Denison Singers Concert Features Music Of American Composers
Posted: April 2, 2002
The Denison Singers will present a concert of diverse music by American composers during its concert at 8 p.m. on Friday (April 12) in Burke Recital Hall. The music ranges from a vibrant setting of a Quaker hymn to choral waltzes to arrangements of "Old American Songs" by Aaron Copland. The performance is free and open to the public.
In addition to theconcert, the Denison Singers will perform this program at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis; at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, at Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield; and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, at the Church of the Western Reserve in Pepper Pike.
Gwyneth Walker's setting of the Quaker hymn "How can I keep from singing?" opens the concert, followed by Vincent Persichetti's somber "Song of Peace," written in 1962 for the Colgate University Chapel Choir. Then, The Denison Singers presents James Quitman Mulholland's lush response to "How can I keep from singing?" the original language amplified by several verses by James and Ina Heup, who commissioned the work in 1999. Mulholland serves on the faculty of Butler University in Indianapolis.
Walker's "An Hour to Dance," a cycle of seven movements on colorful poetry by Virginia Hamilton Adair from 1998, also is featured in the first half of the concert. Walker, who was on the Oberlin College faculty, now is a freelance composer living on a dairy farm in Vermont.
Following intermission, Oscar Weil's "In Maytime," a cycle of seven lilting choral waltzes written by the obscure composer, is performed. Next, the group turns to Mack Wilberg's energetic arrangements of "Three American Folk Hymns," their tunes taken from several 19th century sources.
A group of temperance songs from William Howard Doane's "The Tidal Wave," published in 1874 is featured in the second half of the concert. Doane was a Cincinnati businessman who also was prominent in the gospel song movement and published hundreds of hymns and Sunday School songs before his death in 1915. He was a Baptist layman who served as a trustee of and donor to Denison University for many years. The concert will conclude with three of Copland's "Old American Songs," adapted as solo pieces in 1950 and later arranged for chorus and piano by Copland's colleague, Irving Fine.
Founded in 1961, The Denison Singers began to tour in 1963 and has since presented more than 550 concerts across the United States and on 11 foreign tours, most recently to Portugal during May of 2001. The group has collaborated with both Andy Williams and The Chieftains during their concert appearances in Columbus and has also worked with The Early Interval, the Bergonzi String Quartet and ensembles from the Columbus Symphony and the Denison Faculty Jazz Quartet.
Pianist Meredith Needham, a Denison graduate of 1978 and an alumna of The Singers, will be accompanying The Singers at these concerts. Needham now teaches piano privately in. Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts William Osborne, founding conductor of the group, also serves Denison as Director of Choral Organizations and as University Organist. He earned three degrees at the University of Michigan and has done additional choral conducting study with Nadia Boulanger, Helmuth Rilling and Sir David Willcocks.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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