Kruger Brothers join dancers, orchestras to entertain Ogden students

Feb 1 2012 - 7:55pm

Images

(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner)
Jens Kruger plays the banjo as he conducts a workshop with his band, the Kruger Brothers, and students at Ogden High School. The Kruger Brothers performed with Imagine Ballet Theater, the Chamber Orchestra Ogden and Weber State Chamber Orchestra.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner)
Uwe Kruger plays the guitar during the workshop.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner)
The Kruger Brothers, Jens (left) and Uwe Kruger (right), play with Joel Landsberg for students at Ogden High School during a workshop.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner)
Jens Kruger plays the banjo as he conducts a workshop with his band, the Kruger Brothers, and students at Ogden High School. The Kruger Brothers performed with Imagine Ballet Theater, the Chamber Orchestra Ogden and Weber State Chamber Orchestra.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner)
Uwe Kruger plays the guitar during the workshop.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner)
The Kruger Brothers, Jens (left) and Uwe Kruger (right), play with Joel Landsberg for students at Ogden High School during a workshop.

OGDEN -- Ogden School District students loved a taste of culture recently.

Students of all ages were treated to a series of performances by nationally-known bluegrass and acoustic band the Kruger Brothers.

Dancers from the Ogden-based Imagine Ballet Company as well as the Chamber Orchestra Ogden and the Weber State Chamber Orchestra joined the group for the performances.

Music students from Ogden High School spent an afternoon last week with the Kruger Brothers in a question and answer session. Then, elementary students were treated to a dress rehearsal performance by the dancers and the Kruger Brothers. The group then performed a free morning concert for high school students before all four groups put on a show Friday evening called "A Night to Remember."

The brothers then performed another concert Saturday evening.

The Ogden School Foundation and Ogden Friends of Acoustic Music sponsored the events, but the production was the brain child of OFOAM chair Michelle Tanner.

Tanner was born and raised in Ogden. But when she saw the Kruger Brothers perform in Arizona four years ago it changed her life.

"I knew I had to get them to perform in my hometown," she said.

The band performed at the Egyptian Theater four years ago and also made a visit to Ogden High at that time. Last May, Tanner saw them perform again in Arizona and felt it was time for them to make a return trip to Ogden and have the chance to perform in OHS's recently-renovated auditorium.

She started talking to Imagine Ballet's director, Raymond Van Mason, and the idea of a huge collaboration was born.

"We have a really close-knit arts community in Ogden," Tanner said.

Students loved the time they spent watching and listening to the various performances. Elementary students from Madison and Gramercy couldn't resist clapping and toe-tapping to the "Appalachian Concerto" composed by Kruger Brothers band founder Jens Kruger.

The patrons also loved live performances of some of the other classical numbers.

Nine-year-old Jaden Collins grinned ear to ear as he talked about the performance.

"I loved the Kruger Brothers," he exclaimed as he danced out of the auditorium.

Bernice Barajes also loved the band, but loved the dancing as well.

Jens Kruger said the local dancers had been working on their dances, choreographed to his music, for the past six months.

"I hate to use this word, but they are just so cute," he said of the young dancers ages 9 to 19.

He has never participated in any kind of event where dancing was going with his music. He admitted he wasn't sure how it was going to work, but was impressed with the finished project. He said there were so many variables to work out, but it had turned out beautifully.

He was also thrilled at the chance to perform in the OHS auditorium. When he and his brother visited the venue before, his brother took some pictures of the auditorium from the stage that have been on their website since.

"It is just spectacular. I have never been to a place with this kind of architecture... I have performed in many, many places but you don't get this kind of mixture anywhere else," he said.

Tanner said she loves that Ogden students are getting some true art in their education.

"Our mission is to bring music education to the youth of Ogden," Tanner said of the OFOAM.

She wants them to see the joy that comes from traditional instrument playing.

"There are so many iPods and synthetic music. The Kruger Brothers changed my life and I hope it can move and inspire these kids to be involved with the arts," Tanner said.

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