Music ensembles gearing up for memorable season

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She’s not the first to have that awkward feeling in her gut. Really, the jitters and anxiety are normal.

Claire Murphy ’13 (Bethpage, N.Y.) just wasn’t ready for it yet. With her senior year just under way, Murphy realizes she’s about to experience a year of “lasts.” The toughest, though, may be her final performances with the multiple choirs she sings with at Marietta College.

Murphy, the College’s Concert Choir President, is excited and nervous about her final year of performing for Marietta.

“I have been able to pour my heart and soul into this program in the past few years. Being around for the first Christmas with the Concert Choir performance, and being able to work on the wine tasting and silent auction (which will be held on Feb. 1, 2013) has been such a gift,” she says. “I’ve had the pleasure of learning some fantastic music and I have made some of my best college friends through the choir family. If I hadn’t been in choir, I probably wouldn’t have met my roommate, Heather Doyle ’13 (Tampa, Fla.), or have joined Omicron Chi Theta. The thought of having a year of ‘lasts’ is something that I’m not looking forward to, but having a full year of memories and moments is something I am going to treasure.”

Murphy is just one of hundreds of Marietta College students — both majors and non majors — who are ready for the exciting, but demanding schedule for the choirs and the bands.

“The variety and number of music events are a direct reflection of the large number of Marietta College students involved in music and the dedication of our music faculty,” says Dr. Daniel Monek, Chairman of the Edward E. MacTaggart Department of Music. “In addition to those majoring in some form of music study, these student-musicians come from almost every major on campus and it is their dedication to the highest quality of performance that we celebrate in all of these events. The College and community can be extremely proud of the depth and breadth of the concert offering of the department and I invite them all to join us at each of these concerts and recitals.”

The season opens with a faculty recital at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the Alma McDonough Auditorium. The students will perform at President Joseph W. Bruno’s inauguration on Friday, Sept. 14, but the heart of the schedule really begins on Friday, Nov. 2 with the Fall Choral Concert — Wisdom and Wit — at 7:30 p.m.

Monek says the show is in conjunction with the College’s 2012-13 theme of Leadership & Social Justices. The Concert Choir and Women’s Choir will explore the sage advice and humor of many of the world’s great leaders and thinkers.

“If I met someone who hadn’t been to a concert, I would definitely encourage them to go. Every concert that we do has a different theme, so we get to keep the audiences on their toes,” says Murphy, who is or has been a member of Oratorio Chorus, Concert Choir, Women’s Choir, Chamber Singers and Flood Stage. “While the music can be emotional and touching, we also do amusing pieces, and our fantastic director loves to make jokes. Every concert is a different experience that every person should enjoy.”

December is a busy month for Monek’s singers. One of the program’s signature events occurs on Dec. 2 with the 86th annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marietta. Singers from across the Mid-Ohio Valley join with a professional orchestra and soloists to present one of music’s classic works.

On Dec. 7, Marietta’s vocal ensembles join the instrumental ensembles (along with the faculty) to perform a holiday concert, Celebrate the Holidays! The fall semester closes with Christmas with the Concert Choir on Sunday, Dec. 16.

“I adore Marietta’s tradition of performing Handel’s Messiah. The music is so beautiful, and to be able to sing it in St. Mary’s with a professional orchestra and our incredible professional soloists is a wonderful opportunity,” says Nicole Futoran ’13 (Brookpark, Ohio), a Vocal Performance major. “Thinking about rehearsals starting up again is honestly what makes me excited to come back to campus each year. As a performer, it has given me a chance to experience working in a professional setting, and the connection with our community members is remarkable. During my first year as the student soloist, my parents weren’t going to be able to come to the concert, so several of the community members in the choir volunteered to be my surrogate parents for the evening. The support was very appreciated.”

Futoran considers her time with the choir as one of the most rewarding in her college career.

“It takes a lot of hard work, and I’ve been pushed to my limits on many occasions. But my closest friends and best memories of Marietta have come from the choir family,” she says. “Our rehearsals can be intense, but the music that comes from that work is beautiful. I think the most satisfying part of performing, in my opinion, is seeing how the music can affect the audience. I’ve seen people brought to tears by our singing.”

Once the students return from the holidays, the action picks up again on Feb. 17. The Oratorio Chorus and Concert Choir once again join forces with the River Cities Symphony Orchestra to present John Rutter’s Requiem in a concert also featuring violinist, John Harrison, in Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

The season closes on April 26 when the Concert Choir and Women's Choir present Resonance: Songs for a Beautiful Space, a concert of a cappella music and cathedral classics at the St. Mary's Catholic Church.

The Concert Choir also performs at Commencement and will head off for its annual spring tour in May.

“To see, hear and feel the enjoyment and the passion from the singers (and from the instrumentalistsfor band) is such an incredible thing to witness,” says Tawny Mutchler ’14 (Bucyrus, Ohio), President of Women’s Choir. “Dr. Monek does some amazing work — he really puts his heart and soul into what he does, and his passion rubs off onto all of us. The concerts really are beautiful.”

As for the instrumentalensembles, the schedule is just as exciting.

Director of the Bands Marshall Kimball will open the season whenthe Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble explore the history of band music from the golden age of bands to the compositions of today with Then and Now: Traveling through Band Time on Nov. 12.

“What makes the band worth seeing is that we are able to create powerful, sometimes emotional music without words. Instruments have to work harder to create a feeling that a choir can establish with their word choice,” says Rachel Shoop ’15 (Parkersburg, W.Va.), a member of the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble. “The band also often includes music that may be familiar to the audience. Themes such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings were included in last year’s fall concert. One doesn’t need to know who, for example, Hazo is before attending a concert. There’s sure to be familiar music as well as new ones to experience.”

The bands return to Fenton Court on April 23 at 7:30 p.m. for their spring concert entitled Great American Band Composers that will feature works by renowned composers ranging from John Philip Sousa to Alfred Reed and from Mark Camphouse to Jack Stamp.

In the spring, the student-musicians of the Opera Workshop, under the direction of Dr. David Tadlock, will present an evening of scenes from various operas in Love, Lust & Lies at 7:30 p.m. March 22 in the Alma McDonough Auditorium.

Another popular set of performances are the Jazz Concerts, Jazzin’ It Up! (Nov. 6) and Swing It! (April 16) that arescheduled for 7:30 p.min the Friederich Theatre and feature both the Jazz Band directed by Kimball and the College’s vocal jazz group, FloodStage, directed by Monek.

Clearly the choir and band maintain a hectic, but entertaining schedule this year.

“At Marietta College, a busy schedule is a fact of life. I love being busy, and being busy with choir functions makes things even better. Concert Choir is a very demanding ensemble with five hours of rehearsal every week, but it is something that I, and most of the other members get a lot of joy out of,” Murphy says. “Any of the vocal and instrumental ensembles provide the chance for students to have an outlet for creativity and emotion during the week. We have a lot of functions, but it is a great chance for us to share our music with the community. It is rewarding for us to share what we have worked so hard on with our fellow students, the faculty, the community and our families. Being busy and working hard encourages us to do that.”