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PBS - For Polk County Musician, Home Is Where His Concerts Are

www.wisconsinlife.org

Manfred Schonauer turned a 100 year old two-room schoolhouse into a concert hall. He not only holds classes and concerts there, it’s his home too.


Pioneer Press - Twin Cities, Minnesota - November 16, 2013

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The Country Today - Eau Claire, Wisconsin - December 21, 2012

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The Chronotype- Rice Lake, Wisconsin- April 9, 2008

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What's Playing- July-August 2007

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THE SUN- Osceola Wisconsin- September 6 2006

Homeage to Home IV
Home at Last

by Buz Swerkstrom

At first you hear nothing. Five seconds go by. Ten seconds. Just as you're wondering if you have a defective CD that is blank when it should have music on it, or that perhaps your CD player isn't working right, there is a feint marching beat drumming. The sound builds to a full marching beat, then to a crescendo, ending with rolling timpani, followed by cheering.

The six-minute number is called "A Hero's Welcome". It is the first of eight tracks on Manfred Schonauer's new compact disc of original compositions, "Home at Last."

"The hero is you," Manfred writes in the liner notes for the opening track. "Or the one you celebrate," he adds.

Manfred, who lives and performs at the old two-room contry schoolhouse called the Pipe Dream Center, in the eastern part of Polk County, regards "Home At Last" as a concept album. (Despite popular misconception, a collection of music on a CD is still an album.)

The concept evolved as he composed and compiled the tunes, one of which was born 20 years ago.

As manfred points out, home means a lot of different things.

"It can be heaven," he says. The phrase "home at last" appears on man a gravestone.

"It can be something romantic, especially in the American language," says Manfred, who grew up in Germany and moved to America in 1972.

"I see it much more as a universal kind of thing, like space. Or it can be the heart. It can be another person."

"Home At Last" is Manfred's second CD. It is very different than his first,...about EOS, released in 1997. Except for that album's long, dreamy concluding number, which uses electronica to great effect...about EOS is a collection of solo piano pieces with a wide dynamic range and "At last"- strong melodies. "Home At Last" is all electronic keyboards and electronic effects. It has more subtlty in that there are levels of sound, with counter-melodies underlying main melodies.

"I could be at home in my music- just the music itself," Manfred says.

"Basically," he says, "I find home much more than just the physical building. [It is] whatever the mind and imagination can be."

Artistic freedom obviously is part of what makes Manfred feel at home at the Pipe Dream Center.

"Home At Last's" title tune even features vocals by Manfred. He reads the words of the poem "Home At Last," with his voice filtered through a Vocoder . It sounds like Darth Vader with a marble in his mouth. Some people have found the sound grating.

"I welcome that a lot because that's the way people feel about that," Manfred says. "I got them a little bit out of their security blanket because of that Vocoder."

Music is a touchstone for many people. In a recent issue of "Rolling Stone," Kurt Vonnegut was quoted as saying music "makes practically everybody fonder of life than he or she would be without it." He further mused: "The function of the artist is to make people like life better than they have before."

The Pipe Dream Center is a home to a fair number of people in a sense that it is a place where music refreshes their spirit and somehow speaks to their soul.

A home is not only a place to be-a destination unto itself-but a place to carry something away from as well, to paraphrase the main point of a poem one Pipe Dream Center patron wrote about the place. Walk on.

For some people, reaching home means embracing memories. For others it means unburdening themselves of memories. Some people know where home is from an early age. Others must search for their true home.

The phrase home at last implies a journey's end, a conclusion, a fulfillment, a contentment. When someone is "home at last" there is both a physical comfort and a psychological satisfaction.

"...been through aerosphere," Manfred says in his "Home At Last" poem, perhaps inventing a word to describe his Space Child side. That suggests a very long journey indeed.

"Good Home to you," he writes in concluding his liner notes for "Home At Last," capitalizing

"Home At Last" is available at these websites: manfredsmusic.com; cdbaby.com; relayerstudios.com.

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