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Houghton College Instrumental Ensembles Present a Weekend of Music

Houghton College’s instrumental ensembles, Philharmonia and Symphonic Winds, will present their first joint performance of the semester on  February 18, 2011 at 8 p.m. in Wesley Chapel.  A follow-up concert of smaller groups, the Chamber Wind ensemble, Camerata, and quartets will perform Saturday, February 19, at 3 p.m.  Both performances are free of charge and open to the public.

Philharmonia and Symphonic Winds present “February in France: Deux Concerts.” The first concert of the weekend, entitled “Musique de la Salle de Concert,” will be presented by the larger instrumental ensembles.  Philharmonia is scheduled to perform first with Symphonic Winds taking the stage after intermission. The Brass Quintet will perform two opening pieces.

The concert includes pieces by Jacques Offenbach, Martin Ellerby, and Norman Dello Joio. Student conductors, Rachel Smith ’12 and Bridgette Lyon ’11, will lead Philharmonia in Hector Berlioz’s “Dance of the Sprites” fromDamnation of Faust and Georges Bizet’s “Farandole from L’ Arlésienne Suite No. 2” respectively.  Guest conductor, Professor Gary Stith, will lead the Symphonic Winds in “Suite Francaise” by Darius Milhaud.

Philharmonia is the college’s orchestra and is comprised of about 52 members. Symphonic Winds is made of about 58 members, and is the college’s wind band. Both ensembles include music and non-music majors, as well as faculty and community members.

In addition to Philharmonia and Symphonic Winds, the Chamber Wind Ensemble, Camerata and small groups will present a Saturday afternoon concert entitled “Musique de Chambre.” A humorous collection of short pieces suited for all, including younger children and families, will be showcased.  The program includes work by, Charles Gounod, Claude Debussy and Ravel. Local violin teacher Martha Thomas of Fillmore, N.Y. will lead her students, ranging in ages from four to 10 years, in two opening violin pieces:  the Thomasschule strings will perform the first piece of the concert entitled “Two Grenadiers,” and the Thomasschule Twinklers will join them for the second piece, “Frère Jacques.” 

An exciting finale entitled “Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint Saëns will end the two-day concert event. This work will include a narration, lead by three Houghton students: Elizabeth Engelberth ’12, Sarah Harms ’12, and Stephen Cledgett ’12. Pianists Nolan Miller ’11 and Laura Stoltzfus ’12 will be featured soloists for this closing work. A variety of solos including the flute, cello, clarinet and xylophone are included within this performance. 

Brain Casey is the assistant professor of conducting and horn at Houghton College. He currently serves as music director and conductor for Philharmonia and Symphonic Winds. “Bring young children,” commented Casey, “especially to the Saturday afternoon special.”

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