By Molly Shoulta ‘13The Georgetown College Department of Music has a cluster of concerts the next couple of weeks that may be unprecedented in the school’s history. Featuring everything from tonight’s light-hearted “A Night of Musical Parody” to Haydn’s classic “The Creation,” one needs a guide. Taking them somewhat out of turn, allow me: 

‘The Creation’ (Nov. 16)

trio singing

Chuck Harris, left, Michael Cannon, and Sable Floyd rehearse for the joint GC choirs’ part in “The Creation.” The three juniors will also perform as soloists. (Photo by Paul Atkinson/Rockledge Photography)

The newest addition to this fall’s lineup tells of “The Creation” of the world and the glory surrounding it. Haydn pieced together this three part oratorio, or musical composition that involved a choir, orchestra, and soloist, over 200 years ago. It was performed for him shortly before his death. “This year is the bicentennial of Haydn’s death in 1809, so there has been a lot of emphasis on Haydn in the music world. I thought we should take part in it too,” said Dr. John Campbell, who will be directing both the orchestra and choir.

While it is similar in ways to “The Messiah” (Dec. 6), “The Creation” boasts many moments that are unparalleled in the aforementioned work. Campbell explains that “throughout “The Creation” there are moments when Haydn represents nature, for example, bird calls in the woodwind instruments, and rolling rhythms to represent waves.” While words are what human ears look for to guide them through a musical work such as this, the orchestra plays as significant of a role, if not even more so, as the vocal parts. In fact, the first movement of the piece uses orchestra only to represent the chaos of the beginning, hence the title “Introduction – The Representation of Chaos.” But Campbell explains that the piece still keeps its tonality, or key that all of the instruments still revolve around – and is still pleasing to the ear.

The work is full of fast to slow movements and of solos and ensembles and entire choir pieces. There are currently over 60 singers and 20-22 instrumentalists, all working together to produce some of the most breathtaking moments, as described by critics throughout history. This totals over 80 people plus instruments on stage in the chapel, which may turn out to be a feat in itself. Dr. H.M. Lewis of the College’s Music Department is hiring a few professionals to work within the student orchestra from funding made possible through an endowment from Ruth Pearce Wilson.

When asked about any spectacular moments within the piece, Campbell’s first response was the phrase “And There Was Light,” sung at the beginning of the second movement that introduces the rest of the work. He explained the moments that the choir is “exploding into a full, strong chord on the word ‘light’ that is absolutely fabulous to experience.”

“The Creation” will come to life at 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16 in the Chapel. Admission is free and the program should last around an hour and 20 minutes. Campbell concluded, “The word painting in this work is extraordinary.”

‘A Night of Musical Parody’ (Nov. 12)

Parody 2

These “serious-looking” GC students will have patrons of “A Night of Musical Parody” laughing in the aisles. From left, Elizabeth Maines, Nathan Van Til, Cate Kilgore, Elizabeth Levay. (Photo by Daniel Ng)

For a complete change of pace, members of the Student National Association of Teachers of Singing is putting together it’s second annual night of musical fun. Dr. Heather Hunnicutt said, “We wanted an opportunity to show that campus that while we are very devoted to our art, we don’t take ourselves too seriously all the time!”

Why was it brought back? Two reasons – having another showcase for the Music Department and the great audience acceptance. Hunnicutt said “our music students have very colorful personalities, so this concert simply displays them in their natural habitat.” She recalled a great compliment from an unsuspecting audience member: “We overheard him saying to his friend as he left ‘I didn’t look at my watch once!’”

Last year’s Parody Night was so well received by students that Hunnicutt thinks they and the community at large deserve more over the top, just plain goofy performances.

Students and faculty will be performing, both with vocals and instrumentals. “The repertoire is completely different than last year’s program, though the format is similar,” Hunnicutt said. “An emcee will guide the audience through a variety show of quirky, humorous and outlandish music.”

The Hill Chapel curtain for “A Night of Musical Parody” will lift at 8 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 12). Admission will be $2 at the door, with all proceeds going to aiding future music scholarships to voice competitions – an effort where GC singers are really beginning to establish a reputation. . Look hard – past the make-up and costuming – and you’ll recognize many of the student stars of the Lyric Theatre Society.

Tilford Concert Series Finale (Nov. 15)

Glenna Metcalfe

Glenna Metcalfe

Glenna Armstrong Metcalfe ’85 has the privilege of playing five works on the College’s Osborne-Tilford Family Organ as well as bringing the wonderful five-event Tilford Concert Series to a close. The series both celebrates the new Johannus Organ and the College’s Steinway Concert Grand Piano, which was dedicated in the memory of the late Dr. Stephen Tilford.

One of the pieces is by her favorite composer, J.S. Bach – Sonata IV in G Major; she’ll close with Symphony No. 5, Opus 42, No. 5 by Charles Marie Widor.

Metcalfe, who studied with Stephen’s father Daniel at Georgetown, now teaches at Royal Spring Middle School in Scott County and serves as Minister of Music at Faith Baptist Church.

Sunday’s 3 p.m. concert in Hill Chapel is free; but, Dr. Daniel Tilford, who dreamed of this series and put it together hopes that all music-lovers who have heard these two magnificent instruments or are within “hearing distance” will help endow an annual Tilford Concert.

Tiger Symphonic Band Fall Anniversary Concert (Nov. 23)

whittaker and harris

Sharing the Tiger Symphonic Band concert are Colby Whittaker, left, who will play a Baritone Saxophone solo on Mozart’s “Concert Rondo;” and student composer Evan Harrell, who also plays tuba. (Photo by Jessica Shields)

That old standby – the Tiger Symphonic Band – is celebrating its 165th year featuring classical works from Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart to name a few.

But composers are not limited to centuries ago. Freshman Evan Harrell of Middlesboro has single-handedly composed “In Praise Rejoice” (2009), which combines the tunes of “All Creatures of Our God and King” and “Simple Gifts” into one work. Evan also plays tuba in the band.

Two other highlights to listen for: Featured soloist is senior Colby Whittaker of Winchester on baritone saxophone, spotlighting his hard work over a four-year Georgetown bands career on Mozart’s “Concert Rondo.” The band scholars will also join Professor Emeritus Daniel Tilford on “Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott” (A Might Fortress is our God) as he accompanies on the Osborne-Tilford Family Johannus organ.

The music begins at 8 p.m., Nov. 23 in Hill Chapel. Admission to the concert will be one canned or processed food item, which the band donates to the AMEN house for use in the Scott County area.

‘Messiah Sing’ (Dec. 6)

The holiday season would be incomplete without Handel’s “Messiah” in some fashion on campus – and this is the alternating year of “Messiah Sing,” an afternoon where the community and Concert Choir join voices.

“There is a long tradition of ‘Messiah’ being performed at Georgetown College each fall, and I want to maintain that,” Choir director Dr. John Campbell said. “Students enjoy the familiarity of the work after they’ve worked it up as freshmen, and it is a good vehicle for our voice majors and minors to prepare and perform challenging selections from the standard vocal repertoire.”

But why make it a sing? “The Messiah” certainly is a challenge, even to those familiar with the work. On odd years, the community is invited to sing-along with the choir in a low-pressure setting. “People out there know and love this music,” Campbell explained, “but many don’t have the opportunity to reconnect with Handel other than at this event. Another plus is that in the odd years the Concert Choir can prepare and perform music in addition to ‘Messiah,’ such as ‘The Creation’.”

On even years, patrons just sit back and enjoy a polished performance of piece. Every year, however, soloists are selected from the Concert Choir to perform and expand their repertoire. Georgetown is one few schools able to allow freshman to perform major parts in a work such as “The Messiah.”

Can’t sing outside of the shower curtain? No problem. “With all the other singers… someone who can’t really sing can still maybe follow along,” said Campbell, noting more than 100 at the last sing. “Or simply experience the sound from within the choir, which can be pretty amazing.”

So, come and chime in on “Messiah Sing” at 3 p.m., Dec. 6 in Hill Chapel. There is no charge for admission.

Late fall is full of music to suit any taste. Don’t miss out on a spectacular opportunity to laugh, sing, and be amazed.