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Capacity Crowd Cheers U of L Faculty Recital
By Henry C. Mayer
There's always a thrill about going off on a treasure hunt. But suppose you find not one but ten treasures?
That may give you some idea of this listener's delight -- and that of the packed house which reveled in the recent U of L School of Music gala faculty recital. And just think, that is only the curtain-raiser for more than 250 concerts this season. And most of them are free!
The carefully-wrought acoustics of North Recital Hall made the evening even more enjoyable. The audience also enjoyed the courtesy refreshments and the chance to meet and talk with the performers after the concert.
After a most gracious welcome by Dean Herbert Koerselman, the concert began. Space does not let us do justice to each number and all performers but here is a sample of the quality and beauty of what we heard.
The evening got off to a stirring start when Bach Chorus Director and concert organist Melvin Dickinson rendered Bach's "Toccata in D. Minor." "It's a complex composition," Dickinson told Louisville Music News, "and it shows Bach's genius by integrating the various elements into one harmonious whole."
Two pieces, "Memorial Groove" and "Enigma," came from the pens of faculty members Frederick Speck and Steve Rouse. The first number, with its plaintive melody, showcased the abundant saxophone talent of Mike Tracy. The husband-and-wife team of Michael and Meme Tunnell delighted the audience with their performance of the second piece. For some, it also was an introduction to the mellow sounds of the flugelhorn, whose sound differs from that of its kindred instrument the cornet.
Using her fingers with uncanny but well-trained dexterity, harpist Elaine Cook joined pianist Naomi Oliphant in a widely appreciated presentation of French impressionism by Maurice Revel. Its dream-like quality left the audience in a nostalgic mood.
Local favorite Edie Davis offered us another glimpse of her many-splendored talent with a tantalizing performance of Leonard Bernstein's "Cycle of Five Kid Songs."
The talented John LaBarbera and his gifted associates stirred the audience with their jazz rendition of Romberg's "Softly as a Morning Sunrise." Expressed in a lively and different musical idiom, it was almost impossible to know who enjoyed the piece more, the performers or the audience.
Donn Everette gave us a scintillating and deeply moving interpretation of the musical soliloquy from Giordano's 20th century opera, "Andre Chenier." One could feel the poet's varied emotions in being falsely arrested and brought to trial as well as the ideals which he brought to the French Revolution.
And so, you have a sample of an evening of pure delight. Talking with audience members afterwards, one felt that its sheer variety made a big hit. They seemed reluctant to single out any individual number.
You can enjoy evenings like this too. If you are not on the mailing list to know about future concerts, just call the Dean's office, 852-6907. But a word of caution is in order. To be sure of a seat and convenient free parking, get there between 7:00 and 7:15 p.m. True, you will have to wait for the concert to start at 8 p.m., but the evening is well worth it. We are fortunate to have such a School of Music in our midst.