Skip to main content

Freshman Blugold hits the road with Lorie Line's Pop Chamber Orchestra

| Judy Berthiaume

Photo credit: The photo above is by Marisa Wojcik of the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and is used with permission.


Looking to share some holiday cheer with a fellow Blugold?

Meet the young trumpeter in pianist Lorie Line’s 2017 holiday tour, “King of Kings,” which includes a Nov. 25 show in downtown Eau Claire.

Dawson Redenius — a UW-Eau Claire freshman trumpet player — is the youngest member of Line’s Pop Chamber Orchestra, touring with the popular entertainer’s annual holiday extravaganza.

A music education major from Fort Atkinson, Redenius was just weeks into his UW-Eau Claire college career when Robert Baca, UW-Eau Claire’s director of jazz studies, connected him with Line, a long-time friend.

“Lorie mentioned they were putting a trumpet player in the orchestra again and described what they were looking for,” says Baca, who played in Line’s orchestra about 10 years ago. “These characteristics matched perfectly with a new freshman whom I had barely known for three weeks. However, during that short time, Dawson not only exhibited the characteristics she needed for her show, but he had the mind of a 40-year-old in a 19-year-old body as far as maturity and professionalism.

“I knew he could wade through the uncertainties and gray areas of a professional performing group.”

Redenius immediately proved him right.

“The test came when I told him of this opportunity, and that Lorie wanted him to travel to her house and audition with no preparation,” Baca says. “Dawson did just that. He told me from her living room, they exchanged phrases from her piano to his trumpet, with him immediately correcting himself from her musical nuance suggestions.

“While the audition was going on, she was talking about the tour schedule and his uniform. At one point he said, ‘Did I get the gig?’ She hurriedly replied, ‘Yes,’ and went on with the details.”

Redenius was in a practice room in Haas Fine Arts Center when he got the call from Baca offering him the opportunity to audition with Line.

The catch? He had to be to Line’s Lake Minnetonka home studio in 12 hours for the audition.

“To be honest, I didn’t know who Lorie Line was at the time,” Redenius says. “All I knew was what Mr. Baca educated me on, which was that she is a BIG deal.”

Redenius says he was “panicking with excitement” as he pulled into the entertainer’s driveway.

After just a few minutes, the nerves disappeared as Line met him in the driveway with a warm and sincere welcome.

A few songs later, Line began talking with him about tour life and her expectations of him.

Redenius quickly signed on and then began figuring out how to balance this opportunity with the demands of school.

“The next three weeks, I prepared for the show,” Redenius says. “I had many meetings with my professors to talk about how we could make this work. With help from Mr. Baca, we found solutions to everything.

“I have received an incredible amount of support from all of my professors, peers and family.”

Rehearsals began in early November, requiring him to drive to Minnesota every day for a couple of weeks. Once performances started, he stayed part of the time in Minnesota with other orchestra members.

“We learned and memorized the show quickly,” Redenius says. “We got to test ourselves by performing for close friends and super fans in Lorie’s living room. Those audiences consisted of 40-50 people each night.”

The orchestra now is on the road with Line’s 2017 holiday tour, performing multiple nights a week at venues throughout the Midwest.

“This is an amazing opportunity to perform with musicians of an extremely high caliber,” Redenius says of the concert tour. “The fact that they are all great people is the cherry on the top. I couldn’t have hoped for a better group of people to create music with.”

While he is new to Line’s Pop Chamber Orchestra, Redenius has had plenty of experience touring and performing.

He spent two years touring with the Kids from Wisconsin, one of the oldest and most beloved touring performance groups in the state.

While only in his first semester as a Blugold, Redenius already is part of several UW-Eau Claire jazz combos, performs with multiple ensembles and is a member of the Blugold Marching Band.

He also previously has played for the UW-Milwaukee Youth Jazz Ensemble and the Madison College Jazz Ensemble.

Photo cutline: Dawson Redenius performed during the Eau Claire Jazz Festival's 52nd Street event in April. The Eau Claire freshman was a high school senior at the time and participated in Jazz Fest with the Fort Atkinson High School jazz band. (Photo by Marisa Wojcik, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. Used with permission.)