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On This Day: February 17

1864 - (Civil War) 1st Wisconsin Cavalry Expedition in East Tennessee

The 1st Wisconsin Cavalry took part in an expedition from Motley's Ford, Tennessee, to Murphy, North Carolina.

1926 - Composer Lee Hoiby Born

On this date Lee Hoiby was born in Madison. He studied piano from an early age but gave up his intentions to be a concert pianist when he received an invitation to study composition with Gian Carlo Menotti at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Menotti persuaded Hoiby to compose an opera and presented Hoiby's one-act 'The Scarf' at the first Spoleto (Italy) Festival in 1957." The New York City Opera presented Hoiby's A Month in the Country in 1964, and Summer and Smoke in 1972. Hoiby's opera, The Tempest, premiered at the Des Moines Metro Opera in 1986. Hoiby also made significant contributions to the piano repertory, including two piano concertos, and his choral music is widely performed in churches throughout the USA. His works have been recognized by awards and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Lee Hoiby passed away on March 28, 2011. [Source: G. Schirmer Inc., Associated Music Publishers]

2002 - Wisconsin Skater Takes Gold

On this date West Allis native Chris Witty won a gold medal in speed skating's 1000 meter at the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games. She broke the world record with a time of 1:13.82, even though she was recovering from mononucleosis. Before Witty competed in ice staking, she was a professional bicyclist. [Source: US Olympic Team]