Ashland University Fall Choral Concert Presents Program Of American Music

10/11/11 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University's Fall Choral Concert presents a program of American music featuring three University vocal ensembles including the Ashland University Choir, Ashland Area Chorus and Ashland University Women's Chorus on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 4 p.m. at the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel. The performance is free and open to the public.

With all of the music written by American composers, and all the poetry by American authors except "Set me as a seal," which is Biblical, most of Sunday's program is from the 20th century, a very fruitful time for American composers. The University's choral program has never done a program like this, and is very eager to share this beautiful music and astonishing poetry with the audience. Poetry from the Old Testament to just a few years ago, and music from colonial American times to the present day provide a brief snapshot and fascinating panorama of America choral music.

The concert begins with the Ashland Area Chorus under the direction of Dr. Rowland Blackley, professor of music and director of choral activities, and assisted by pianists Susan Gregg and Holly Allan.  The Chorus will perform three pieces including Howard Hanson's "The One Hundred Fiftieth Psalm," Stephen Foster's "Gentle Annie," and "Stomp Your Foot" from Aaron Copland's "The Tender Land."

The Ashland University Women's Chorus, directed by Stephanie Sikora, associate professor of music, and accompanied by pianist Holly Allan, presents a selection of spirituals and patriotic pieces beginning with William Billings' "When Jesus Wept," and Samuel Ward's "America the Beautiful." With Dan Fruth on banjo, the choir performs Stephen Foster's "Some Folks" and continues with Catherine Bennett's arrangement of "My Johnny's a Soldier" and Z. Randall Stroope's "The Poet Sings." The Women's Chorus concludes with the traditional African-American spiritual "Hold On" arranged by Jay Broeker and accompanied by University students Matthew Dawson on congos and Erin Lingenfelter on maracas.

Directed by Dr. Blackley and accompanied by Margaret Rickard on oboe, the Ashland University Choir concludes the afternoon's program beginning with William Schuman's "Carols of Death," which utilizes the words of American iconic poet Walt Whitman followed by Rene Clausen's contemporary composition "Set Me as a Seal." Using the poetry from Thomas Hornsby Ferril's oeuvre, Cecil Effinger's Four Pastorales is then featured with William Dawson's African-American spiritual "Good News" completing the concert.

For more information about the Fall Choral Concert or for a fall schedule of music department events, visit www.ashland.edu/music<http://www.ashland.edu/music> or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or tapplega@ashland.edu<mailto:tapplega@ashland.edu>.

Ashland University (www.ashland.edu<http://www.ashland.edu>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.