Three Languages and Many Styles in Popular Encore Duet Performance

Three Languages and Many Styles in Popular Encore Duet Performance

By Janlyn Thaxton

 

 

 

First presented in a free concert at Hardin-Simmons University last year, “Just du-et” was so well received that the HSU voice professors were asked to repeat the performance to a wider audience. “Just du-et” found its footing at the conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing held this past November in Oklahoma. Now, the duet-singing professorial team from HSU has been asked to repeat the 14-song recital in a special performance at the Church of the Heavenly Rest.{{more}}Dr. Melody Rich, associate professor of voice, and Dr. Lynnette Chambers, professor of voice, first sang together in 2009 and discovered that they sounded remarkably like sisters. “Our voices just complemented each other,” says Rich. “When we were putting the initial program together we thought about calling it Sister Act for that reason,” says Rich. But since the program is made up exclusively of duets, Rich and Chambers decided on the descriptive title of “Just Du-et” – a play on the popular Nike slogan.The encore recital features songs in Italian, English, and German, which Rich says is really part of the appeal of the program. “One of the capstone songs is actually called ‘Die Schwespern’ which translates to “‘The Sisters’ in German,” says Rich. “I think the variety of languages, the tight harmony of similar voices, and the wide variety of styles is something audiences have enjoyed at each of the previous recitals.”The variation of styles is illustrated in the selection of songs through the centuries. Classics from Bach resonate as they are woven with 21st century composers like HSU’s own Dr. Bernard Scherr, head of the Department of Theory and Composition. Three of the 14 pieces to be performed are Scherr’s.But the singing team is not a cappella and the performance could not be done without the accompaniment of two other HSU profs. Dr. Kristin Isaacson, assistant professor of cello and string bass, and Lauren Puckett, associate professor of piano, make up the professorial foursome that will perform Sunday, January 15, 2012, 3 p.m., at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, 602 Meander, Abilene, TX. Wes Gomer provides the organ accompaniment. Last year the church’s director of music served as adjunct professor of organ at HSU during the sabbatical of another professor.The concert is free and opened to the public. Rich says it will last just a little over an hour.