village Arts directors plan to recognize those loyal concert attendees, including Esther Smith and her late husband, Loren,

Esther, who worked many years as a nurse, was not able to be as active a participant as her husband, but she encouraged their six children to study piano and be in the school band and choir. She attended every concert, musical, recital, play or other musical endeavor they were in.

Esther downplays any role she and Loren had in the development of music in the Rugby area. "I just felt it was nothing more than anybody else was doing," she said. "We were just interested in all the music things, I guess."

Deb Jenkins, director of Heart Strings, is credited with originating the idea of dedicating a concert to the Smiths. "I can barely recall a concert of any kind, whether given by children or adults, when Loren and Esther were not in the audience supporting a musical effort. It never mattered if they had family involved, they were there to support us all," she said.

Tilman Hovland, Heartland Civic Orchestra conductor and a board member of the concert association agrees, " Loren and Esther rarely missed a musical event," he stated. "Loren was always there to promote musical things. He was responsible for getting our Friends and Patrons program going. It basically saved the concert association."

Sunday's concert will include performances by the Heart Strings, the Heartland Civic Orchestra and the Heartland Civic Choir. Jenkins said that the opening musical numbers will feature variations of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" as well as the theme from the movie "Star Trek".

This year's choir is directed by Pam Anderson, the strings by Deb Jenkins and the orchestra by Tilman Hovland.



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