Two choirs from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith — along with special guests — will perform in concert April 28 as part of UAFS’s Season of Entertainment 33.
The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Arkansas Best Corp. Performing Arts Center at the Fort Smith Convention Center, 55 S. 7th St.
Directed by Dr. Rager H. Moore II of Prairie Grove, UAFS director of choral activities, the concert will feature the University Chorale and Women’s Chorus, as well as a local professional string quartet and a UAFS piano instructor.
The quartet is made up of Lori Faye from Mansfield (violin 1), Krista Mays from Fort Smith (violin 2), Barbara Godette from Greenwood (cello) and Anitra Fay from Ozark (viola). UAFS piano instructor Alice Brooks Sanders of Shawnee, Okla., will also be featured during the concert.
“The concert theme will focus on destiny — our life experiences and the things we can and cannot change,” said Moore, who added that the concert would include compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Randall Thompson, Ramiro Real and Donald Callen Freed that touch on destiny or fate.
“This concert is all about the ultimate understanding that we are left to living with our choices,” he said. “Our destiny lies within our perceptions of who we are, what we do and where we desire to go. Perhaps, most vividly, these pieces help teach us to choose wisely.”
Moore said that Freed’s compositions of “The Prairie States” and The Prairie Sunset” are based on poems by Walt Whitman that describe the beauty and inevitability of life in the Midwest. These two compositions were first performed by the UAFS choirs at the Regional College Music Society Conference in early March.
“Thompson’s compositions feature his wonderful setting of the 23rd Psalm as well as the poems of Stephen Vincent Benet from the ‘Tiger Joy’ collection,” said Moore. “Benet’s poems were a compilation of love poems inspired by his wife, Rosemary, whom he considered his muse and moral compass.”
The Women’s Chorus will perform a work by Ramiro Real, who wrote the poetry and composed the choral parts for “Ella,” which describes the fantasy of a dream that suddenly disappears as a woman realizes the fate of a relationship which has slowly withered away.
The Chorale, along with the string quartet, will perform “Elegischer Gesang,” a composition written by Beethoven to an elegiac poem by the German writer Goethe. This piece was scored for string quartet and chorus, but is not often performed or recorded. It is dedicated to Beethoven’s friend and patron whose wife died at a young age — a piece written in honor of a woman whose life’s destiny was not long but who was remembered.
Pianist Sanders will be highlighted with the Chorale on Brahms’ “Schicksalslied,” also called “The Song of Destiny (Fate).”
“This selection will feature the piano artistry of our own Alice Sanders,” said Moore. “Alice will play the wonderful piano score describing the text by Friedrich Holderlin that speaks to the destiny of mankind — relating both the innocent life and the inevitable struggles that eventually lead to peace in the grave.”
Students participating in the Choral Concert are:
Alma: Sonya Daniel, Chorale and Women’s Chorus; and Jordan Duff, Micheal Phan and Elyse Stogner, Chorale.
Booneville: Sarah Edgmon and Kyle Jones, Chorale.
Fayetteville: Stephany Nelson, Women’s Chorus.
Fort Smith: Elizabeth Carter, Joshua Floyd, Charles French, Walter Harrison, Terri Leins, Casey Moore, Lee Rains, Taylor Schmidt, Josh Scroggins, Chelsey Smith, Ben Thrasher, Benjamin Truong and Ethan Womack, Chorale; Alisha Garland, Abby Hobbs, Michelle Leonard and Rachel Townsend, Chorale and Women’s Chorus; and Nicole Bonk, Heather Hickman, Tra Le, Jacqui Lyle, Rena Mockizuki, Janet Renwick and Alyson Siler, Women’s Chorus.
Gentry: Alan Herrera and John Lopez, Chorale; and Kaylin Cripps, Women’s Chorus.
Greenwood: Hannah Jones and Jesse Watson, Chorale.
Harrison: Ellie Miller, Chorale.
Hot Springs: Corby Smith, Chorale; and Nancy Carpenter, Women’s Chorus.
Jacksonville: Andrew Jeffers, Chorale.
Jonesboro: McKendreah Brodie, Chorale.
Mena: Amber Lane, Chorale; and LaTrisha Metcalf, Women’s Chorus.
Muldrow, Okla.: Austin Calvillo, Chorale.
Poteau, Okla.: Kirsten Binns and Moriah Hayes, Chorale and Women’s Chorus.
Prairie Grove: Stephanie Blakemore, Women’s Chorus.
Roland, Okla.: Courtney Hicks, Chorale.
Rudy: Justin Dowdy, Chorale.
Sallisaw, Okla.: Matthew Eggert, Chorale.
Van Buren: Phil Furney, Tadd Hooks, Kalyn Tounzen and Jessica Utz, Chorale; Sarah Morton, Women’s Chorus; and Rachel Nye, Chorale and Women’s Chorus.
Wilburton, Okla.: Spencer Bray, Chorale.
UAFS packages national touring events with UAFS concerts and productions into the Season of Entertainment schedule each year. The Choral Concert is one of nine UAFS concerts and productions on the Season 33 roster, which also includes five national touring events.
Admission is by a Season 33 season ticket, or individual tickets are $6. Tickets are available online at www.uafs.edu or by calling the UAFS Box Office at 479-788-7300.