News Bureau Director
When Georgetown College voice professor Heather Hunnicutt talks of challenging her students, she’s quick to stretch her own repertoire. So with the 2010-11 school year only weeks old, at 8 p.m. on Sept. 9, she will sing works in five languages new to her. At the same time she is stretching the College’s “reach” by launching “Noteworthy: A Faculty and Guest Artist Concert Series.”
“From Many Foreign Lands,” – the first of eight, free “Noteworthy” events in John L. Hill Chapel – is a triple-billing of soprano Hunnicutt and two members of the Shorter University (Ga.) faculty, baritone Matthew Hoch and accompanying pianist Ben Harris. Hoch will sing works in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish and Sweden; Hunnicutt will sing in Czech, Greek, Hawaiian, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. Printed translations will be available.
“I really want our students to hear some wonderful music they haven’t heard before,” said Hunnicutt, current chair of the Music Department in her fifth year here and founder/director of the College’s Lyric Theatre Society. “You’re always going to hear ‘The Big Four’ from Western-trained musicians – English, Italian, French and German – but not on this Thursday evening.”
Hunnicutt found the Czech language particularly difficult, but “Song to the Moon” by Dvorak is her favorite among the concert’s selections. “So beautiful, so heartfelt,” she said.
“I may not speak Czech, but I understand what each word means,” she continued. “Understanding each word – that’s the same approach we take with students learning a German song.”
Hoch has researched Scandinavian music and discovered “it’s popular in choral singing circles, but not in the solo vocal world.” Excitedly, he added, “Hardly anyone is doing it!”
This concert not only promises variety on an almost unprecedented international scale, but also aims to benefit students of music. “Preparing this program has put me in a place where I’m remembering what it’s like to be a student,” said Hunnicutt, adding, “(Dr. Hoch) and I share a lot of teaching principles and a love for atypical music.”
The program will last approximately 50 minutes with both singers performing individually, then, alternating with an aria each at the finish. “We just couldn’t find any duets in a ‘strange’ language,” Hoch said. “Besides, it’s more important for us to challenge the audience and avoid familiar composers.”
The day after the Georgetown concert, Hunnicutt, Hoch and Harris will perform the same concert at 3:15 p.m. (Sept. 10) in the chapel of Kentucky Christian University in Grayson. Hunnicutt will then return the favor at Shorter University at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 27. The “recital swap” will come full circle Nov. 11 when KCU music faculty members Daniel Bell (tenor) and Wes Golightly (piano) perform “Broadway Love Songs” in Georgetown’s Hill Chapel.
Hunnicutt and Hoch first connected several years ago at voice conferences, then again last summer when Shorter University was host to a NATS (National Associations of Teachers of Singing) Intern Program. Hunnicutt was one of 12 “most promising young voice teachers” selected for the program.
Hunnicutt has also brought opera back into fashion at Georgetown College, showcasing that form with Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers” (Nov. 5-6) and the now annual spring “OpShop” performances. The “Noteworthy” series includes “An Evening Of Mozart”on March 4 with the ensemble of regional singers known as Opera Appalachia. Hunnicutt herself and former star pupil Ryland Pope, Class of ’09, are in the quintet.
The Complete “Noteworthy” Series
All concerts are free and begin at 8 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) in the College’s John L. Hill Chapel.
September 9, 2010
“From Many Foreign Lands” – Dr. Matthew Hoch, baritone; Dr. Heather Winter Hunnicutt, soprano; Ben Harris, piano. Vocal program by Georgetown College’s Hunnicutt and two members of Shorter University’s Music faculty that breaks away from traditional recital repertoire with compositions in Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hawaiian, Icelandic, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.
September 20, 2010
“Of Trumpets, Hermits and Charmers” – Christine Donahue, soprano, Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Central Arkansas, with Betty Lewis Cohen, piano; Dr. H. M. Lewis, trumpet. Versatile program includes Baroque duets with trumpet as well as a tribute to 100th Anniversary of composer Samuel Barber’s birth.
September 30, 2010
“Faculty Guitar Recital” – Georgetown College’s Michael Fogler on classical guitar, featuring compositions by Alexandre Tansman, Manuel Ponce, Johann Sebastien Bach, Ned Rorem, and Joaquin Rodrigo.
October 30, 2010
“An Evening of Cello and Piano Music” – Yeon-Ji Yun, cello; Nariaki Sugiura, piano. This 3 p.m. Saturday program by guests from DePauw University School of Music will include original works of Cassado and Piazolla as well as transcriptions of Brahms’s works originally written for violin and piano.
November 11, 2010
“Broadway Love Songs” – Daniel Bell, tenor; Wes Golightly, piano. A journey through the last century on Broadway as these Kentucky Christian University Music Faculty perform a collection of love songs such as “On the Street Where You Live,” “Younger Than Springtime” and “Johanna.”
January 30, 2011
Faculty Showcase Recital – the Georgetown College music faculty with a variety of instruments and voices, from various time periods and composers, 3 p.m., John L. Hill Chapel, FREE.
March 4, 2011
“An Evening of Mozart” – Opera Appalachia; ensemble of regional opera singers with staged presentations of some of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most beloved works.
March 23, 2011
“Die schöne Müllerin“ – Dr. David Sievers, tenor; John Benjamin, piano: one of the most widely-performed and beloved cycles of German Lieder from the Romantic period. .