NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Choral Union and Women’s Choir at Stephen F. Austin State University will present the program “Dancing and Singing” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.
The concert theme was chosen because of the many emotions and musical styles that dancing and singing can invoke, according to Dr. Tod Fish, assistant professor in the SFA School of Music and associate director of choral activities at SFA.
“This theme also led to program selections that give us the opportunity to collaborate with School of Music faculty and campus and community organizations,” Fish said.
The Lufkin High School mixed choir, the Kantori, directed by SFA alumna Laura Hoelewyn, will open the concert. The Kantori will join the Choral Union to perform two pieces that are part of the 2017-18 All-State Choir audition process: “To Thee, Cherubim and Seraphim,” by G. F. Handel, and “I Am Loved” by Matthew Christopher. Hoelewyn will conduct the Handel piece.
“This is the first time we have invited a local choral program to perform on one of our concerts,” Fish said. “We are thrilled to have them with us.”
SFA’s Topics in World Dance class, led by instructor and choreographer Sarah Sanchez, will also perform to Ron Nelson’s composition on a text by Thomas E. Ahlburn, “Early May.”
“This text is a celebration of nature and the enjoyment of life in nature,” Fish said. “Professor Sanchez has choreographed a vibrant dance that encourages us to, ‘Join hands and dance across these slipping floors once more.’ We are excited to be collaborating with them.”
The SFA Women’s Choir will sing a wide variety of music stemming from the rousing setting of Stephen Paulus’ “I Cannot Dance, O Lord” (which discusses the Lord leading people to love, knowledge and fulfilled life through dancing and singing). The choir will perform Eric Whitacre’s “Seal Lullaby,” originally a solo song that was written for a movie concept (that never opened in theaters because DreamWorks chose “Kung Fu Panda”), and Zoltan Kodally’s traditional Hungarian folk song, “Dancing – Song,” Fish explained.
In addition, the SFA Choral Union will perform two compositions by contemporary composers, including “Flight Song,” by Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen; and Blake Henson’s simple, yet poignant musical arrangement of Robert Herrick’s text “My Flight for Heaven.”
The program will showcase the talents of the School of Music’s new coordinator of music education, Dr. Kristin Lyman, along with student members of the percussion studio performing on the Nelson piece. Lyman will accompany the choir on the marimba.
Two of SFA’s choral conducting graduate students will also have roles in the concert. Emily Bulling of Katy will conduct “Zigeunerleben” by Robert Schumann, as performed by the Choral Union. Her colleague, Evelyn Shaffer of Barbers Hill will conduct “Herbstlied,” also by Schumann, as performed by the Women’s Choir.
“We are proud of these two young conductors and look forward to them sharing their talents with our community,” Fish said.
Barry Martin, percussion major, will also join the Women’s Choir to accompany them on Moses Hogan’s “Ride on King Jesus.” Martin performed with the women’s choir two years ago, “and we are eager to welcome him back,” Fish added. “It is going to be an exciting evening of music making!”
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.