Southeast groups offer end-of-season performances

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Southeast Missouri State University will host two end-of-season concerts during the next two weeks, showcasing a symphony orchestra, the university band and the university choir.

The first will be tonight, when the University Band takes the stage at Academic Auditorium, teaming up with the university Wind Symphony and Southeast Brass Quintet. The program includes a piece called "The Sinfonians," based on the hymn of the Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity "Hail Sinfonia," "Chorale and Shaker Dance" based on the Shaker tune "Simple Gifts," "Rhosymedre" by Ralph Vaughan Williams and "Northern Landscape" by Peter Graham.

The university band will perform under the direction of Dr. Robert Conger, while Barry Bernhardt will take over directing duties for the Wind Symphony and fellow faculty member Paul Thompson will guest conduct while the brass quintet -- featuring Conger on trombone, Bernhardt on trumpet, Mac Fulgham on trumpet, student Jon Beasley on horn and community member Charles Kelley on tuba -- joins the Wind Symphony for "Northern Landscape."

Nonmusic majors at Southeast make up much of the concert band, while the elite Wind Symphony is made up of only music majors.

"There are a lot of nonmajors in my band, and they're really putting forth a tremendous amount of effort," Conger said.

A week later Thompson will stand in the conductor's spot again, this time as a guest conductor at the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra's final concert of the season, "Inspirations from England." Thompson has been the orchestra's guest conductor this season while regular conductor Dr. Sara Edgerton, Thompson's wife, has been on sabbatical.

The symphony will team with the University Choir and the Choral Union -- made up largely of community members -- for the concert. Featured will be another Vaughan Williams piece, the triumphant Symphony No. 5, written during World War II, along with "Dettingen Te Deum" by Handel. The choir will join the symphony orchestra on the Handel composition.

Thompson said finishing the semester with a combined concert has become an orchestra tradition. He calls the upcoming performance a "concert of contrasts," with Williams' folksy style juxtaposed against the pomp and majesty of Handel.

Both concerts will be in the Academic Hall auditorium, the last time these groups will perform there before moving to the River Campus and its new performance hall in the fall.

335-6611, extension 182

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