Archive for Sunday, February 17, 1991


February 17, 1991


Before the action begins, the Kansas University audience will stand for the playing of the national anthem.

But what comes after won't involve tall men in shorts racing back and forth on a basketball court. It will involve a group of singers and brass players performing a concert with a decidedly religious theme.

Under the direction of James Ralston, a group of KU choirs will open its concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Crafton-Preyer Theatre with "The Star-Spangled Banner." The chorus will be standing in the aisles, leading the audience, and Ralston will stand at the front and direct, he said in a recent interview.

"I think it's very appropriate, don't you?" said Ralston, referring to patriotic feelings aroused by Operation Desert Storm.

THE CONCERT itself is dedicated to St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, and will feature a choral and brass work called "To Saint Cecilia" by composer Norman Dello Joio. The score was originally commissioned by KU in 1959 for a music teacher convention in Kansas City and features a text by 17th century English poet and playwright John Dryden. The work was dedicated to the late Clayton Krehbiel, a longtime director of choral activities, and the KU choir.

"We frequently at the university come up with commissions," said Ralston, a KU professor of choral music. "It shows that we support new pieces and composers."

Ralston said Dello Joio, who is still alive, has a special flair for writing music for brass and voice, a talent that comes through in the piece to be played Tuesday.

"It's 20th century choral music, but it's not avant-garde," he said. "It's definitely tonal."

THE REST of the program includes several religion-oriented works, including "Music for Queen Mary," by Henry Purcell, to be conducted by Michael Bauer, an assistant professor of music and dance.

"The music was written for the second Queen Mary upon her death in the late 1600s," Ralston said. "Nine months later, Purcell died, and they played the music for him at his funeral. It's a beautiful setting of the Anglican burial service.''

The other works are to include "Psalm 150" by Heinrich Schutz; "Nun Danket Alle Gott" by Johann Pachelbel; the fanfare and chorus from "Ihr Lieben Christen, Freut Euch Nun" by Dietrich Buxtehude; and "Wedding Canata" by Daniel Pinkham. Along with Ralston and Bauer, conductors will include Kevin Kellim and Randel Wolfe. The KU Chamber Choir, Concert Choir and University Singers will participate, as well as a brass choir composed of students and faculty.

"It was very difficult putting the brass section together," Ralston said. "What with all the upcoming band and orchestra concerts, we were still able to fit it in.''

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