“A Poet’s Voice” Concert to Feature Newly Minted Compositions and Musical Collaborations

“A Poet’s Voice” Concert to Feature Newly Minted Compositions and Musical Collaborations

By Janlyn Thaxton, HSU Media Relations Coordinator

 

 

 

When Chorus Abilene performs “A Poet’s Voice,” October 12, 2013, it will be the result of an elaborate group effort between several Abilene musical organizations, Hardin-Simmons University composers, and the works of two New England poets. HSU professor of music theory and composition, Dr. Bernard Scherr, describes it as an Abilene event that combines elements of the entire country. Scherr, head of the Department of Music Theory and Composition, and a member of the Key City Brass Quintet, says the group had been discussing ways of working with other performing groups in the city. Approaching Chorus Abilene as potential collaborators, Scherr says they developed a proposal in which he would write the first piece for Chorus Abilene and in a second piece, members of the chorus would select the text. {{more}}From that alliance, Scherr composed “There Came a Wind,” from a poem by Emily Dickinson , written to prominently feature components of Chorus Abilene, the Key City Brass Quintet, and organ. Scherr says, after giving the quintet’s proposal some thought, Gwynn Haseltine, Chorus Abilene executive director, and Dr. Mike Scarbrough, conductor of the Classical Chorus , accepted the commission and suggested Scherr include children’s voices in the next piece so that their children’s choir could participate in the concert. The second composition was developed as choir members and Scherr sat down to rummage through a few select poems authored by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Walt Whitman . With the selection of a Longfellow poem, “Daybreak,” Scherr says he set to work right away. “It was a joy to work on the pieces because of the vivid musicality of the textual images. I was also excited for the opportunity of working and performing with Chorus Abilene.” Chorus Abilene will perform “A Poet’s Voice,” under the direction of Dr. Mike Scarbrough, October 12 2013, 7:30 p.m., at Saint Paul United Methodist Church, Abilene. Members of the Key City Brass Quintet will also premier several brass compositions written by Scherr and HSU assistant professor of low brass and composition, Dr. Jeff Cottrell.Scherr says, “This event is special because, in many ways, the concert is about America, celebrating its literature, music, and people. Longfellow and Dickinson are New Englanders. Many of the singers are from Texas, and although I got here as soon as I could, I am originally from Southern California and Oregon.” The Key City Brass Quintet is made up of HSU’s dean of the College of Fine Arts, Dr. Rob Tucker; Mark Wilcox, Fine Arts Division chair and associate professor of theory, high brass, and Jazz Band at McMurry University; Clay Johnson, director of bands at Cooper High School; as well as Cottrell and Scherr. General admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors, students, and military. Tickets may be purchased at WWW.CHORUSABILENE.NET or by calling 325-673-7464. Daybreak by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow A wind came up out of the sea, And said, “O mists, make room for me.” It hailed the ships, and cried, “Sail on, Ye mariners, the night is gone.” And hurried landward far away, Crying, “Awake! it is the day.” It said unto the forest, “Shout! Hang all your leafy banners out!” It touched the wood-bird’s folded wing, And said, “O bird, awake and sing.” And o’er the farms, “O chanticleer, Your clarion blow; the day is near.” It whispered to the fields of corn, “Bow down, and hail the coming morn.” It shouted through the belfry-tower, “Awake, O bell! proclaim the hour.” It crossed the churchyard with a sigh,And said, “Not yet! in quiet lie.” There Came a Wind Like a Bugle by Emily Dickinson There came a wind like a bugle; It quivered through the grass, And a green chill upon the heat So ominous did pass We barred the windows and the doors As from an emerald ghost; The doom’s electric moccasin That very instant passed. On a strange mob of panting trees, And fences fled away, And rivers where the houses ran The living looked that day. The bell within the steeple wild The flying tidings whirled. How much can come And much can go, And yet abide the world!