The Holiday Concert given by the University of Rhode Island Symphony Orchestra and Concert Choir every year is a highlight of the URI Music season, and this year is one of five concerts offered by the URI Department of Music December 7-9. All events, including the Lively Experiment vocal chamber concert on Monday, will be held in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston. Unless otherwise noted, admission is $12 general public, $7 students, with tickets available in advance through the Music Department website via credit card, or at the box office by cash or check starting 45 minutes before the concert.
Preceded by the B101 Big Band concert on Friday night, the Holiday Concert will be held Saturday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. Earlier in the day, participants in the Community Music Program will present a free recital at 11 a.m.
The Holiday Concert will feature Handel’s Coronation Anthem “The King Shall Rejoice” and the “Shepherds’ Farewell” by Hector Berlioz, performed by the two ensembles jointly. Ann Danis directs the Orchestra, and Mark Conley directs the Choir. Graduate orchestral conductor Charles Kalajian will conduct the Berlioz piece. Graduate choral conductor Eddie Wilkin will direct the choir singing Bernard Hughes’ new carol “The Linden Tree,” and the choir will greet the audience with music Mark Conley learned from choirs of the Manda Wilderness in Mozambique. The orchestra will also perform a Rimsky-Korsakoff piece and seasonal favorites.
Sunday, Dec. 8 offers a full day of music, with concerts at noon, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Undergraduate String Quartet concert is at noon. The quartet, chosen each year by audition, are the among top string players at the University and offer a program of advanced string chamber repertoire. Coached by Carly Flemming, members Jennifer Langevin, violin; Shannon Petrik, violin; Brandon Kaplan, viola, and Nina Perry, cello, will play the four movements of String Quartet Op. 76 No. 1 by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). Admission to this concert is free.
The Symphonic Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Gene J. Pollart, features the finest wind and percussion performers in the university. They will share their concert at 3 p.m. with the URI Percussion Ensemble, directed by Robert McEwan. The Percussion Ensemble will open with Fallin’ Leaves by Bruce Hagist, a URI junior from North Kingstown, followed by Piru Bole, an avant garde composition with ensemble playing as well as singing rhythms. The Wind Ensemble follows with five contemporary works: Alleluia! Laudamus Te by Alfred Reed, a “hymn of praise” without words; San Antonio Dances by Frank Ticheli; Art In The Park by Robert Sheldon; Bayou Breakdown by Brant Karrick, “a bluegrass fugue with a Cajun twist” and Perseus by Satoshi Yagisawa.
The URI Student Composers Concert showcases works-in-progress of members of the Composition Program, and offers brand-new music in a variety of styles, performed by fellow students and faculty. Participants in this fall’s free-admission concert at 7 p.m. Sunday will include Kim Konieczny, Ian Otenti, Connor Ragas, Alex Barnhart, Bruce Hagist, Tom Peppard, John Prevedini, Shaun Cayabyab, Peter Scartabello, and others TBA. The works range from Otenti’s piece using electronic tape plus piano, viola and violin, to Konieczny’s set of two piano and viola miniatures, to Prevedini’s “Sanctus” from his larger choral work The Providence Mass, with choir and piano.
On Monday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m., URI’s celebrated vocal chamber ensemble, Lively Experiment, will offer their fall/Holiday concert. “For this holiday season,” says Director Mark Conley. “Our choir gives to you: five Bird Songs [arrangements of folk songs by Paul Crabtree], four Christmas Carols, three Swan Songs by Bernard Hughes, two Jazz Pieces arranged by Sharon Broadley [accompanied by a jazz quartet of Daniel Hill, piano; Clay Nordhill, guitar; Garrett Campbell, bass, and Jesse-ray Leich, drums] and a Festive Festival Fanfare [It Is Good to be Merry and Wise by Jean Berger]!”
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, contact the URI Department of Music, 874-5955, or check the website, www.uri.edu/music.