The Graceland Fine Arts season opens today, Friday, Sept. 8, in Carol Hall with a Fall Faculty Showcase Recital. Five talented musicians from the Music Department will present selections representing a broad range of vocal and instrumental repertoire. The program is at 7:30 p.m. and is free to the public.
Erin Bodnar, Graceland director of bands, will perform "Sonata for Bassoon and Piano" by Georg Phillip Telemann. A contemporary of Bach and Handel, Telemann wrote many works for solo or small group performers and is one of the leading German composers of the Baroque.
Rachmaninoff is the composer of choice for Jack Ergo, director of the orchestra and departmental pianist. Ergo will play two preludes by the Russian master on the concert grand Steinway in Carol Hall.
Melinda Leoce heads the percussion department. She will play “The Honeybee” by contemporary composer Liam Teage. The piece is written for tenor pan, a steel drum on which one can play a two-octave scale. Its origin is in the Caribbean, where it is an important part of steel drum music. At least one source cites Teage as the “Paganini of the Steel pan,” a comparison to the 19th century Italian violin virtuoso.
Two vocalists will complete the evening. Sara Blessing, Graceland instructor of music, returns to the recital stage after a maternity leave last spring. With a six-year-old and a pair of newborn twins at home, Blessing has appropriately chosen a lullaby based on the popular go-to-sleep classic “Goodnight Moon,” arranged by Eric Whitacre.
Megan Ihnen, adjunct instructor of voice, will present two very contemporary numbers. Tony Manfredonia’s “Prairie Dawn” (2017) is her first selection. The versatile composer writes for string orchestra, piano and voice as well as dance ensembles and video games. “The Days are Long” by Jen Wang is also a 2017 composition.
The next music department offering will be a band concert on Thursday evening, Sept. 28.