NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Singin’ Axes and Kantorei choirs at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “Wide Open Spaces: A Concert of Living Composers” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.
Dr. Tod Fish, associate director of choral activities at SFA and conductor of the choirs, chose the theme because of “the endless possibilities for creativity that contemporary composers have at their disposal.”
“Performing the music of a diverse group of composers affords our students the opportunity to tackle styles ranging from lyrical melodies, cluster chord harmonies, pop-like driving rhythms, African rhythmic styles, and even some aleatoric techniques, accompanied by instruments such as the cello, oboe, horn, djembe and electric keyboard,” Fish said.
Collaborative pianists for the concert are Dr. Maria Lyapkova and Dr. Thomas Nixon. Also performing are Graham Mackenzie, Dr. Andrea Denis, Dr. Evgeni Raychev, Nadya Pramono and Martha De Luna.
Among the program selections is SFA alumnus Reginal Wright’s setting of a contemporary motet entitled “Hosanna,” to be performed by the Singin’ Axes.
“We are very proud of Reginal and the fantastic work that he does with both his choirs at Mansfield High School and the outstanding music that he composes.,” Fish said. “It only seemed right to feature him on this concert.”
The Kantorei treble choir will sing Rupert Lang’s setting of “Cantate Domino,” which is the oldest composition on the concert (composed in 1994) and features a wide variety of techniques such as glissandos, aleatoric singing and the use of an electric organ/synthesizer.
The combined Kantorei/Singin’ Axes choirs will perform Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo’s setting of the Latin sacred text “Ubi caritas.” The selection will feature new choral conducting graduate student Martha De Luna playing a transcription of a piano improvisation under the choir.
The combined choirs will also present a world premiere performance of David W. Brewer’s setting of “Ave Regina caelorum.” Brewer is the music teacher at Regents Academy in Nacogdoches.
“David had already established himself as a composer prior to moving to our community,” Fish said. “He studied under the famous choral conductor and composer Dr. Z. Randall Stroope, and this piece bears glimpses of his influence. We are honored to sing the first performance of this piece and appreciate Mr. Brewer’s gift.”
Other program highlights include performances of “There Will Come Soft Rains,” featuring Graham Mackenzie, oboe; “Let the Music Fill Your Soul,” featuring Dr. Andrea Denis, horn; and “God will give orders/Sweet child,” featuring Dr. Evgeni Raychev, cello, and Nadya Pramono, djembe.
Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. To purchase tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit finearts.sfasu.edu. For additional information, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602.