By MORGAN FRALICK
This past Sunday at 3 p.m. in the John L. Hill Chapel, The Georgetown College Department of Music presented “A Gershwin Extravaganza,” a musical production honoring the life and famous works of George and Ira Gershwin. The concert featured the musical talents of both student and faculty members from the Tiger Symphonic Band, GC Lyrical Theater Society (LTS), Georgetown College Chorale, GC Piano Ensemble Students and the Georgetown College Concert Choir. They performed select pieces from George Gershwin’s famous musicals such as “Porgy and Bess” and “Shall We Dance,” and instrumental numbers like “Fascinating Rhythm” and “Strike Up the Band.” A few of the musical medleys even made references to Gershwin’s most famous work, “Rhapsody in Blue. “
All of the musical numbers were performed by a variety of large and small ensembles, duets and solos by both instrumentalists and vocalists. Some of the featured soloists in the concert were students Nathan Vertuca on saxophone, Meredith Rigby on piano and singers John Presson and Sarah Cox. The structure of the concert flowed so well that every moment left the audience members rooting for more. It was one of the first times at Georgetown that I experienced not only the movement of the music, but I got to witness the cleverly choreographed movement of the choral groups and ensembles. While some pieces were catchy and comical, others were soulfully sweet in ways that could ensnare the tears from your eyes.
The Gershwin brothers, George and Ira, were the perfect dynamic duo songwriting team whose lyrics and harmonies framed the entire era of jazz and swing. From 1924 until the death of George Gershwin in 1937, George and Ira worked exclusively together and produced over two dozen scores for both Broadway and Hollywood. While Ira was a gifted lyricist who captivated the hearts and emotions of his audiences, George became a talented concert pianist and conductor who composed acclaimed works such as “An American in Paris,” “Concerto in F” and of course “Rhapsody in Blue.” If Ira could capture the hearts of the world, George could embrace their souls.
The beautiful combinations of boisterous bands and harmonious voices rang throughout the chapel as everyone applauded and enjoyed the makings of a new tradition. With the idea of a new themed concert every year buzzing around the minds of everyone in the music department, you can’t help but be excited about all the rejuvenating possibilities that will bring so many celebrated works to life!