UW-Whitewater’s Robert Gehrenbeck and Rebecca Mueller
(Whitewater, WI) UW-Whitewater is proud to announce the award of a MAP (Multi-Arts Production) Fund grant for Native American composer Brent Michael Davids. The grant application was coauthored by Davids and UW-Whitewater Associate Professor of Music, Robert Gehrenbeck, with assistance from Rebecca Mueller in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. UW-Whitewater will serve as David’s official sponsor for the MAP grant, which totals $12,500.
Davids is one of the nation’s most celebrated Native American composers, with a career spanning forty-three years, including commissions from the Joffrey Ballet, the Kronos Quartet, the National Symphony Orchestra, and Chanticleer. An enrolled member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, Davids currently resides on the Mohican reservation in northern Wisconsin, between Green Bay and Wausau.
The MAP Fund grant will allow Davids to continue to compose a large work for singers, choir, and orchestra, Requiem for America: Singing for the Invisible People . Begun in 2016, this 90-minute, secular ‘anti-Requiem,’ gives voice to America’s invisible people: the American Indians. An interdisciplinary performance work, REQUIEM FOR AMERICA places indigenous voices front and center, with a mission of outreach and community-building that is central to each performance. REQUIEM FOR AMERICA aims to shine a light on historic injustices but at the same time to model and to create solutions in the present, by building collaborative relationships with indigenous artists throughout the country. What makes this project unique is the recruitment of Native American singers, from local tribes and individuals, to perform center stage. As the nucleus of the work in performance, indigenous singers embody the interaction between native and non-native musicians and communities that is at the heart of this project.
A growing consortium of national partners are committing to perform REQUIEM, with the ultimate goal of presenting the work in every state of the nation, collaborating with the local tribal communities for every performance. Each time REQUIEM is performed, the musicians, American Indians and audiences will cultivate new friendships. By joining forces, each performance hopes to build good relations with, and foster greater insights from, America’s first inhabitants.
Additional funding will be needed in order to mount the premiere performance of REQUIEM, which is anticipated to occur in 2022 in Madison, with participation by UW-Whitewater students and faculty. Joining the collegiate and professional musicians on stage will be the Medicine Bear Singers, an intertribal drum circle from northern Wisconsin, and four operatic soloists. For more information about this powerful project, including opportunities for donations in support of its mission, visit www.RequiemForAmerica.com.
Brent Michael Davids has visited UW-Whitewater and collaborated with Associate Professor Gehrenbeck numerous times over the past ten years. In 2016 Gehrenbeck, the UW-Whitewater Chamber Singers, and the Medicine Bear Singers premiered “Sanctus: Singing for Power” from REQUIEM. The following year Gehrenbeck commissioned Davids to write Singing for Water in support of Native American Water Protectors. Last year, Gehrenbeck and the Chamber Singers performed Davids’ Native American Suite on their international tour to Germany and Poland.
The Multi-Arts Production (MAP) Fund is one of the leading US supporters of diversity in the performing arts. In 2020, MAP awarded $1.3 million in grants to 171 performing artists and arts organizations. “In a world of pervasive injustice, dreaming is a privilege. The MAP Fund has shared the responsibility of building a more just arts practice by centering artists’ imaginations and supporting their capacity to dream, enact, and construct their work for more than 30 years. Please join us in celebrating the spirit and tenacity of performing artists who continue to transform our world in revolutionary ways” (https://mapfundblog.org/map-blog/).