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SFA Women's and Men's Choirs to present 'Mars and Venus'

October 18, 2018 - Robbie Goodrich
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The first concert for the Women's and Men's Choirs at Stephen F. Austin State University will feature the theme of "Mars and Venus" when the two choirs perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

Dr. Tod Fish, associate director of choral activities for the SFA School of Music, chose the theme "because it is the inaugural concert for the Women's and Men's Choirs as completely separate entities," he said.

"Our choral area decided to dissolve the long-time mixed choir, the SFA Choral Union, and create a new ensemble, the SFA Men's Choir," Fish explained. "This decision has bolstered the identities and morale of both ensembles. We are pleased with the progress and productivity of both groups."

Performing with the choirs will be faculty members Dr. Jennifer Dalmas, violin; Dr. Charles Gavin, horn; and Dr. Nathan Nabb, saxophone.

The Women's Choir will perform "Gloria Kajoniensis" by Hungarian composer Gyöngyösi Levente.

"It is a high-powered setting of an unorthodox setting of the 'Gloria in excelsis Deo' text from a collection of Transylvanian Catholic songs entitled 'Cantionale Catholicum,'" Fish said. "You will hear a great deal of Hungarian influence, particularly that of Levente's teacher, Györgi Orbàn." Dalmas will join the choir for this selection.

The Women's Choir will also perform Franz Schubert's ethereal setting of "Der 23. Psalm."

"'Psalm 23' is one of only seven settings for women's choir from Schubert's compositional output," Fish said. "It is a lovely setting of Moses Mendelssohn's (Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn's grandfather) translation of the text."

Paul Basler's "Alleluia" will close out the Women's Choir's performance. Basler is a professor of horn and composition at the University of Florida.

"His setting of 'Alleluia' enjoys international popularity and is especially popular with All-State and festival choruses," Fish said. "This selection is taken from a large-scale, multi-movement work entitled 'Songs of Faith.' 'Alleluia,' like many of Basler's choral works, displays an equal partnership between the piano, horn and chorus." Collaborative pianist Hyun Ji Oh and Gavin will perform with the choir on this work.

The SFA Men's Choir is singing a varied program, Fish said.

"We are pairing two contrasting settings of the traditional 'Ave Maria' text by Renaissance composer Jacques Arcadelt and contemporary composer Joshua Himes," he said. "The Arcadelt is a lovely homophonic setting that was arranged by my very dear friend, Michael Ware, past TMEA president and member of the Sam Houston State University choral faculty. Himes' setting is lovely and contains many of the lyrical and harmonic elements associated with 21st century choral compositions. It is also a 2019 Texas All-State Tenor-Bass Choir selection."

The Men's Choir will also perform Howard Helvey's setting of the traditional spiritual, "Steal Away." Nabb will join the choir for this performance.

The concert is a joint presentation of the College of Fine Arts and School of Music. Cole Concert Hall is located in the Tom and Peggy Wright Music Building, 2210 Alumni Drive.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.