April 04, 2011

Choir, wind ensemble to perform in Springfield

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- They’ve been to Carnegie Hall, they’ve been on tour in China. Now they accompany Southern Illinois University Carbondale Chancellor Rita Cheng as she visits Springfield as part of Inauguration Week.

The SIUC Concert Choir and the SIUC Wind Ensemble present a concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. on April 13 at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. The concert follows a reception for the University’s new chancellor. Both the concert and the reception are free. However, space is limited so reservations are preferred. Call 618/453-2408 to register for the reception and the concert, or go to the SIU Alumni Association’s website, www.siualumni.com . Limited preferred seating is available for members of the SIU Alumni Association. To take advantage of that option, have your alumni association number available when you call for reservations.

“Advancing a Culture of Excellence” is the theme of Inauguration Week, set for April 11-17. The purpose is to shine the spotlight on the commitment and talents of students, faculty and staff, and to thank alumni and the University’s many friends and partners for their support. Many of the events, including the Undergraduate Research Forum, the Research Town Meeting and Fair, Agriculture Industry Days and Honors Day, take place annually during that week.

The general public and members of the University community are welcome to attend the April 15 formal installation of Cheng as SIUC’s 22nd chancellor. The ceremony, which is free, is set for 2 p.m. in Shryock Auditorium on campus.

To see the complete schedule for Inauguration Week, visit http://news.siuc.edu/news/April11/040111tew11020.html .

Both the wind ensemble and the concert choir represent the most select student musicians from SIUC’s School of Music. As touring ensembles, the groups paired up for a four-city tour in the People’s Republic of China in 2009. The SIUC Wind Ensemble debuted in Carnegie Hall in 2008. The concert choir performed by invitation at the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference that same year.

Susan Davenport, director of choral activities, and Christopher Morehouse, conductor for the wind ensemble and director of bands at SIUC, said they are honored to be part of the Inauguration Week activities.

“We are honored to be part of the chancellor’s official introduction to the rest of the state,” Davenport said.

The musical program features performances by the choir and the wind ensemble both separately and together. Highlights include an Illinois premiere of “A Brief Message from Makanda, Illinois,” composed by Frank Stemper, SIUC’s award-winning composer-in-residence, and a world premiere of “The River Merchant’s Wife,” composed by SIUC’s Kathleen Ginther. The Stemper piece commemorates the words and work of the late Paul Simon, former U.S. senator and one-time presidential candidate and beloved Makanda citizen. The Ginther composition reflects the poem by the same name, written by Chinese poet Li Po and translated by Ezra Pound.

Eric Mandat, professor of clarinet and a Distinguished Scholar, joins the ensembles. SIUC alumni Paul Petrucelly also adds clarinet, while mezzo-soprano Emily Fons, formerly of the Santa Fe Opera and now a new member of Chicago’s Lyric Opera, lends her voice to choral selections.

For more information about the concert and reception, visit www.hcfta.org.