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Spotlight on Southwestern: Austin Civic Orchestra Performance

Arts And Entertainment

Spotlight on Southwestern: Austin Civic Orchestra Performance


On February 4 at 7:30 P.M., in the Alma Thomas Theater, the Sarofim School of Arts will be hosting the Austin Civic Orchestra (ACO), an orchestra full of music loving individuals who are in it for the sole enjoyment of making beautiful music. The orchestra is directed by Dr. Lois Ferrari, who is also the director of the SU Orchestra and SU Wind Ensemble.

The theme for this concert is “Spotlight on Southwestern.” Dr. Ferrari explains, “Everything about the performance revolves around the faculty, students and alumni of Southwestern.”

The concert will be divided into two sections. The first section will be pieces selected from Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah. The content of the work us based on the story of Elijah but does not follow the story’s exact chronological order. It is a robust piece that comes with several tender moments. This work will feature the SU Chorale and faculty. Dr. Bruce Cain will be performing two arias: Lord God of Abraham and It is Enough. Dr. Dana Zenobi will also be performing the aria: Hear Ye Israel. Dr. Kenny Sheppard will conduct the orchestra and choir on this work.

Dr. Sheppard expresses “I really appreciate Dr. Ferrari for letting me do this.” He explains that pairing an orchestra and choir together is his favorite thing to do. “You get more colors than you can from just a choir or just an orchestra. It’s just the most colorful combination there is,” he elaborates.

In the second half of the concert, two more pieces will be presented.

The first piece is Dr. J. Michael Cooper’s edition of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony. About 25 years ago, Dr. Cooper recognized the manuscript for the revised version of this piece. He found that the last three movements of the of the original published Symphony was in fact the one that Mendelssohn rejected, so he created an edition that best reflected Mendelssohn’s intentions with the piece. Since then, it has been recognized as the most authoritative version, although the original complete version is still widely performed. For this performance, Dr. Ferrari will conduct the ACO on Dr. Cooper’s edition.

The second piece is Lament, a composition by Dr. Jason Hoogerhyde. This piece was written around 2000-2001 when Dr. Hoogerhyde was dealing with the loss of one of his composition mentors, Allen Sapp. The piece was constructed in a way to emulate that sense of emotional evolution from a state of shock and disbelief, towards a sense of resolution and acceptance which ultimately lead to a positive remembrance of someone you have lost. Dr. Hoogerhyde shares “This piece is not meant to only reflect my own experience, but meant to resonate with everyone’s general journey as they pass through from grief to acceptance.” Dr. Hoogerhyde is also especially excited because this piece will be conducted by Gus Sterneman, the assistant conductor of ACO and a Southwestern alumnus.

In all, all the faculty have expressed excitement and anticipation to this performance. Dr. Ferrari explains that this performance is equivalent to her recital- her instrument being the orchestra.

“This opportunity allows me to include all my colleagues, students and friends and it becomes a nice sort of family celebration,” she shares.

This year’s theme brings the Southwestern community together and showcases the talents of the music department.

On the day of the performance (February 4th at 6:30 P.M) there will be a pre-concert discussion held by Dr. Hoogerhyde and Dr. Cooper about the pieces that will be performed that evening. The discussion will be held in the Instrumental Rehearsal Hall on the second floor on the Fine Arts Building.

Tickets are free-of-charge to faculty and students so please come by and support Southwestern’s music department and the ACO!