All the musical skill and investment in practice that have been building at the University of Rhode Island’s Music Department since September come to a head in the various December concerts. Four evening concerts and one matinee scheduled for Dec. 9-12 in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston, offer a perfect chance for audiences to hear a wide range of the semester’s results.
The URI Concert Band leads off on Friday, Dec. 9, at 8:00pm, followed by URI’s University Chorus at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. The URI Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Percussion Ensemble share the bill for the matinee concert on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m., and new works written by students in the Composition Program will be performed by students and faculty at 7 p.m. on Sunday. URI’s elite small vocal ensemble, Lively Experiment, will present their concert on Monday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Admissions are $10 general public, $5 students, for each of these events except for the Student Composers Concert, which is free. Tickets are available at the box office on a first-come basis starting 45 minutes before each concert.
The Concert Band will perform Overture for Winds (Charles Carter), Night Dances (Bruce Yurko), two works by W. Francis McBeth: Chant and Jubilo plus Masque; Sussex Mummer's Christmas Carol (Percy A. Grainger), and Portraits (Jim Colonna). This large ensemble of auditioned wind and percussion players is directed by Brian Cardany, who also directs the Ram Marching Band and the URI Pep Band, and is the Associate Director of Bands for the University.
URI’s 80-voice University Chorus will present a concert of pieces by American composers entitled "Love, War, and Spirit," conducted by Andrew Howell. Specific pieces on the program of nearly a dozen works include Johnny has Gone for a Soldier (arr. Shaw-Parker) featuring soloist Kelsey Sheehan, soprano; Three Madrigals by Emma Lou Diemer; Flanders Fields by Paul Aitken; The Battle Hymn of the Republic (arr. Bennett); Serenity by Charles Ives, featuring soloist Rebecca Cunha, soprano; and Randall Thompson's The Lord is my Shepherd, which will be conducted by graduate assistant conductor, Peter Waite.
The Sunday afternoon concert of varied wind band music will be performed by the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, one of URI’s top ensembles, directed by Gene J. Pollart, URI’s Director of Bands and also the director of the renowned American Band. The URI Percussion Ensemble will also perform, directed by Craig McNutt, who is the principal percussionist/timpanist with the RI Philharmonic.
The Wind Ensemble’s program is loosely based on music describing the daily hustle and bustle of big cities, especially New York, and will feature two guest conductors from RI high schools. It will include John Mackey’s Foundry, which uses "found" metal items as non-traditional percussion instruments; Symphony No. 5½ by Don Gillis, a light-hearted work in four movements; Ryan Main’s Clash, designed to propel the listener through a world of conflict, conducted by Christopher Lambert, band director at Mount Hope High School in Bristol; Cityscape I by David Holsinger; the tone poem Mannin Veen (Manx for Dear Isle of Man), based on four Manx folk tunes, conducted by Daniel Healey, band director at Narragansett High School; and Metroplex by Robert Sheldon, another musical portrait of Manhattan’s cityscape.
The Student Composers’ Concert on Sunday evening offers a chance to hear music never heard before –new works-in-progress composed and performed by students and faculty in the URI Music Department. Styles vary from classical, traditional pieces to the very avant-garde. The program will include Peter Scartabello’s Excerpts/Selection from 12 Etudes for piano solo, performed by Patrice Newman; Longing by Drew O’Connors, for mezzo-soprano and instruments, featuring Olivia Dolphin, alto flute, and Benjamin Boisclair, percussion; and Micawber by Angela Cardarelli, featuring Charlie Larson, alto sax, Meaghan O’Connors, tenor sax, Molly Hammel, baritone sax, Benjamin Boisclair, percussion, and William Hagist, timpani. Hannah A. Loeb will offer A Chanukah Medley, for euphonium & piano; and Mark Medeiros will offer two pieces: String Quartet Movement #2, Adagio featuring Allison Dubois, violin, Christina Stavrakas, viola, Emily Johnston, cello, and Dylan Lagamma, bass; plus Mac N' Cheese and Peas, featuring Ben Shaw, sax, Mark Medeiros, guitar, Brendan Moore on piano, and Matt Gilmette, drums. Zachary Friedland and others are also expected to have pieces in the concert. Faculty coaches for the composition program are Lyn Goeringer, Eric Hofbauer, Eliane Aberdam, and Geoffrey Gibbs.
On Monday evening, Mark Conley conducts URI’s acclaimed small vocal concert ensemble, Lively Experiment, who perform at many private functions and as guests at other concerts and events as well as public concerts at the university. Their program will include Heinrich Schutz's magnificent setting of the Christmas Story, an oratorio based on the Gospel texts and first performed in 1660.
The URI Concert Hall is handicap-accessible, and parking is available in the lot behind the Fine Arts Center, off Bills Road. For more information, please contact the URI Department of Music, 874-2431, or check the website www.uri.edu/music.