Concert Preview: The Scoop on the Drew Ensembles Concerts

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By: Caitlin Shannon, Editor of Student Life and Arts

While we’re all worried about final exams and papers looming, Drew’s musicians are busy preparing for their upcoming concerts. At the end of each semester, Drew’s five performing ensembles each put on a concert as a culmination of their work for the semester. The concerts all go up in a crazy weekend of music where the Orchestra, Choirs, Flute Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble fill the Concert Hall for the entire weekend. This semester will also feature a concert by the Music Composition class where students will premiere original works that they have been composing all semester.

First up is the Drew Orchestra, whose concert “Looney Tunes” will be on Fri. Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. “Looney Tunes” will feature works by two of opera’s best tune writers, Georges Bizet and Gioachino Rossini. The orchestra will play Rossini’s “Barber of Seville Overture” which many may be familiar with from the Bugs Bunny cartoon. This is an exciting program both for the audience and the performers, as Professor and Conductor Michael Avagliano said, “This music isn’t just opera, it’s classic pop culture. Because there are great melodies and solos for so many different instruments, it gives a lot of the members of the orchestra a chance to shine.” Don’t miss this great concert, because as Avagliano said, “There’s great music, a fun program, a cool orchestra, and it’s free. What more could you ask for?”

Saturday the Choirs at Drew will take the stage to perform their Annual Holiday Concert at 8 p.m. The concert will feature both of Drew’s vocal ensembles, the treble choir Alta Voce and the mixed choir Chorale as well as the New Jersey Youth Choir as special guests. This special concert will feature holiday music from all over the world. In addition, it will be Associate Professor of Music Jason Bishop’s final concert at Drew as he will be leaving at the end of the year to become the Conductor and Artistic Director at the Texas Boys Choir. Be sure to join Drew’s talented singers as they ring in the holiday (and the finals) season.

Drew’s Flute Ensemble, under the direction of L. Elise Carter, will present their concert “Around the World in 60 Minutes” on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Concert Hall. The concert is sure to be a treat with music from all over the globe including the Carpathian Mountains, Louisiana, Spain and Africa. In addition, the concert will feature the entire family of flutes. Ever wondered what a bass flute looks like? Join the Flute Ensemble for their concert and you’ll find out!

Continuing the weekend’s busy musical schedule the Jazz Ensemble will present their
“Centennial Celebration of the Music of Thelonious Monk” on Sunday at 7 p.m. As 2017 marks the 100th birthday of Thelonious Monk, the group will play some of Monk’s most famous compositions. Although the composer and pianist only wrote about 70 compositions in his life, his music is some of the most widely performed in the jazz repertoire. The music is challenging, yet rewarding comments Peter Bacas (’19), tenor saxophone for the group, saying, “this concert is single handedly the most musically demanding while I’ve been at drew. Monk is an icon of the jazz world and the music he wrote is some of the most challenging to solo over in my own opinion.” He continued, “I personally am so impressed by how we all have grown and flexed our musical muscles this semester by performing in the pit for Heathers (which is mainly rock), to doing a complete 180 and switching to full set of Monk’s greatest hits (jazz) at an extremely high caliber of playing. This is certainly a concert that should not be missed and will be on par, if not way better, than our previous concert.” Make sure to stop by the concert hall to hear the Monk madness on Sunday night.

To round out the musical madness, the composers in the Music Composition class will present a concert of original music on Monday at 8 p.m. in the Concert Hall. At this concert Drew students will premiere original pieces for music box and piano. The students have been working on these pieces all semester and a few weeks ago had the opportunity to have them work shopped by famous pianist and Steinway artist, Margaret Leng Tan. For many students this is their first time composing so it’s been an interesting process. The concert is sure to impress so come out and support these talented Drewids!



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