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SCC Music Instructor Telling the Story of Standing Bear Through Music

Dr. Ken Hoppmann is the pianist for "Standing Bear: A Ponca Indian Cantata"

In all of his years as a teacher and musician, Dr. Ken Hoppmann has never been more proud of anything as he is of the upcoming concert “Standing Bear: A Ponca Indian Cantata.”

“This is one of the most far-reaching projects I’ve done, and it’s become much bigger than we ever anticipated,” said Hoppmann, humanities co-chair and instructor of music at Southeast Community College. “There’s a lot of national support and inquiries, and there’s a huge potential to reach a lot of people.”

The world premiere of the cantata will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, at the Lied Center’s Carson Theater. The event is sponsored in part by the Hildegard Center for the Arts and SCC. Hoppmann sits on the board of the HCFA.  

“The goal is to unite people of all faiths, beliefs and cultures through the arts,” Hoppmann said about the HCFA. 

The idea for the Standing Bear cantata was the result of a brainstorming session with other board members. Once it was funded through a grant, it was given a green light. The project has been two years in the making.

“It’s almost unreal,” Hoppmann reflected. “For so long it’s been in the works, it’s been all-consuming. It’s been so much of what I’ve thought about in the past two years. Friday will be bittersweet.”

The performance will tell the story of Standing Bear, including many of his own words in English, as well as the Ponca language. In addition to Dr. Hoppmann on the piano, it will feature soloist Grant Youngblood and the Rangbrook Ensemble from Omaha, which includes two violinists, two cellists and two violists. 

The composer is Jerod Tate, an acquaintance of Hoppmann’s from his early days in music.

“I knew him 30 years ago from Wyoming and never knew he was Native American,” Hoppmann said. “He is a Chickasaw Classical Composer.”

Hoppmann says the topic of Standing Bear is timely as there is current legislation to turn the Standing Bear Trail into a national landmark. The trail spans from Chief Standing Bear’s homeland in Nebraska through Kansas and into Oklahoma. 

 Hoppmann says he’s not sure what the future holds for “Standing Bear: A Ponca Indian Cantata,” but the HCFA holds exclusive rights to if for three years and it hopes to do more projects.

“There’s a huge potential to reach a lot of people,” he said. 

The performance on Friday is sold out but will be live streamed by NET at the following link: http://netnebraska.org/interactive-multimedia/culture/standing-bear-ponca-indian-cantata

Additional sponsors include: The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the Ethel S. Abbott Charitable Foundation, the UNL Center for Civic Management and the Great Plains Art Museum. 


For more information contact:
Andrea Gallagher Haggar
Marketing Specialist