By Caitlin Knox ’14
As you enter the music hall someone smiles and hands you a program of the night’s concert. You take a seat, the chatter fading with the lights as the performer walks onstage, followed by his accompanist. A tenor wearing a black suit and bow tie starts to sing. Unlike any pop singer of today this man sings of love and loss with a sincerity and beauty like you have never heard. The lights come back up, the musician disappears backstage after the applause, and you realize that music apart from your iPod playlist can be enjoyable too.
This is the kind of experience you can have with Georgetown College’s Noteworthy Concert Series. Building on the success of Season One, the Music Department again is bringing guest artists as well as faculty members to perform in John H. Hill Chapel for Season 2, 11 unique concerts in all. These range from Brazilian to Renaissance style music; from pianists to flutists.
(Take note: the series starts with very different offerings on consecutive nights – Sept. 28, a tenor singing of “Love, Pain and Mystery;” and Sept. 29, “The Art of Classical Guitar.” All of the concerts begin at 8 p.m., unless otherwise noted.
Musical events of this high quality generally come with a steep ticket price – but not these. Every Noteworthy concert is free of charge and open to the public, thanks mostly to series creator Heather Hunnicutt, Chair of the Music Department.
“I wanted to give students and Georgetown residents easy access to concerts with professional musicians,” she said, adding that it’s no easy task for a small school in a small town. So Hunnicutt and others in the music department used their connections with other schools and musicians to bring these professionals to Georgetown.
‘Recital swaps’ are part of the reason these concerts are free. In exchange for a professor coming to perform at GC, one of our music faculty has agreed to perform at their school. Why so important? As Dr. Hunnicutt put it, “For music students, seeing how performing is supposed to be done is a vital part of their education.”
Before their performance that night, many visiting musicians will have a “masterclass.” During these a student or two will perform one of their pieces while the professionals will give constructive criticism to improve it. This helps students later when they have to perform in recitals in front of peers, and pass “jury” – or judged performance.
Perhaps the biggest success story from last year’s masterclasses was that of a senior discovering the next stepping stone to his musical education. Daniel Ng, a 2011 graduate with a vocal performance major and a collaborative arts minor, is now studying as well as working at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia. He currently has 12 students, is helping with the school’s opera production, and is studying under Ben Harris (the vocal coach at Shorter).
Harris was accompanying baritone Matt Hoch and soprano Dr. Heather Hunnicutt on piano for last September’s inaugural Noteworthy concert. As part of the masterclass, he critiqued Ng on how well he accompanied another student- and the rest is history. Now Harris is working with Ng to help him prepare for graduate school. But who knows where Daniel would be now if he had missed that particular masterclass?
“Hopefully more students will use the knowledge and guidance of these professionals to their advantage,” Ng said. “I met many talented musicians through the Noteworthy series and for Georgetown to have that resource is priceless.”
Noteworthy: A Faculty and Guest Artist Concert Series
Sept. 28 – Daniel Weeks, Tenor. A vocal concert by the University of Louisville Music faculty member.
Sept. 29 – The Art of Classical Guitar. Georgetown College faculty guitarist Michael Fogler will present a varied program including a tango, lullaby, waltzes, a Bach Suite, music based on spirituals.
Oct. 6 – An Evening of Brazilian Music. Elizabethtown College (PA) faculty Justin Badgerow (piano) and Sarah Daughtrey (mezzo-soprano) perform works of Hector Villa-Lobos, Francisco Mignone, Jaime Ovalle and Oscar Lorenzo Fernández.
Oct. 10 – On and Off the Beaten Path: Piano Music Old and New. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire piano Professor Nicholas Phillips’ solo recital featuring familiar masterworks like Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes alongside exciting, engaging, and audience-friendly works by the Croatian composer Boris Papandopulo and American Ethan Wickman.
Oct. 26 – Piano Works of Johannes Brahms. Prize-winning pianist Dror Biran, an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville.
Nov. 10 – Lasting Impressions. Georgetown College faculty flutist Jana Flygstad accompanied by Sou Lou Smith at the piano.
Jan. 29 – Faculty Showcase Recital. Annual Georgetown College Music Department Faculty smorgasbord of virtuosic and moving musical selections. This is a Sunday with a special 3 p.m. curtain.
Feb. 17 – Tour of Europe. Soprano Heather Winter Hunnicutt, chair of Georgetown College’s Music Department, with Lexington Catholic High School faculty Rob Vanover collaborate on a traditional art song concert spanning hundreds of years and multiple countries in Western Europe; plus a little opera.
March 15 – Cornet Masters. Georgetown College faculty H. M. Lewis, trumpet, presents great works by cornet masters of late nineteenth and early twentieth century America.
March 25 – An Afternoon of Piano Music. Pianist Eunbyol Ko of South Korea and Assistant Professor of Piano at Morehead State University. First-prize winner of the South Korea National Piano Competition, she has performed in Canada, Austria, Belgium, Italy, the Czech Republic, South Korea, and throughout the United States. Another special Sunday offering with a 3 p.m. curtain.
April 22 – “1 + 1 + 1 = 141.” The Bluegrass Brass Trio performs musical styles from the Renaissance through the 21st century on trumpet, horn and trombone. Season 2 of “Noteworthy” wraps up on a Sunday with a 3 p.m. curtain!