Gift of Life Transplant House, a beacon of hope, was established 35 years ago. It serves as a home away from home for approximately 4,500 patients and their caregivers who stay there while going through the transplant journey. They may be receiving or have received a life-saving organ transplant (such as heart, heart-lung, pancreas, liver or kidney), stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant. The house also welcomes patients receiving CAR-T therapy, which is a procedure that helps treat certain types of cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma.
We welcome you to Rochester Women Magazine’s artist column, our first in an ongoing series featuring women in the arts. There’s nothing like good music that vibrates your bones, moves your soul, makes your heart beat faster or raises the hair on the back of your neck. This issue’s arts column highlights three must-see female musicians from Rochester who do just that. Check out the local live theatre scene this winter as well.
THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO FIND A CONVENIENT BANK, CREDIT UNION OR LENDER IN ROCHESTER. Check out the map (on page 19) to find a convenient location near you*, or browse the bank or credit union websites to evaluate your options.
National banks generally provide all the financial services you may need, plus they have many convenient branches and ATMs wherever you may travel. However, local banks and credit unions offer competitive rates and fees and tend to be more involved in the local community.
HANDBELL CHOIRS HAVE LONG HAD A PLACE IN CHURCH SERVICES OF MANY DENOMINATIONS. The goal of Rochester Area Handbells (rah) is to bring the art of handbell performance out of a church setting and into the greater Rochester community. The ensemble plays music that ranges from classic favorites to contemporary and will be kicking off a concert series in late November.
SETTING THE STAGE
RAH is a fairly new ensemble—it officially launched in August 2017. Founder and musical director Paul Kingsbury, who moved to Rochester in 2015, was surprised to learn that there wasn’t a community handbell group in a city this size, especially with so many fantastic choral groups and other music ensembles already in existence. Fast-forward a couple of years, and the groundwork was laid to organize a handbell group.
RAH’s inaugural season was marked with five concerts, including a Christmas concert in the Rochester Public Library auditorium that maxed out room capacity. The city of Rochester also had the good fortune of hosting the 2018 Area 7 Handbell Musicians of America Festival Conference in June, which brought ringers from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Manitoba into the city for three days of ringing and workshops. Along with performing in the massed ringing event, RAH had the honor of opening the festival with a concert and reception.
BRINGING MUSIC OUT OF STUDENT MUSICIANS IS THE PRIVILEGE OF SOUTHEASTERN MINNESOTA YOUTH ORCHESTRAS’ (SEMYO) CONDUCTORS SARAH GIFFORD AND SUSAN OFTEDAHL. Gifford takes the baton for the philharmonic orchestra while Oftedahl conducts the chamber strings.
Rochester native and Mayo Clinic employee Sarah Gifford started out playing piano. She came to enjoy playing accompaniments with other musicians, rather than doing solo pieces. “My journey with the clarinet was a little more thorny,” she says. While not her first choice of instrument, she stuck with playing and found she enjoyed it. “I love music and playing with a group,” she explains. She also plays clarinet in local ensembles and teaches private lessons.
Susan Oftedahl’s music journey began with her father, a former music college professor. It was his job at Minnesota State University in Mankato that moved her family to Minnesota. He took Oftedahl and her brothers to see a variety of student and professional musical performances. She plays cello in the Rochester Symphony with a cello that was a gift from her father and was made by David Folland, a luthier (a maker of stringed instruments such as violins or guitars) in Northfield. “The enriched sounds deepen my enjoyment of playing,” she says.
MN ADULT & TEEN CHALLENGE ROCHESTER–WOMEN’S CENTER IS A PLACE OF HOPE AND HEALING. While laughter echoes through the hallways and children enjoy visits with their mothers, profound life-altering changes take place in a safe environment. A cocoon of love and respect envelops these women, sheltering them from the storms of daily life while they face down their demons and do the hard work of freeing themselves from addiction.
Faith-based Mn Adult & Teen Challenge, headquartered in the Twin Cities, has been helping adults and teens break free from drug and alcohol addictions since 1983. A few years ago, Mn Adult & Teen Challenge recognized a need in southeast Minnesota and opened a men’s facility in Rochester in January 2014. The men’s facility is located in the old Samaritan Bethany nursing home near Assisi Heights. Nearly from the beginning, there was a vision for a women’s center in Rochester. Center Director Tom Truszinski, who oversees both the men’s and women’s campuses, says having the opportunity to build the women’s facility is a prayer answered.
HELPING OUT DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON HAS ENDLESS BENEFITS FOR YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR COMMUNITY. There is no better time to begin good habits of giving for the year to come, than during the season of giving. In the Rochester area, there is a great array of opportunities for you and your group to give. Volunteering is an especially great opportunity for families and friends to spend time together, stay active during the cold winter months and feel good about improving the lives of others.
GIVING TIME AND MONEY
Donating items and volunteering takes more time than giving money. But being more involved increases the fun, and you can more easily see the direct impact of your contribution. In the words of Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” The “Journal of Health and Social Behavior” found over 90 percent of people report volunteering improves their mood, makes their community a better place and enriches their sense of purpose in life.
It began with discussions at book club: the burnout of women in the medical field, disparity in diversity and inclusion, gender parity and the proverbial “glass ceiling.” These issues became a recurring theme with the book club—then they decided to do something about it.
“They” are Anjali Bhagra, M.D. and Susan Moeschler, M.D. The “something” developed into the GRIT for Women in Medicine: Growth, Resilience, Inspiration, and Tenacity conference, the weekend of September 20-22 at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe in Truckee, California. According to the two organizers, the conference was conceived three years ago and took 18 months to plan.
SOLD OUT EVENT
“There has been an overwhelming response,” said Dr. Bhagra. “We had to limit the numbers due to the size of the facility.” Selling out at approximately 300, is a strong message that let organizers know they had hit a nerve in the medical community. The target audience is broad according to organizers: professional women and men in health care who are interested in developing a gender-balanced leadership that is representative of patient population and society.
ALL BELIEFS ARE HONORED AT THE WOMEN AND SPIRITUALITY CONFERENCE
LAST SEPTEMBER, OVER 750 PARTICIPANTS OF THE 36TH WOMEN AND SPIRITUALITY CONFERENCE WERE WARMLY WELCOMED AT THE NEWLY REDESIGNED MAYO CIVIC CENTER. THE CONFERENCE OFFERED 84 DIFFERENT WORKSHOPS ON TOPICS RELATED TO FEMINISM, SPIRITUALITY, HOLISTIC HEALING, SELF-HELP AND MORE. OVER 80 VENDORS OFFERED THEIR UNIQUE WARES IN THE EXHIBIT AREA, PLUS MANY READERS AND HEALERS WERE ON HAND TO OFFER THEIR GUIDANCE. LILAC WELLNESS CENTER CREATED A BEAUTIFUL SPACE FOR MASSAGE AND BODYWORK WITH A QUIET AREA FOR MEDITATION AND REFLECTION.
After 35 years at Minnesota State University (formerly Mankato State University), the conference now finds its home in Rochester. Evolving from their Women’s Studies Department in 1981, the conference has given voice to those with a message to share through teaching a workshop and those open to new insights or experiences through learning, personal growth or healing. Their mission statement reflects their goal to provide a “supportive and nurturing setting for a dialogue of caring and mutual respect between and among women and men from many spiritual and religious traditions.”
Over the years, the conference has been a safe space for experiential workshops like yoga, drumming, moving meditation or dance, discussion groups, lectures and presentations. Many of the presenters have utilized the conference to present papers for their master’s thesis or doctoral research on topics ranging from theology to feminism. What has made it a fascinating experience is that it changes completely from year to year with new presenters, new workshops, new talents and new ideas.
THE AMERICAN DREAM ENTICES MANY TO TAKE A RISK AND MAKE THE TREK TO THE UNITED STATES. WITH THE ILLUSION OF PROSPERITY AND SUCCESS, THE ALLURE IS APPEALING. ACCORDING TO THE PEW RESEARCH CENTER, MORE THAN 40 MILLION PEOPLE1 WHO LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES ARE IMMIGRANTS. THIS ACCOUNTS FOR 13.4 PERCENT OF THE U.S. POPULATION. IMMIGRATING TO THE UNITED STATES IS NO EASY TASK, AND EACH PERSON’S JOURNEY TO THE UNITED STATES IS UNIQUE.
HOPES AND CHALLENGES
In 2013, Nada Bastami emigrated from Sudan after her husband was selected for the lottery. The “lottery” is the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. It releases up to 50,000 immigrant visas each year with a random selection process allowing entry to immigrants from various countries.2 Bastami, a mother of twins, had a dream to come to America because of better education opportunities for her children, gender equality, enhanced quality of living and the reputation for being the most immigrant-friendly society in the world. Once she arrived, she learned that while the United States had its perks, it wasn’t going to be easy.