Cameron University Civic Symphony to be joined by LaSill Optimist Youth Orchestra and Sinfonia

The Cameron Civic Symphony is pleased to present a concert in conjunction with the LaSill Optimist Youth Orchestra (LOYO) and Sinfonia on Tuesday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Central Middle School. Admission is free.  

The Civic Symphony, conducted by Dr. Kirsten Underwood and made up of Cameron students, area home-school students and community members, will present several exciting pieces, opening with “Suite in C Major” by Benedetto Marcello, which is comprised of three contrasting movements.

“A quick, joyful Allegro in 3/4 time begins the piece,” says Underwood. “A mournful but eloquent Andante follows, with the cellos taking on the sublimely beautiful melody.  A concluding brisk Allegro in 2/4 time is led by the violins performing brilliant passage work.”

Next the ensemble will perform an arrangement of “Bavarian Rhapsody” by David Shaffer.

“Drawing inspiration from several famous Hungarian rhapsodies, this work is an exciting part of the string repertoire,” Underwood says. “It contains plenty of countermelodies, tempo changes, and even some solo work, all of which combine to make this an interesting piece that the students and audience truly enjoy.”

Two pieces by Boston Pops composer Leroy Anderson, “Jazz Pizzicato” and “Belle of the Ball,” will follow.

According to Underwood, “Belle of the Ball”  has been described as light, effervescent, and devoid of conflict or disharmony.  She relates that Anderson looked upon the piece as a modern-day American revival - or revitalization - of the Viennese waltz tradition.

“Having said that, the main theme sounds rather unlike a Strauss waltz, but the voice of Tchaikovsky is evident in its playful, fantasy-like character,” Underwood explains. “The melody is rhythmic and comes in short groups of notes, beginning with two notes, then three, then expanding further; the music skates along elegantly. The middle section features a delightful variation on the theme, in which Anderson's gentle belled sonorities impart a playful innocence.”

The ensemble will then perform “Blue-Fire Fiddler” by Soon Hee Newbold to close the Civic Symphony’s portion of the concert.

“The fast and furious fiddling sounds much harder than it really is,” Underwood says. “Riffs, finger patterns and bowings are very idiomatic and lend themselves to fast playing.”

Members of the Civic Symphony will then join LOYO for the performance of their pieces. LOYO is comprised of young musicians in the area who desire to have a full orchestra musical experience. Sponsored by the LaSill Optimist Club, whose focus is “bringing out the best in kids,”  the group is comprised of students from Lawton Public Schools music programs, home schooled students, Cache High School Band students and Elgin High School Band students.

LOYO will perform full orchestra pieces that are at opposite ends of the spectrum regarding historical style and musical effect.

According to Susan Diekman, LOYO conductor, ‘“Sleeper’s Wake” has a peaceful melody that is repeated, but by exploring tone colors of the different wind instruments, it has a different feel each time it is played.  The tune has a long history. It was composed in 1598 by Philipp Nicolai during the dire times of a plague.  Bach used it as the foundation for his ‘Chorale Cantata, BWV 140’ which is popularly known as ‘Sleepers Wake.’”.

LOYO will then perform “Danse Infernale” from Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, “The Firebird.”

“Often the title is written in French – ‘L‘Oiseau de Feu.’” Diekman says. “No matter what language is used, the music is rhythmic and exciting from the very first note to the very last. The ballet story tells of the hero, Prince Ivan, who strays into the magical realm of Koschei the Immortal.  Koschei keeps his soul in a magic egg hidden in a casket to maintain his immortality.  When Ivan is threatened by Koschei, he summons the Fire Bird, who bewitches everyone with an elaborate energetic dance - the ‘Infernal Dance.’ All participants fall asleep so Ivan can destroy the egg which breaks the magic spell Koschei has held over all.  Every instrument in the orchestra has an intense soloistic part in this work. The listener can surely enjoy how the wind instruments expand the color and variety of feelings the orchestra can express.”

LOYO will also perform an arrangement of “Barbara Allen” by John Moss.  A traditional Scottish ballad that became a popular folk song in America, it has been referred to by ethnomusicologists Steve Roud and Julia Bishop as "far and away the most widely collected song in the English language, equally popular in England, Scotland and Ireland, and with hundreds of versions collected over the years in North America."

Sinfonia, a string orchestra made up on middle school students, will perform “Hedwig’s Theme” and “Harry’s Wondrous World” from “Harry Potter,” by composer John Williams.  Sinfonia is also sponsored by the LaSill Optimist Club and is conducted by Cheryl McLaughlin-Stansberry.

For more information, contact the Cameron University Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts at 581-2346.



February 13, 2018