SALISBURY, MD---Traditional tunes spanning the globe from England to Nigeria highlight Salisbury University’s “Ring in the Holidays” winter music festival Sunday-Saturday, December 2-8, in Holloway Hall Auditorium.
The SU Chorale inaugurates the festival 4:30 p.m. Sunday, December 2, with the world premiere of "I Taste of Your Water" by Dr. Jerry Tabor, conductor of the SU Jazz Brazz Big Band. Other pieces performed include "Deck the Halls (in 7/8)," arranged by James McKelvy, a chorale arrangement of Lewis Carroll’s poem "The Jabberwocky," holiday music by P.D.Q. Bach and "Betelehemu," a Nigerian holiday song by Via Olatunji and Wendell Whalum, featuring members of the SU African Drumming Ensemble conducted by Ted Nichols.
“The Nigerian Christmas carol is representative of the diverse African-American musical heritage and the dedication of the celebration of the culture this semester,” said Dr. William Folger, chorale conductor and director of choral activities at SU. Regarding 'Jabberwocky' and the PDQ Bach carols he added, “Humor in musical numbers occurs through parody, witty word play, poetry and tone painting where rhythm, articulation, melody and harmony depict the text.”
The SU Jazz Brazz Big Band continues the festival 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 4, with a unique arrangement of "The Little Drummer Boy" featuring Matt McIver on drums. The band also performs "Hotter Sauce," an upbeat salsa tune featuring an open solo section for almost everyone in the ensemble.
“The Jazz Brazz Big Band is featuring more holiday music this year than ever before,” said Tabor. “Along with some really great traditional jazz tunes, we’ve found some unusual and fun holiday music arrangements that swing hard and that everyone will enjoy.”
The SU Concert Band features oboe soloist John O’Meara during its festival concert 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 6. Performing Haydn’s "Oboe Concert in C, 1st Movement," O’Meara has combined a full-time career as a research scientist with freelance work as a professional oboe and English horn player.
He performed extensively in musical theatre, ballet, opera and symphony orchestras in the Boston area while attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). He also has played with the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra. Upon retiring to Ocean View, DE, in 1988, he resumed his love of music and has been a member of the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra at SU and other local groups since 1992. He continues to study with Lloyd Shorter, professor of oboe at the University of Delaware.
Other selections during the concert include "Hansel and Gretel Prelude" by Engelbert Humperdinck and "Shalom!", a medley of traditional Israeli folk songs by Philip Sparke.
“Students, faculty and adult musicians from our community plan to present a program that offers both familiar and a few new-sounding versions of well-known selections that fit the holiday season,” said conductor Lee Knier. “We hope our audience will recognize the sounds of traditional songs that evoke special memories of past holidays and add new meaning to this season.”
The festival culminates with the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra’s annual Holiday Concert 8 p.m. Saturday, December 8, featuring guest mezzo-soprano Charlotte Paulsen.
“Charlotte Paulsen is a musician not to be missed,” said Dr. Jeffrey Schoyen, SSO conductor. “She has an incredibly rich, dramatic voice.”
Joining the SSO on selected arias from Handel’s Messiah and “Adieu, Forêts,” an aria from Tchaikovsky’s Joan of Arc, Paulsen has performed Mozart’s "Requiem" and Carl Jenkins’ "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace" at Carnegie Hall. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, she has performed internationally in France, Luxembourg, Mexico and Germany. She was awarded first place in the Wagnerian Voice division of the Liederkranz Foundation Awards and represented the United States in Zurich, Switzerland as part of the International Opera Studio. She has performed a number of roles in operas including Carmen, Aida, Der Rosenkavalier, Werther, Jenufa, Le nozze di Figaro and Cenerentola.
The SSO concert also features Handel’s Watermusic Suite No. 2, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and a Christmas sing-along. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for senior citizens and SU faculty and staff, and $5 for non-SU students and children 12 and under. SU student ID holders are admitted free. For advance tickets visit the SU Bookstore Web site at http://salisbury.collegestoreonline.com (click “SU Box Office”). For more information call 410-548-5587.
Sponsored by the Department of Music, admission to all other festival performances is free. For more information call 410-543-6385 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.