Musical ensembles take center stage

Musical ensembles take center stage

The Greenspring Valley Orchestra and the University Singers, two of the performing ensembles on campus, will perform in concert this December to conclude the fall semester.

Dr. Harlan Parker is currently entering his second year as the director of the Greenspring Valley Orchestra, having taken over for GVO’s founder, Dr. Robert Suggs. (Photo from the Stevenson University Flickr)

The GVO concert will take place from 4-6 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2018, in the Inscape Theater. Led by Dr. Harlan Parker, the orchestra will perform three works; “Roman Carnival Overture” by Hector Berlioz, Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Trumpet Concerto in E-flat,” featuring Jon Cresci, and Antonin Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8.”

Later on in the week, the University Singers, joined by the ukulele ensemble, will perform a variety of songs, ranging from contemporary hits to traditional holiday classics. Their concert will take place on Dec. 6, 2018, from 7-9 p.m., also in the Inscape Theater.

The Singers are directed by Beverly Gandolfo. She said, “Not only has the ensemble grown in number to nearly 40 singers, but we’ve also broadened our repertoire and increased the level of music we’re able to perform.” Their setlist this year includes songs in multiple languages, an audience sing-along, and a choral suite from the movie “Frozen.”

The ukulele ensemble, directed by Jared Denhard, is made up of 20 to 25 musicians who will perform “anything and everything from Bach to Rock,” said professor Mark Lortz, interim director of the music program at Stevenson. The performers in this ensemble are students in one of Stevenson’s music classes, MUS 170, which also teaches students the fundamentals of music theory and literacy.

Next semester, the spring concert will feature the Stevenson University Concert Band alongside the University Singers and the ukulele ensemble. There will be several other ensembles performing as well, including the percussion ensemble.

The concert band is comprised of woodwinds, brass, and percussion, meeting for rehearsal on Tuesdays during the spring semester. The group will be learning the music for the concert but also working on tone quality and tuning, Lortz said. Many members of the university’s Marching 100 play in the concert band, but musicians of all levels are welcome to join the group.

The University Singers have doubled in size since Gandolfo joined, almost two years ago. (Photo from the Stevenson University Flickr)

The percussion ensemble will feature the Stevenson University Drumline and front ensemble percussion, which includes mallet instruments and electronics. The drumline is an audition-based, corps-style group of musicians who also perform in the marching band. These percussionists are also enrolled in a separate preparatory class to hone their skills.

The music programs at Stevenson want audiences to have an unforgettable experience during their performances, Lortz said. The Greenspring Valley Orchestra and the University Singers are well established at Stevenson, reaching a wide set of audience through many performances. According to a 2016 Villager article, “the Greenspring Valley Orchestra was formed for talented and amateur students alike, to create orchestral performances as an outlet of expression in a supportive environment.” The group was formed in 2002 under the direction of Dr. Robert Suggs, then the director of Stevenson’s music programs.

All mentioned performances are free and open to the public.

Editor Emma Cathy Smith contributed to this article.