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CONCERT CHOIR SINGS IN SALEM: KSC AND PSU JOINED FORCES WITH NH PHILHARMONIC TO PERFORM MAHLER

February 24 & 25, 2024 - Musically driven students and faculty from the Keene State College Concert Choir and the Plymouth State University Choirs had the chance to showcase their talents alongside the New Hampshire Philharmonic as part of a series of concerts showcasing Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 on Feb. 18, 24 and 25 at Plymouth State University, and the Seifert Performing Arts Center in Salem, N.H.

The KSC and PSU choir members and faculty provided the vocal component for Symphony No. 2. Vocal solos were provided by KSC’s soprano soloist Dr. Evan Leontis, and PSU’s alto soloist Hannah Murray.

KSC music Professor Dr. Sandra Howard sang alongside the choir and said the performance opportunity correlates with student success.

Howard said two choral professors, two solo vocalists and an orchestra, among other musicians, collaborated to realize the performance.

“This isn’t something our students have the chance to experience often,” Howard said. “This is a fantastic chance for our student musicians to level-up their musicianship, and hopefully build confidence that can translate into their future goals.”

Howard said the collaborative concert offered interdisciplinary opportunities to musically-minded members of the KSC community.

“Concert Choir is open to anyone on campus. We’re not just talking choral students, but anyone who connects with music. We have members from over 20 different majors, including instrumental students who wanted the chance to get up close and personal with the professional level New Hampshire Philharmonic,” said Howard.

Val Zanchuk is a trumpet player and the treasurer of the New Hampshire Philharmonic’s board of directors. Zanchuk said the Mahler concert series was the orchestra’s first collaboration with college-level musicians.

“This isn’t an opportunity they have every day, being able to play with a professional orchestra doesn’t happen all too often, and it was exciting for all of us,” Zanchuk said. “They did a great job, and we didn’t have to rehearse for more than one session. The choir came in so softly that it felt like heaven.”

Zanchuk added, “I hope they had the chance to embrace the personal, emotional, and spiritual feeling you get from performing for an audience,” Zanchuk said.

Junior James Slipp, a music performance major who sang with the Concert Choir, said Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 was a challenging and rewarding piece to work on.  “This semester has been almost constant work on Mahler. It’s a challenging piece, and most people don’t get to perform at this level until later in their musical careers,” said Slipp.  “It’s been great to work alongside so many talented people, and I hope the audience feels the same kind of awe we do. Mahler knew exactly what he was doing,” Slipp said.

Reporter: Ryan Pacheco can be contacted at rpacheco@kscequinox.com

https://kscequinox.com/2024/03/concert-choir-sings-in-salem/

2023 - 2024 Season

October 14 and 15, 2023

Dvorak’s 7th Symphony, Bohemian Rhapsodies

Sorry Queen fans, but these are rhapsodies by real Bohemians. This vibrant concert explores the rich tapestry of Czech and English music, traversing spirited overtures, evocative suites, fantastical scherzos, soul-stirring concertos, and impassioned symphonies. The evening begins with Smetana's energetic Overture to The Bartered Bride, transitioning seamlessly into the pastoral scenes painted by Kaprálová in her Suita Rustica. The ethereal beauty of Suk's Scherzo Fantastique lends a whimsical touch, before the concert delves into the profundity of Elgar's Cello Concerto, a cornerstone of the Romantic era. Concluding the night is Dvořák's Symphony No. 7, a triumphant blend of folk elements and symphonic tradition. This concert provides a captivating journey through diverse emotional landscapes, perfectly showcasing the enduring charm of these musical masterpieces.

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We will continue to feature women composers performing Joan Tower’s “Made in America”, with wisps of “America the Beautiful” passing through her homage to our country. Then, our salute to two great American institutions, Stephen Sondheim and John Williams! We'll first treat you to familiar and well loved music from the master of the Broadway stage, Stephen Sondheim. We will then join all of America in saluting composer John Williams in honor of his 90th birthday. Star Wars forever!



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Who better to tell stories through drawings inspired by music than the children of New Hampshire? We had to cancel this concert two years ago, disappointing the children who worked so hard to tell the story of “Firebird” through their drawings. We didn’t forget them, as we return with Firebird and the drawings of those children to highlight this year’s version of Drawn to the Music. We’ll also share other stories with “Five Fairy Tales” by Bernard Rogers, and Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain”, made famous in Disney’s “Fantasia”.



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Our winter concert reflects the musical travels of our composers. While Wagner’s “Prelude to Das Rheingold” represents a mythical journey on the Rhine, our other composers are represented by real world journeys. Vaughn Williams’ Norfolk Rhapsody portrays the English countryside through a compilation of themes based on local folk songs. Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations (featuring our principal cellist, Johnny Mok,), is more a journey of time rather than place, as he writes this lovely piece in a classical style, perhaps inspired by his role model, Mozart. We return to the Rhine River with Robert Schumann’s Rhenish Symphony. He was inspired to write the symphony after a trip to the Rhineland with his wife Clara. This journey was a happy and peaceful trip, which felt to them as if they were on a pilgrimage. He incorporated elements of the journey and portrayed other experiences from his life in the music.



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