Saturday, May 25, 2013

Concert Reviews - May 2013

Part of a series of reviews of concerts I attend. Select "Concert Reviews" from the list of labels in the sidebar to see all of them.


Wheaton College Artist Series
Old Town School of Folk Music
Saturday, May 4
Edman Memorial Chapel, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois

The 2012-2013 Artist Series season concluded with an eclectic event that kept people engaged from start to finish. Corky Siegel, “virtuoso harmonica player,” the Sons of the Never Wrong, and some of their frequent collaborators presented a diverse mix of folk music – each selection had a bit of a twist, characteristic of the genre. There were surprises and thrills from curtain to encore. It is hard to describe in this brief review the concert – suffice it to say it was one of those events where you had to be there.

Wheaton College Conservatory of Music
Festival of Faith
Friday, May 10
Edman Memorial Chapel, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois

I always enjoyed participating in Festival of Faith as an undergraduate. Finals would finish by Thursday afternoon, but all the music majors would stay for one final performance on Friday evening, which meant there was no extreme rush to pack, say good-bye, and leave – there was a whole 24 extra hours allotted.

And I still enjoy these Festivals from the audience. This year’s was an enjoyable showcase of all the work the five major performing ensembles did this year – and as they have all year, all the groups sounded excellent. The choirs provided the first half, singing the classics of their repertoire. The second half, after a piece each by the band and orchestra, concluded with a joint work – the choirs and orchestra performing “I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me,” conducted by John Nelson ’63. This piece was used at the coronation of Elizabeth II and the wedding of William and Kate. The middle section, whose text speaks of the event at hand, is removable, but Nelson was able to change the text to the College motto in Latin, Christo et Regno Ejus. It was a thrilling way to end the Festival and the Conservatory’s performance season.

Lyric Opera of Chicago
Saturday, May 11
Ardis Krainik Theater, Civic Opera House, Chicago, Illinois

This show is the first in a multi-year project Lyric is undertaking to present works from the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon (with one work planned over each of the next few years). As an opera company, Lyric has the resources to present musical theater that are unmatched by the traditional musical theater companies, and the reviews, word on the street, and my own impressions (after all, I have seen musical theater productions on the West End) confirmed that advantage.

And, of course, Oklahoma is a fun show and a fun story. The setting is wholly different from the West Loop, but it is an iconic time and place firmly fixed in the American historical culture.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Another Graduation in My Family

Yesterday, my family and I spent much of the day in Valparaiso, Indiana, to celebrate my younger brother, Paul’s, graduation from Valparaiso University. He is receiving a Bachelor of Science, cum laude, with a major in meteorology and minors in math and Spanish, and is also being made a Christ College Associate (Christ College is the Honors College of Valparaiso University).

Conferring of Degrees, Athletic-Recreation Center arena, Valparaiso University
We attended two events yesterday. First was a lunch reception hosted by the meteorology department. It was a quiet affair compared to some of the other receptions, as there were only a dozen seniors in that department. After some free time for pictures, we joined the crowds walking toward the arena in the Athletic-Recreation Center for the Conferring of Degrees.

The commencement address was delivered by Dr. John A. Nunes, the president and CEO of Lutheran World Relief. His brief message challenged the graduates to see “people as people” regardless of any distinguishing characteristics or status, in contrast to many of the generations before them.

The ceremony was lengthy, as there were some 700 degree candidates to recognize (both graduate and undergraduate degrees were awarded during the exercises). However, the setting was such that one could get up to stretch one’s legs if desired during the conferring of degrees themselves. I really liked that they had the University’s Chamber Concert Band provide the live music.

It was an exciting day of celebrating the Valparaiso University Class of 2013, and my favorite member of it.

From left: me, Paul, Mom, and Dad