By Dr. William Folger
Co-Chair, Music, Theatre and Dance Department
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” If that’s true (and I believe it is), the U.S. has lent the world its share of prolific authors.
Salisbury University’s annual Spring Music Festival, “¡Viva las Americas!” takes listeners on a melodic journey through the nation (with a little Latin American music sprinkled in for Cinco de Mayo, too).
Sponsored by the Music, Theatre and Dance Department, all concerts are 7:30 p.m. in Holloway Hall Auditorium.
The Salisbury Chorale and University Chorale, for which I am artistic director, open the festival during their annual Spring Concert, “Life’s Journey,” on Saturday, April 30, featuring American composers Randall Thompson and Dan Forrest. With chamber orchestra, the chorales perform Thompson’s Frostiana: Seven Country Songs, featuring poems by Robert Frost, such as “The Road Not Taken,” as well as Forrest’s Requiem for the Living. Soloists include department faculty Anne Binkley, community member Sarah Swain, and students Tess Alexander and Alexander Cooper.
Admission is $12, $9 for seniors and SU alumni, $5 for children 12 and under.
The Salisbury Pops, directed by Lee Knier, continues the festival with the concert “Made in America” Tuesday, May 3. The concert includes a salute to the armed forces, as well as John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” Samuel Ward’s “America, the Beautiful,” Morton Gould’s “American Salute,” Meredith Wilson’s “76 Trombones,” George Gershwin’s “Second Prelude,” a Frank Sinatra medley and a Dixieland concerto. SU student singer Janelle Thomas joins the band for her rendition of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”
The SU Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jerry Tabor, celebrates Cinco de Mayo during its annual Spring Concert, featuring two combos, on Thursday, May 5. Latin American selections include David Torres’ “Chanko,” Eddie Palmieri’s “Bouncer,” Dave Samuels’ “Birds of a Feather” and Ray Santos’ “Azteca.” Other songs include Hank Mobley’s “B for BB,” James Williams’ “Ph.D.” (recorded by Art Farmer), Bobby Watson’s “And Then Again,” Art Blakey’s “Wheel Within a Wheel,” Tommy Turrentine’s “Shoutin’” and an original fusion work by Tabor, “Between Us.”
Admission to the pops and jazz concerts is free.
The festival culminates with the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra’s 30th anniversary Spring Concert, “An American Celebration,” featuring the return of the Capitol Quartet, on Saturday, May 14. The saxophonists first performed with the SSO in 2013. Directed by Dr. Jeffrey Schoyen, the orchestra performs pieces by American composers, including William Bolcum’s Concerto Grosso with Saxophone Quartet, Leroy Anderson’s “Bugler’s Holiday” and Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”
Admission is $25, $20 for seniors age 60 and older, $10 for SU faculty and staff, and $5 for students and children 18 and under. Advance tickets are available online at www.SalisburySymphonyOrchestra.org and at the Guerrieri University Center Information Desk.
This year’s spring festival features a variety of entertaining music. Enjoy a week of artistic musical delights! For more information call 410-543-6228 or visit the department website at www.salisbury.edu/performingarts.