Sweet Briar’s Gager Concert Series kicks off Oct. 2

| September 26, 2007

Sweet Briar College’s Janet Lowry Gager Concert Series will get under way at noon Tuesday, Oct. 2 in Memorial Chapel. Dean of the College Jonathan Green has composed original music for the kick off of the annual series that features music from around the world.

“It is a light six-minute work for flute and piano,” Green said. “I thought a musical bon bon would be the way to go for this lunch-time concert.”

Guest mezzo-soprano Ellen Hinkson will perform Oct. 2.

Although the theme of this installment of the series is “The Music of America,” Green borrows from a Frenchman for his composition, “Dancing with Maurice.”

“The title is a reference to Maurice Ravel from whom I lifted a fairly generic motive,” he said. “I don’t use it as the principal tune, but a secondary melody, only one measure long, that appears midway into the first section and shows up occasionally throughout the piece. The same tune functions similarly in Ravel’s ‘Pavane for a Dead Princess.’ ”

The performers will be SBC professor of music Rebecca McCord on piano and flutist Lynn Buck. Buck, a native of upstate New York, studied with John Oberbrunner, principal flutist with the Syracuse Symphony. She attended Syracuse University, the SUNY Fredonia School of Music and received an M.F.A. from Bennington College in Vermont. Buck also was a member of the Salisbury (N.C.) Symphony prior to her move to Virginia.

Also on the bill will be guest mezzo-soprano Ellen Hinkson, accompanied by McCord on piano. They’ll perform Samuel Barber’s “Hermit Songs,” a cycle of 10 songs based on anonymous poems of Irish monks and scholars from the Middle Ages.

Hinkson is a classically trained music graduate of Copenhagen University in Denmark. She performed as a soloist in Denmark for many years before coming to the United States. She has sung with the Roanoke Symphony Chorus and been a voice teacher for the Academy of Music and Academy of Fine Arts for five years. Lynchburg audiences have heard her as a soloist in René Clausen’s “A New Creation” and Handel’s “Messiah.”

Soprano Marcia Jones Thom, an SBC adjunct instructor in voice, will perform the aria, “Ain’t It a Pretty Night,” from Carlisle Floyd’s opera, “Susannah.” Thom has performed leading and supporting roles with regional opera companies, including Lynchburg’s Opera on the James.

McCord will play selections from Verne Reynolds’ “Florilegium.” Reynolds, a renowned horn player and professor emeritus of horn at the Eastman School of Music, is also a respected composer. McCord performed the Virginia premiere of this work in 1987 at Sweet Briar.

The Gager series is made possible by the support of Forrest Gager, in memory of his wife Janet, who served as Sweet Briar’s director of public relations. All are open to the public.

The next concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Chapel and will showcase German music. The music of Spain is on tap for the final installment at noon April 8, 2008.

For more information, please e-mail mccord@sbc.edu or call 381-6115.

Category: Music, Performing Arts