Two New Ulmers working on Duke University art project

NEW ULM – Two New Ulm natives are collaborating on an unique choral-painting art project next Sunday at the Duke University Chapel in Durham, N.C.

Dr. Brian Schmidt, who has a doctorate in choral music and works with the Duke University Vespers Choir, has teamed up with New Ulm artist Robyn Anderson for a performance of the 17th-century oratorio “Membra Jesu Nostri,” which features seven cantatas dedicated to each of “the most holy limbs of our suffering Jesus.”

Schmidt, who directs the chamber choir, will be in charge of pulling together the performance of the rarely-played music. Anderson has drawn a series of seven paintings inspired by the sound and lyrics of the music. Since the play focuses on the limbs of Jesus, each piece has a blue rectangle framing the specific limb that is the focus of the corresponding cantata. The artwork will be displayed during the event, and smaller copies of the paintings will be in each playbook to allow the audience to examine the paintings during the performance.

“This project allows people to engage more of their senses while they listen to the music,” said Anderson.

The project was pulled together because the collaborators have known each other since a young age and even attended Christ the King Church when both lived in New Ulm. Anderson has previously drawn paintings for projects like this program, including one for Luther College in Iowa. She asked Schmidt about finding something they could collaborate on, and this project was the result.

Anderson, a professional artist, has some of her artwork displayed at her website, at She said she hopes to get the choral artwork posted in the next few days.

The performance and exhibition of the paintings will occur Sunday, April 21, at 4 p.m. in the Duke University Chapel. People wishing to watch the show will be able to stream it online at:

Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at

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