Above: Tu Dance and Bon Iver rehearsed at April Base Studios near Eau Claire, Wis. (Graham Tolbert)
Fans in Massachusetts got the first peek at Bon Iver and Tu Dance's upcoming collaboration for St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music Series, premiering April 19 at St. Paul's Palace Theatre. The artists wrapped up a week-long residency at the MASS MoCA contemporary art museum in North Adams, Mass., with two sold-out workshop performances Saturday and Sunday.
Performance clips and many rapturous tweets surfaced after the performances, both dubbed "works-in-progress" by event organizers. Described as "overtly hopeful" by Liquid Music Series founder Kate Nordstrum, the piece featured video projections with nimbus clouds and a series of hopeful words including "Forward," "Elevate" and "Ascend." As for the original music by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, clips capture a percussive score with an extended sample of actor Viola Davis' speech at the Los Angeles Women's March in January, with its stirring message about Civil Rights and human progress.
The Massachusetts museum nabbed the performances by providing tech support and rehearsal space during the one-week residency. Tu Dance and Bon Iver also have worked on the piece at Vernon's April Base Studios near Eau Claire, Wis. Minnesota audiences will see the (final!) results April 19-21 in St. Paul. All four performances are sold out.
Don’t worry about the visuals, they were nothing special (at best), but new Bon Iver sounded tremendous tonight! Some of his boldest, most passionate, yet accessible music. Stunning singing, including a Leon Russell cover for the ages. @MASS_MoCA pic.twitter.com/onJL2aA801— AnEarful (@AnEarful) March 25, 2018
Extremely fortunate to have seen @boniver and TU Dance mix new, ethereal, and political music with contemporary dancing. Definitely up there as one of the better performances I’ve seen— Adam McDonald (@adammickeyd) March 25, 2018
@boniver @TUDance thank you for tonight. It was my sons first concert and will be what he compares future concerts to. Almost unfair for other musicians. You were all amazing! Thanks again! #boniver #tudance #massmoca— Todd Morin (@tsm2011) March 25, 2018
Bon Iver & TU Dance at @MASS_MoCA was a revolutionary experience. Hands down the best performing arts experience I’ve ever been to. Ever. I was crying pure joy the entire performance. Thank you @boniver @TUDance !!— एरिका बरेटो (@ericabvrreto) March 25, 2018