NACOGDOCHES, Texas –The Singin’ Axes and Kantorei choirs at Stephen F. Austin State University will present the program “Choose Something Like a Star” featuring music set to poems by Robert Frost and Walt Whitman at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 2. The concert will be livestreamed only and accessible at music.sfasu.edu.
The choirs are directed by Dr. Tod Fish, associate director of choral activities at SFA.
Fish said he chose this theme because the poems of Frost and Whitman “speak to the heart of America, but in different ways.”
“Frost’s poetry deals with depiction of ‘ordinary’ rural life. He was skillful in his ability to represent a wide variety of human encounters. His poetry may seem simplistic to some, but I love it because I can see the scenes depicted in each one of the seven poems clearly.”
“Choose Something Like a Star” is the title of the final movement of “Frostiana,” which is American composer Randall Thompson’s setting of seven Frost poems.
Fish sees Whitman’s work as “completely different” than that of Frost.
“He celebrated America and himself as a messiah-like figure in the poetry realm with his writing,” Fish said. “Whitman’s poems are considered copiously democratic and egalitarian – he did not believe in equality in his everyday life – which led to his claim as the ‘first poet of democracy.’
“I feel that Frost and Whitman embody the ‘American voice’ in their poetry,” he added. “Critics believe that even though the temperament and character of their writings were different, both wrote for all the American people and dealt with the nature of human relationships.”
The Kantorei treble choir and The Singin’ Axes tenor-bass choir will sing all seven movements of “Frostiana.” The work has three pieces for mixed choir and two each for the treble and tenor-bass choirs by themselves.
The concert will conclude with Howard Hanson’s setting of two Walt Whitman poems in “Song of Democracy.” The Hanson work will feature SFA staff collaborative pianist Dr. Thomas Nixon. The concert also features student conductor Alexandra Patin, Texas City junior.
To access the live concert free of charge, visit music.sfasu.edu the night of the concert. For additional information, contact the School of Music at (936) 468-4602.