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Kashimana Ahua chosen as In Common Willmar composer-in-residence

Kashimana Ahua

ST. PAUL — Kashimana Ahua has been selected as composer-in-residence for In Common, a year-long community songwriting project in Willmar.

Through the creation and performance of new songs, the project aims to bridge cultural differences and share the stories of the diverse people who call Willmar home. "The program is a very exciting opportunity for us to showcase the capabilities of a living composer to bring disparate peoples together through the creation of new music," said John Nuechterlein, President and CEO of the American Composers Forum.

Beginning in mid-July and running for a year, In Common will include activities for story sharing, songwriting and performing, drum circles, cultural dance, communal meals, music classes in Willmar area schools, and other events designed with the community.

Born in Nigeria, composer/performer Ahua lived in Kenya and Ethiopia and traveled the world before making her home in the Twin Cities. She has experience writing and performing a wide range of musical styles.

Conversations with many community members helped shape the project. ACF asked: Whose stories need to be told and more widely heard? What ideas do you have to make Willmar a better place to live? Each conversation gravitated toward community members' hopes to foster understanding between people from different cultures.

And as the project came into focus, the organizers realized they wanted something very special: a composer who could guide people of all ages and abilities through the process of writing their own songs, so that the music would be a genuine reflection of Willmar and its people.

The organizers are currently seeking Willmar area residents who are interested in attending activities with Ahua and sharing stories during the coming year.

More information is available on the In Common website or by calling Kris Kautzman at 651-251-.2842. Follow In Common via Willmar Community Center social media.

The project is funded by the Otto Bremer Trust.