Tag: Conservatory of Music

New York Chamber Ensemble Opens New Lawrence Community Concert Series at Riverview Gardens

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Michael Mizrahi

The first of a series of concerts designed to being bring classical chamber music to non-traditional venues and populations will be performed Tuesday, Oct. 14 at Riverview Gardens Community Center, 1101 S. Oneida Street, Appleton.

The concert will feature members of Decoda, a New York City-based chamber ensemble comprised of virtuoso musicians, entrepreneurs and passionate advocates for the arts. The concert, at 5:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

The concert is part of Lawrence University’s new “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project.” In July, Lawrence received a $16,700 Arts and Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region to launch the program.

Lawrence Conservatory of Music faculty members Michael Mizrahi, piano, and Erin Lesser, flute, are directing the program. Both are members of Decoda, which was recently named an affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall.

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Erin Lesser

Decoda members also will spend five days at Lawrence as artists-in-residence working with faculty and students in a series of interactive performance workshops.

In addition to Riverview Gardens, Lawrence is partnering with the Fox Valley Warming Shelter, the Freedom Center Food Pantry and Jefferson Elementary School “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Music For All: Grant Helps Lawrence Launch New Community Outreach Project

An Arts and Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region will enable Lawrence University to launch a new program to bring classical chamber music to children and populations who ordinarily do not participate.

The $16,700 grant will support the “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project, which will be directed by Lawrence Conservatory of Music faculty members Michael Mizrahi and Erin Lesser.

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Michael Mizrahi, assistant professor of music

Working with three community partners — Riverview Gardens, the Fox Valley Warming Shelter and Appleton’s Jefferson Elementary School — Lawrence faculty and students will stage a series of classical music performances beginning this fall using interactive techniques to create deep, artistic connections in settings where such music is rarely heard.

The project will bring members of the New York City-based Decoda chamber music group to campus to help Lawrence students and faculty learn interactive performance methods, write scripts, create entry points into musical works and engage non-traditional audiences.

“I see this project as part of a musical renaissance in Appleton and beyond.”
    — Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music

“We believe communities are made stronger through positive interaction and shared experiences,” said Mizrahi, a pianist who joined the Lawrence faculty in 2009 and also a member of Decoda. “We also believe that music has the power to connect people, transcend social barriers and provide meaningful emotional experiences. This project will facilitate active participation, conversation, engaged learning and meaningful connections among classical musicians and non-traditional audiences.”

The three community partners were targeted for the project because they represent diverse populations, including young children, “at-risk” teens, people experiencing homelessness, adults in job training programs and community garden members.

Approximately 1,000 individuals from FVWS and RVG, along with 200 students from Jefferson Elementary School, will benefit from increased access to live musical performance and interactive learning with this project.

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Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music

Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, sees the Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” initiative meshing perfectly with the conservatory’s core belief that music is for everyone and it can change lives in profound ways.

“This projects puts our philosophy into action so our students can figure out how best to give an audience entrance points into the music and then go out and actively engage the community in the wonder and beauty of the music,” said Pertl. “Music, and particularly classical music, should not be treated like some revered museum piece to be passively stared at through a dusty glass case. This project allows our faculty and students to find new ways to actively engage audiences from schools to warming shelters to concert halls in a meaningful, moving dialogue with the music. I see this project as part of a musical renaissance in Appleton and beyond.”

Approximately a dozen concerts are planned at the three partner sites during the 2014-15 academic year, most of which will be free and open to the public.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Kenny Garrett Quintet Closes Lawrence University 2013-14 Jazz Series

Grammy Award-winning alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett returns to the Lawrence University stage with his jazz quintet for an encore performance — 14 years after his Appleton debut — Friday May 2 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel in the final concert of the 2013-14 Lawrence Jazz Series.

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Kenny Garrett closes Lawrence’s Jazz Series May 2, 14 years after first appearing on the Memorial Chapel stage.

Tickets, at $22-24 for adults, $20-22 for seniors and $17-19 for students, are available at the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749 or boxoffice@lawrence.edu.

Garrett, who got his start as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1978, has emerged as the preeminent alto saxophonist of his generation.  Renowned for his talents as a soloist as well as his compositions as a bandleader, Garrett visits Lawrence in the midst of an international tour and in the wake of another Grammy nomination for his recent album “Pushing the World Away.”

Lawrence faculty saxophonist Jose Encarnacion says Garrett ranks along side jazz giants Charlie Parker and Julian “Cannonball” Adderely as “one of the most important alto saxophone voices in jazz music.”

“Kenny Garrett is one of my heroes and biggest inspiration,” said Encarnacion. “He is one of the most important alto saxophone players in the history of jazz. His solos are in perfect harmony with the universe.”

Praised by AllMusic.com for writing jazz compositions with “that mercurial something,” Garrett is known for his distinctive sound, simultaneously vigorous and melodic. He has worked with a laundry list of jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Art Blakey and Woody Shaw.

Garrett will be joined on the Chapel stage by his accomplished bandmates: bassist Corcoran Holt; drummer McClenty Hunter; pianist Vernell Brown and percussionist Rudy Bird.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Flutist Leo Sussman Qualifies for National Woodwinds Competition

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Leo Sussman ’15

Lawrence University junior Leo Sussman has qualified for the 2014 National Society of Arts and Letters national performing arts competition for woodwinds (flute, oboe, clarinet) after winning the recent (March 15) three-state regional competition in Champaign, Ill.

A flute performance and physics major from San Francisco, Calif., Sussman earned top honors among 14 finalists from Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa at the regional competition, earning $1,000 for his winning performance. He advances to the NSAL’s national competition May 13-17 at the West Virginia Cultural Center in Charleston, W.V., where he’ll compete for a $10,000 first-place prize.

In winning the regional competition, Sussman performed “Landscape with Birds” by Peteris Vasks, “Ballade” by Frank Martin and “Sonata for Solo Flute in A minor” by CPE Bach. He studies in the flute studio of music professor Erin Lesser.

Lawrence senior Heather Jost, a flute performance and anthropology major from Pewaukee, also qualified as a finalist for the NSAL’s regional competition.

The National Society of Arts and Letters is an organization dedicated to helping promising young artists through competitions, financial assistance, master classes, and career introductions. Each year the NSAL sponsors a competition for one specific medium rotating among the visual arts, performing arts and literature. This year marked the first time the performing arts competition featured woodwind players.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Lawrence Concert Choir, Cantala, Showcase Their Talents at Regional Choral Conference

More than 90 Lawrence University students will showcase their voices when the Lawrence Concert Choir and Cantala women’s choir perform at the 2014 American Choral Directors Association North Central Regional Conference March 19-20 in Des Moines, Iowa.  This is the second time since 2006 Concert Choir and Cantala both were selected to perform at the ACDA’s regional conference.

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Lawrence University Concert Choir with accompanist Tony Capparelli.

Each choir will be in the spotlight Thursday, March 20 at St. Ambrose Church, with the 45-member Cantala singing at 10:30 a.m. and the 48-member Concert Choir performing at 2 p.m. Both choirs sing under the direction of co-choir directors Phillip Swan and Stephen Sieck.

Choirs are invited to perform at ACDA regional and national conferences through a rigorous, blind-auditioned, peer-reviewed process based on submitted concert recordings from the last three years.

“It is unusual for two choirs from the same institution to be invited to perform at the same conference,” said Swan, who directed Cantala at the 2006 ACDA regional conference in Omaha, Neb., and the 2011 national conference in Chicago. “It’s gratifying to know that consistent quality continues to be evident in our choral program and is recognized by our peers. It’s especially exciting to know that although we have undertaken major changes in our program (a new conducting team and a new co-directing model), our vibrant, retooled choral program continues to be recognized for its quality and creativity.”

For Sieck, who joined the conservatory of music faculty in 2010, his first invitation to perform at this level was especially gratifying.

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Lawrence University Cantala women’s choir

“This shows that Lawrence has not just one outstanding choir, but an outstanding choral program,” said Sieck. “Having both advanced ensembles featured is a real celebration that our students sing at the highest level. I’m also excited because this shows that Lawrence’s co-directing model is not just innovative, but also effective. Phillip and I have each worked with each of these choirs over the past three years, so having them both selected is a great honor to the team-teaching approach we bring.”

The program for both choirs celebrates the spirit of worship in the Hindu, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant traditions, covering five centuries of music from 11 countries in nine languages. The performances will feature genres ranging from opera to children’s play-songs, from dance to prayer.

“Many schools have an outstanding mixed choir, which is usually considered the flagship ensemble in the choral department,” said Swan, who has worked with the Lawrence choral program since 2002. “But, to also have a nationally recognized women’s choir, with completely different personnel, that performs at the same musical level as the top mixed-voice ensemble, demonstrates depth of quality in our choral program. I feel extremely blessed to work with such talented students and am also thankful to work with colleagues who have a shared vision for teaching and inspiring these young adults to achieve their highest musical potential.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence Student Musicians Earn Top Honors at State Flute Competition

Lawrence University student musicians captured the top two places at the recent (3/8) 2014 Wisconsin Flute Festival Collegiate Competition hosted by UW-Oshkosh.

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Caitlynn Winkler ’15

Juniors Caitlynn Winkler, a flute performance and music education major from Sheboygan, and Sam Rolfe, a flute performance major from Boscobel, earned first- and second-place honors, respectively. They were among three finalists selected from an initial pool of nine entries. The competition is open to undergraduates enrolled in a Wisconsin college or university.

Each presented a 15-minute program in the finals. Winkler performed “Among Fireflies” by Elainie Lillios, “Image” by Eugene Bozza, and Movement III from Eldin Burton’s “Sonatina.”

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Sam Rolfe ’15

Rolfe performed “Cinq Incantacions pour Flute Seule” by Andre Jolivet, “Sonata for Flute and Piano in E Major” by Johann Sebastian Bach and the world premiere of “Clockwork Koan” a piece written by Lawrence senior Chris Harrity as part of the flute and composition studio flutist/composer collaboration project.

Winkler received $250 for her winning performance while Rolfe was awarded $100. Both study in the flute studio of Assistant Professor of Music Erin Lesser.

As part of the festival, senior Schuyler Thornton was selected to play a masterclass with guest artist Stephanie Mortimer. The Lawrence Flute Ensemble was one of three groups selected to open the day-long festival as part of a flute ensemble showcase, performing three works, including a new work by Lawrence Associate Professor of Music Joanne Metcalf.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Conservatory, Theatre Arts Dept. Presents Kurt Weill’s American Opera “Street Scene”

Just weeks after a staging of Elmer Rice’s play version of “Street Scene,” a day-long snapshot of life in a “mean” quarter of New York City, the Lawrence University Conservatory presents the opera of the same story with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by poet Langston Hughes.

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Seniors Jon Stombres (left) portrays Sam Kaplan, a poetic Jewish neighbor of the Maurrants, Lauren Koeritzer (center) plays Jennie Hildebrand, a teenage daughter of a single mother, Michael Uselmann (red shirt) plays Daniel Buchanan, a nervous neighbor waiting for his pregnant wife to go into labor, and Daniel Vinitsky (seated right) portrays Harry Easter, Rose Maurrant’s sleazy boss, in Kurt Weill’s opera “Street Scene.”

Performances in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center will be at 7:30 p.m. March 6-7-8 and with a 3 p.m. matinee performance Sunday, March 9. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for seniors/students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Assistant Professor of Music History Erica Scheinberg will provide a brief introduction to Weill and “Street Scene” beginning at 6:45 p.m. prior to each performance.

SEE A REVIEW OF THE OPERA

Premiering in 1947, the opera was Weill’s embrace of the American musical style, combining opera, popular song, Broadway and jazz.

“Having fled Nazi Germany, his goal was to create a new kind of opera that reflected the diversity of his adopted country,” said Bonnie Koestner, vocal coach of the production.

The opera’s diversity is also reflected in the double-cast production that features 60 actors onstage, accompanied by the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Octavio Más-Arocas.

“Our audience will be astonished by the depth of talent in both casts and will immediately connect with Weill’s rich and tuneful score,” Koestner added.

Like the play, the opera, follows the Maurrant family — Anna, unhappily married to the brutish stagehand Frank, and their two children, Rose and Willie — and their neighbors through an exceptionally hot 24-hour period in the summer of 1929. Anna, who is having an affair with Sankey, the neighborhood milkman, is the subject of much gossip among the others living in the brownstone where the entire production is set, while Rose navigates a romance with her Jewish neighbor Sam Kaplan.

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Senior Graycie Gardner portrays Rose Maurrant, a young woman navigating a romance with her Jewish neighbor, in Lawrence’s production of the opera “Street Scene.”

Professor Timothy X. Troy, who is directing the opera, noted the uniqueness of presenting back-to-back productions based on the same story.

“Producing both works allows us and our audiences to explore the whole process of adaptation,” he said. “Rice, Langston Hughes and Weill joined their efforts to reimagine the play as an opera. They chose core themes, explored relationships, and developed the context of the play’s action supported with orchestra and song. We hope our audience’s will take advantage of this truly unique opportunity. Anyone who attended the play first, now seeing the opera will provide the unusual experience of thinking like the composer and librettist.”

The performance is funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., New York, N.Y.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Unexpected Gift Nets Lawrence Conservatory a New Steinway Grand Piano

The Lawrence Conservatory keyboard department recently received a welcome surprise: a sizeable and unexpected gift earmarked for the purchase of a new Steinway D Concert Grand Piano. The gift came courtesy of the generosity of 1958 Lawrence graduate Kim Hiett Jordan.

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Members of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music keyboard department — Michael Mizrahi, Anthony Padilla and Catherine Kautsky — show off their new Steinway D Concert Grand Piano.

Choosing a concert-quality piano, though, isn’t as simple as ordering the right model number from the Steinway catalog. Three members of the conservatory’s keyboard department —  faculty members Catherine Kautsky, Michael Mizrahi and Anthony Padilla — all traveled to New York City to do some hands-on work selecting just the right instrument. The trio was accompanied by a representative from Appleton’s Heid Music, an authorized Steinway dealer. Leaving nothing to chance, the piano faculty recruited additional expertise from renowned concert pianist Richard Goode, who has performed several times as a guest artist at Lawrence.

“We eventually narrowed it down to two beautiful instruments after playing two roomfuls of Steinway D’s,” explained Kautsky, current chair of the department. “We were privileged to have both Richard Goode and his technician along with us to help us make the choice. In the end, the decision was completely unanimous. The instrument we chose is wonderfully flexible and has a beautiful, warm sound that is large enough to fill the largest of halls.

“One tries to find a piano that both feels good under the hands and sounds wonderful to the listener,” Kautsky added. “We think we’ve succeeded extraordinarily well on both counts.”

The magnificent new instrument has taken up residency in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. It will be available to be played by students, faculty and a roster of distinguished visiting artists and enjoyed by audience members for years to come.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Pianist Elizabeth Vaughan Earns Second-Place Honors at Regional Competition

Lawrence University’s Elizabeth Vaughan placed second in the recent (Jan. 11) Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) East Central Piano Division competition held at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio.

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Elizabeth Vaughan ’15

Vaughan, a junior from Highland Park, Ill., is only the second Lawrence pianist to finish first or second in the Young Artist (19-26 years of age) category in the MTNA’s five-state regional competition. She performed works by Bach, Chopin, Liszt and Scriabin. Majoring in both piano performance and vocal performance, she studies in the studios of Catherine Kautsky and Joanne Bozeman, respectively.

Vaughan qualified for the regional competition by winning the 2013 MTNA Wisconsin state competition last October.

The MTNA performance competitions provide educational experiences for students and teachers and recognize exceptionally talented young artists in their pursuit of musical excellence.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

The Gift of Music: Lawrence Conservatory Offerings for Holiday Shoppers

Still looking for a holiday stocking stuffer? A pair of recently released CDs by the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble and Lawrence faculty jazz percussionist Dane Richeson will fit neatly into just about any size stocking.

Performed under the direction of conductor Andrew Mast, the 16-track Wind Ensemble disc features seven pieces performed between 2005 and 2010. It includes six world premieres from Lawrence commissions as well as the first-ever digital recording of Vincent Persichetti’s “Turn Not Thy Face.”LU-Wind-Ensemble-CD-Facebook

“This disc represents a culmination of several passions of mine – the creation and performance of new music written by amazing friends and colleagues who have all given wonderful gifts of repertoire to the wind ensemble world,” said Mast. “This disc enables me to share and celebrate these treasures.  Additionally, the inclusion of Persichetti’s  “Turn Not Thy Face,” represents the first digital recording of this work by one of my favorite composers. I truly believe there is something for everybody on these two discs and I am incredibly honored that so many people were involved with them, including students from several years of the Wind Ensemble.”

Richeson’s “Maxim Confit” features many of his friends both inside and out of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. The nine-track jazz disc blends Richeson’s infectious drum work with the musical chops of pianist Bill Carrothers and saxophonist Jose Encarnacion, both colleagues at Lawrence, along with an array of all-star artists outside the campus, including saxophonist David Liebman, guitarist Vic Juris, and fellow percussionists Jamey Haddad (drums), Joe Locke (vibraphone/marimba), and Michael Spiro (bata/congas).

Maxim-Confit-web“It was great fun collaborating with so many great friends and colleagues in the music business on this project, some of whom I’ve worked with for years and some of whom I worked with for the first time,” said Richeson. “I’m really proud of this work. It’s raw jazz seasoned with a dash of world percussion from cultures I have been fortunate to live in. The tracks are quite different from each other, which keeps the listener wondering what to expect next.”

Both CDs — as well as several other Lawrence-affiliated recordings — are available at Lawrence Apparel and Gifts in the Warch Campus Center . They can be ordered online as well as purchased in person.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.