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April 2001

Release Date: April 5, 2001

University, Community Musicians Unite for 'Carmina Burana'

Carl Orff's symphonic choral masterpiece "Carmina Burana," proclaiming the beauty of life and the glory of springtime, will be performed by the Angelo State University Concert Chorale, Community Orchestra, Lee Junior High Concert Choir and local soloists in a performance Thursday, April 19, in the sanctuary of Southland Baptist Church.

The community concert, part of the Arts at ASU series, will begin at 8 p.m. and is open to the public free. The major work concert is annually one of the largest choral events in the city, having drawn close to 1,000 people in past years.

Dr. Pamela Lee, ASU's director of choral activities, will conduct the performance. Featured soloists will include baritone John Triplett and mezzo-soprano Coralie Wetzel, both ASU alumni. Also singing will be Erin Alisanski, voice lecturer at ASU, and Robert Giles, adjunct professor of voice at Incarnate Word and San Antonio Colleges. Senior drama major David Nanny will sing the infamous "roasted swan" solo, accompanied by Scott Hanratty on bassoon obbligato.

The mature, vibrant voices of ASU's Concert Chorale combined with the lyrical purity of Lee Junior High's Treble Concert Choir, under the direction of ASU alumnus Patti Wetzel, will provide a delightful contrast in vocal timbres. When combined with the music of a 32-piece orchestra, the voices will provide a musical palette that promises to be an exciting performance.

Many local musicians will perform in the orchestra, including Dorothy Douthitt, Angela Gabriel, Nada Huey, David Phillips and Debra Scott, all teachers with the San Angelo Independent School District. Other participating ASU music faculty will include Joanne Britz, Kitty Carrico, John Irish, Doug Overmier, Ed Surface and Sharon Towndrow. Louellen Meyer, who is director of music at First Presbyterian Church, will perform as well as several students from Central High School and ASU.

German composer Carl Orff (1895-1982) drew the inspiration for his grand vocal and orchestral work from a collection of medieval Latin and German poems titled "Carmina Burana," or Songs of Beuren. Written by monks from the Benedictine Abbey in Benediktbeuren, South Germany, in the 13th century, the poems are a significant source of information on the social and religious attitudes of the time. Both sacred and secular, the texts are frank avowals of earthly pleasure eating, dancing, drinking, gambling and lovemaking while exalting the beauty of life and the glory of springtime.

Lee said Orff's music seems paradoxical in its amalgam of primitive, modern and medieval styles. The music is a further paradox by its combination of soulful tunes with almost brutal percussions. The evocative melodies, colorful timbres and driving rhythms have made it one of the most popular "classical" compositions of all time.

In fact, it is a great introduction to serious music, particularly to people who think serious or "classical" music is boring and monotonous, Lee said. "Carmina Burana" throbs with a sense of youthful exuberance and elicits magic for anyone with ears to hear.

The music is one of the most popular classical works of the 20th century, Lee said. For more information on this special performance on the Thursday after Easter, please call the ASU Department of Art and Music, 942-2085.