Cameron University Guitar Ensemble and Cameron String Octet to present joint concert

The Cameron University Guitar Ensemble will be joined by the Cameron String Octet for a concert on Monday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the McCutcheon Recital Hall. Seating is limited. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens, military and middle/high school. CU students, faculty and staff are admitted at no charge with CU ID.

The Cameron University Guitar Ensemble is made up of Damian Alvarado, Trevor Campbell and Hannah Esquer, all of Lawton. Members of String Octet are Cameron students Xavier McClure, Gracelynn Sullivan, Cheyenne Vajgrt, and Garrett van Selus, all of Lawton.  They are joined by community members Saya Cox, Natalie Finley, Ann-Mary Hartman, and Catherine Johnson. Both ensembles are directed by Dr. Kirsten Underwood, Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts.

The String Octet will open the concert with an eclectic mix of musical works. To begin, they will play Renaissance composer Michael Praetorius’ “Partita,” which is composed of three movements, “Bransle,” “Courante” and “Pavane de Spaigne.”  The group will then play the first movement, “Italiana,” from Respighi’s famous “Ancient Dances & Airs,” a modern composition in a Baroque format.

Two fiddle tunes, “Flowers of Edinburgh” and “Ash Grove,” will continue the program.

“Fiddle tunes are actually quite difficult for violin,” says Underwood. “They usually exploit the beautiful string crossings so characteristic of the instrument.”

Underwood hints that the pace of the concert changes with the next two selections. “Pedagogues Andrew Bavczynski and Bob Phillips have put together two songs in a 1950s pop style which allow the students a chance to see what improvising is like,” she says.  “’Bob Around the Clock’ and ‘Janie Be Good’ are familiar takes on the original versions, and the group really enjoys performing these!”

The String Octet will finish with three arrangements that John Reed devised specifically for The Hampton String Quartet, a famous performing ensemble who records and performs both classical and pop repertoire around the world.

Underwood says that “Blackbird” is a quiet and soulful version of Lennon and McCartney’s original song.  She adds, “Kansas ‘Dust in the Wind’ sounds beautiful as played by this stringed ensemble, and final piece, ‘Sweet Dreams are Made of This’ based on the hit song by Eurythmics, will bring the first half of the concert to a rousing close.”

The Cameron Guitar Ensemble will take the stage following a brief intermission. The guitarists will begin their portion of the program with “Sevilla” from Albéniz’s piano work “Suite Española, Op. 47, No. 3,” which Underwood calls “a gorgeous guitar arrangement which allows each member of the ensemble to shine.”

Delibes’ “Flower Duet” from the opera “Lakmé” will follow.

“The ensemble’s rendition with Hannah Esquer’s wonderful musicality in the lead is sure to please,” Underwood promises. “A lovely little ‘Bagatelle’ by Beethoven, also featuring Hannah, is next.”

Trevor Campbell will perform Spanish composer Miguel Llobet’s haunting “Romance without Words,” which Underwood indicates difficult melodic material that contains unexpected shifts and changes.  Another selection by Albéniz, “L’hiver” (Winter) from “Les saisons, Op. 201” completes the classical portion of the concert.

The guitarists will finish with four popular songs arranged by Campbell for guitar ensemble.

“Trevor’s insightful arrangements of The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Come Together’ are followed by ‘Hard to Concentrate’ of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame, and ‘Learning to Fly’ by Pink Floyd,” Underwood says. “The students look forward to sharing their enjoyment of these tunes with the audience!”



April 15, 2019