Weekend concerts will feature winds, voices

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The harmonies of three University of Rhode Island vocal ensembles and the stirring tones of the URI Symphonic Wind Ensemble will be featured in two concerts in Kingston on Saturday and Sunday, November 3 and 4.

The URI Concert Choir and Lively Experiment, both directed by Mark Conley, and URI’s University Chorus, directed by Nathan Zullinger, will present a “Choral Collage” concert on Saturday evening at 8pm. The Concert Choir, which performs works from the Renaissance era to the present, and Lively Experiment, which explores choral and vocal chamber works for smaller ensembles embracing styles from Medieval to vocal jazz, will perform pieces from their standard repertoires. Participation in these select ensembles is earned by audition, and both groups tour in addition to performing on campus.

The University Chorus is a 100-voice choral ensemble comprised of students, URI faculty, and community members who enjoy singing and are willing to learn choral technique and repertoire covering all periods and styles. The group rehearses once a week on Tuesday evenings, and is open to all interested singers. Nathan Zullinger is beginning his third year as conductor of the chorus.

For the Choral Collage they will perform several of Bartok’s “Slovak Folksongs,” C. Thomas Schwalm’s setting of “Look to this Day” for choir and handbells, and the rousing spiritual, “Little Innocent Lamb.” Also on the program will be a preview of the upcoming Holiday Concert slated for December 8. The University Chorus is accompanied by Jean Maxon Carpenter.

The URI Symphonic Wind Ensemble, directed by Gene Pollart, will perform on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. A skilled, select group of student wind players and percussionists, this group has earned an exemplary reputation throughout New England through their performances at conventions, festivals, and concerts. Members are selected by audition from the finest musicians attending URI. Their program will cover a broad scope of contemporary interests, ranging from Tolkein’s Ring trilogy to Outer Space, and styles, ranging from broad, majestic fanfares to passionate and highly emotional pieces.

Works will include: “Fanfare Prelude” on Lancashire by James Curnow, and From Four and Beyond by Gary Gilroy, described by Pollart as an “absolutely stunning” creative piece for concert band which features a full array of percussion supported by brass and winds. Also included will be Samuel Barber’s vocal masterwork, “Sure On This Shining Night”, brilliantly transformed for winds and percussion by Richard Saucedo; movements one (“Gandalf-The Wizard”) and five (“The Hobbits”) of Johann deMeij’s Symphony “The Lord Of The Rings”, and Beyond by Wataru Hokoyama, an award-winning film composer whose recent works include the music for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Dungeon and Dragons.” This piece is “outer space music” similar to John Williams’ Star Wars, full of sweeping melodies and brass fanfares, in the modern Hollywood style.

Both concerts will be held in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall off Upper College Road on URI’s Kingston campus. Admission is $8 for the general public, $2 for students, with seating on a first-come basis. The box office opens 45 minutes before each concert.

For more information, call the URI Music Department at 874-2431.