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Words, music from The Great War (with video)

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The University of Minnesota Morris Concert Choir rehearses. The choir will be part of a commemorative Armistice Day event on Sunday, Nov. 11, in the concert hall at Morris Area Schools. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times2 / 3
The University of Minnesota Morris Symphonic Winds rehearse. The group will be part of a commemorative Armistice Day concert on Sunday, Nov. 11, at Morris Area Schools. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times3 / 3

One hundred years ago, The Great War ended and it left its mark on millions in the U.S. and overseas.

The University of Minnesota Morris's concert choir and symphonic winds will commemorate the end of World War I with a special free concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11, in the Morris Area Schools Concert Hall. Nov. 11 is the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. Armistice Day was established at the end of World War I.

"It will be great to share in this historic event with the community," UMM student and choir member Liam Taylor said.

Although the students are very far removed from World War I, "there are still wars going on," UMM student and choir member Abbey Guggisberg said. The music is a way to show how war affects people, she said.

"A lot of pieces aren't just from one side," UMM student and symphonic winds member Taylor Braun said. The music is from the U.S. as well as Germany to show "how everybody is affected by war."

The concert is divided into three parts, Braun said, "Before the war, during the war and after the war."

One piece for the symphonic winds is called "Mars,the Bringer of War" from Gustav Holst's "Planets" and it nicely displays the environment during war, UMM student and symphonic winds member Wyatt Anderson said. "It has a driving beat that is symbolic of the mechanism that happens during World War I. It's an ominous, dark piece," Anderson said.

Anderson said the music aptly brings the chaos of war to life. The final pieces of the music illustrate the emotional reflecting that happens when a war ends, Anderson said.

Simon Tillier, symphonic winds conductor, said he and choir conductor Bradley Miller began talking about the Nov. 11 concert this summer.

Although choir and wind students have worked together on smaller projects, this is largest collaboration in recent history.

Guggisberg said student and rehearsal schedules won't allow the two groups to practice together until the final rehearsal on Nov. 10.

"It will be exciting for us to take in all the music," Taylor said of the final rehearsal and Nov. 11 concert.

The concert will also feature several spoken pieces as well as a display of artifacts from the World War I era presented by the Stevens County Historical Society and Museum.

Tillier said the MAES gym is a good site for the concert in part because it has the space to hold the roughly 100 student performers but it is also a good place for the community. "We want people to come and share in this special moment in history," Tillier said.