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Thirty-fifth Annual Sacred Arts Festival Features Artists, Authors and Musicians

The University of St. Thomas Sacred Arts Festival, an annual series of events focusing on artistic traditions that explore humanity’s understanding of the divine, will feature five events held in April.

The festival, which began at St. Thomas in 1980, traditionally presents a broad range of artistic forms. The theme of this year’s festival is “Illumination.”

All events are free and open to the public and will be held on the university’s St. Paul campus. They are:

Illuminated Manuscripts: Pages of Light. This exhibition of colorful Biblical texts can be seen until May 18 in the lobby gallery of the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center. An exhibition reception will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24.

The exhibition explores ways that book arts help visualize crucial texts. On display are facsimiles of famous works, including the Lindisfarne Gospels, as well as originals, such as St. Thomas’ copy of the contemporary St. John’s Bible. The exhibition is co-sponsored by St. Thomas’ Art History Department and the Colleagues of Calligraphy.

Lobby gallery viewing hours are 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays and noon-10 p.m. Sundays.

The Mila Vocal Ensemble

Three Stars on the Mountain: Eastern European Folk Music. The Mila Vocal Ensemble will explain and perform Bulgarian, Ukrainian and Georgian folk music at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 11, in St. Mary’s Chapel on the campus of the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity. The chapel is on the far western end of Summit Avenue.

The performance is co-sponsored by the St. Thomas Music Department.

Wolfgang Rübsam

Wolfgang Rübsam Organ Concert. Organ virtuoso and composer Wolfgang Rübsam will perform Bach, Reger and his own compositions in a recital on the Gabriel Kney pipe organ at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 12, in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Upon winning the 1973 Grand Prix de Chartres in Interpretation, Rübsam became professor of church music and organ at Northwestern University in Illinois. During his 23-year tenure, he also served as university organist of the University of Chicago at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Rübsam is known internationally through more than 100 acclaimed recordings of organ repertoire from the baroque and romantic periods, as well as his Naxos Bach recordings on the modern piano. He has lived in the United States since his retirement from teaching in 2011 and is a regular composer for Schott Music International.

The recital is co-sponsored by the St. Thomas Music Department’s Organ Artist Concert Series.

Yuval Ron

Sacred Music From Muslim, Jewish and Christian Traditions. The Yuval Ron Ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.

The ensemble, led by Oscar-winning Israeli composer and world-music record producer Yuval Ron, features musicians from three religious traditions who perform songs of Sufi Muslim origin from Turkey, chants from the Christian Armenian Church, and Jewish prayers from Morocco, Yemen and Israel.

The performance is co-sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and the Episcopal House of Prayer at St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville.

Katrina Vandenberg

Poetry Reading and Lecture: The Alphabet Not Unlike the World. St. Paul poet and creative-writing teacher Katrina Vandenberg will read from her second collection of poems, The Alphabet Not Unlike the World, at 7 p.m. Friday, April 17, in the Great Room on the second floor of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center.

The collection of poems is named for letters of the Phoenician alphabet and employs such innovative forms as the ancient ghazal.

The reading is co-sponsored by St. Thomas’ English Department.

A schedule of this year’s Sacred Arts Festival events can be found here.