In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) at the NDSU
Libraries in Fargo reaches out to prairie families and former Dakotans.
In various ways, it affirms the heritage of the Germans from Russia
as an important part of the northern plains culture. Special holiday
regards to readers of this column!
Prairie Public Television premieres the new documentary which highlights
the music traditions of the Germans from Russia. Filming has captured
various music traditions in the Dakotas and Colorado. The concert
choirs of Jamestown College and the University of Mary were closely
This music documentary premieres on PPTV on Sunday, April 24, 2005,
at 7 pm (CDT). The program will be available later to other PBS
These are three sponsored Premiere Events: 1) Saturday, April 16
at 2 pm, Heritage Center Auditorium, Capitol Grounds, Bismarck,
ND; 2) Sunday, April 17 at 2 pm, Reiland Fine Arts Center, Jamestown
College, Jamestown, ND, 2 pm; and 3) April 21 at 6 pm, Fargo Theater,
314 Broadway, Fargo, ND. Sponsored by Prairie Public Broadcasting,
these events are free and open to the general public.
Major financial sponsors for the music documentary are: North Dakota
Council on the Arts; North Dakota Humanities Council; North Dakota
State University Libraries; Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation
Foundation; and the members of Prairie Public Television.
The music documentary is the fourth in the "Germans from Russia
Series". Previous documentaries are: 1) "The Germans from
Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" (1999);
2) Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia"
(2000); 3) "Prairie Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses of
the Great Plains" (2002).
The new "Music of the Germans from Russia" CD of the
Jamestown College (ND) Concert Choir is available. The choir performs:
Grosser Gott, Wir Loben Dich (Holy God We Praise Thy Name); Schoenster
Here Jesu (Beautiful Savior), In Dem Garten, and other songs.
The music, which defined the faith and culture of the German-Russian
population, traveled with them when they left Russia to settle the
North American prairies and plains. This unique collection from
the Jamestown College Concert Choir honors those ethnic Germans
from Russia. Music, especially singing, was central to village life
in South Russia. Their hymns traveled with them from their native
Germany as did the hymnals. For further information, go to library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/tapes/JCChoir.html.
GRHC has published a new book, "Prairie Churches of Bon Homme
County, Dakota Territory", written by Maxine Schuurmans Kinsley.
Bon Homme County is important in the history and culture of the
first German Russians settlements in Dakota Territory. Kinsley's
work is especially valuable relating to churches and religion in
southeastern South Dakota. For more information, go to library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/nd_sd/prairiechurches.html.
I will be attending the following centennial events: 1) Streeter,
ND Centennial, Museum on main street (former Drug Store), Friday,
July 1 (1-6 pm) & Saturday, July 2 (10 am-4 pm); 2) McClusky
ND Centennial, City Hall, 117B Avenue East, Friday, July 8 (1-5
pm) & Saturday, July 9 (10 am-4 pm); 3) St. Luke Lutheran Church
Centennial, Wishek, ND Civic Center, Saturday, July 16 (1-5 pm)
& Sunday, July 17 (11am-3 pm). I look forward to my visits in
July to Streeter, McClusky and Wishek. Exhibits featuring photographs
be on display as well as information tables about the Germans from
Russia history, culture and foodways.
Prairie Public Broadcasting has produced a new DVD which includes
these two award-winning documentaries: "The Germans from Russia:
Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" and "Prairie
Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses of the Great Plains. For further
information, go to library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/tapes/dualdvd.html.
The Germans from Russia Heritage Society Convention is July 14-17,
2005, Ramkota Hotel, Pierre, SD. The American Historical Society
of Germans from Russia Convention is July 17-21, 2005, Westin Inn,
Oklahoma City. The Festival of Germans from Russia is September
23-25, 2005, Medicine Hat, AB. For further information, go to library.ndsu.edu/grhc/outreach/travel_dates/index.htm.
The 11th Journey to the Homeland Tour, sponsored by the NDSU Libraries
is scheduled for May 24 - June 4, 2005. The tour includes Budapest,
Hungary; Odessa, Ukraine and the former German villages; Stuttgart,
Germany; and Alsace, France. Limited space is still available.
For further information about Germans from Russia heritage, donations
to GRHC including books, documentaries, CDs, DVDs, cookbooks and
tours, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo,
ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
GRHC website: library.ndsu.edu/grhc).
April, 2005 column for North Dakota and South Dakota