URI Holiday Concert and more fill weekend, Dec. 4-6

KINGSTON, R.I.— November 19, 2009 — The weekend of December 4 – 6 will be full of concerts for music lovers who can get to the Kingston campus of the University of Rhode Island. Performances by the URI Concert Band, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and the Undergraduate Honors String Quartet are scheduled around URI’s annual Holiday Concert, featuring both the URI Symphony Orchestra and the University Chorus. All four concerts will be held in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall at 105 Upper College Road. Admissions cost $8 for general public, $2 students, except when otherwise noted.

The 90-piece Concert Band, directed by Brian Cardany, leads off at 8pm on Friday, December 4, with a program featuring selections from two works taken from or inspired by medieval and Renaissance sources. The first will be Selections from The Danserye by Tielman Susato (c. 1500 – 1561?), arranged by Patrick Dunnigan, with nine segments. Carl Orff’s monumental Carmina Burana, arranged by John Krance, will follow with 13 segments inspired by a 13th century manuscript anthology of 200 songs and poems written in medieval Latin, German, and French.

Conducted by Andrew Howell, the Chorus and the Symphony Orchestra will perform Part I of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah for this year’s Holiday Concert on Saturday, December 5 at 8 pm. Soloists will be Jennifer Armstrong, Carrie Shunskis, and Erin Maughan, sopranos; Celia Tafuri, alto, and Killian Mooney, tenor. In addition, the orchestra will play a number of holiday favorites conducted by Ann Danis and Brian Cardany. The audience is invited to join in on the Messiah choruses, but they must bring their own scores.

A double bill of concerts is offered on Sunday, December 6, with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the URI Percussion Ensemble performing at 3pm, and the Undergraduate Honors String Quartet at 7:30pm.

The URI Percussion Ensemble, directed by Ronald Stabile, will begin the concert with a stirring percussion piece by Chris Brooks that calls for eight 7-foot hardwood poles and eight Hammer Handles and includes a lot of choreography for the ensemble that electrifies the audience. Their performance will conclude the “Finale” from Bill Whelan’s spectacular Irish dance show, Riverdance.

The URI Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Gene J. Pollart, consists of the most outstanding wind and percussion players at the university. They will be featuring a program of pieces by American composers beginning with Ron Nelson’s Resonances I, a dramatic fanfare utilizing antiphonal brass in the concert hall, and Spring Divertimento by Timothy Mahr, a multi-movement work that employs several contemporary compositional devices. The program will also include Across The Halfpipe, a “jubilant” new work by Samuel Hazo, the lively Danza No 2 by Bruce Yurko, Eric Whitacre’s beautiful, melodic work titled October, and Russian Christmas Music by Alfred Reed.

URI’s premiere student chamber music ensemble, the Undergraduate Honors String Quartet, will be performing Mozart’s String Quartet in A Major, K. 169 and Haydn’s String Quartet in G Major, Op. 77 No. 1, for the Sunday evening concert, which is free. Members of the quartet are senior violinist Sara Dillon from Cranston, junior violinist Bethany Sousa from Warren, senior violist Katie Miranda from Fall River, MA, and freshman cellist Emily Johnston from North Kingstown. All quartet members are music education majors except for Sousa who is a double major in music and Psychology. Members of the quartet are chosen by audition and perform two programs of advanced literature each year. They are coached by Professor John Dempsey.

Seating for all concerts is on a first-come basis. The box office opens 45 minutes before each concert. The concert hall is handicap accessible, and parking is directly behind the Fine Arts Center in the lot off Bills Road.

For more information, call the URI Music Department, 874-2431, or go to www.uri.edu/artsci/mus.