Music Program To Host Recital On May 2

Music Program To Host Recital On May 2

The University of the Ozarks’ music department will present a recital of classical, pop and Broadway standards by baritone Steven Field and pianist Lynn Jost at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, The concert will be held in Munger-Wilson Memorial Chapel and is free and open to the public. Field is a former high school student of U of O Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Jonathan Ledger at Osbourn High School in Manassas, Virginia.  He currently works as the music department recruiter at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. In addition to working steadily as a professional opera singer in eastern Virginia, he also serves as the contemporary worship coordinator at Grace United Methodist Church in Manassas. Jost was one of the collaborative pianists at Osbourn High School when Ledger was the director of choral activities there. She continues in the role today, in addition to serving as a music associate at Grace United Methodist Church in Manassas. On Friday, May 3, Field and Jost will participate in a Q&A session with U of O music majors and minors about how life led them to their current careers in music. University of the Ozarks will present The Ozarks Music Connection: The Latin American Ensemble of University of Arkansas in a concert at 7 p.m. on April 15, in Rowntree Recital Hall. The concert is sponsored by the U of O’s Division of Humanities and Fine Arts. It is open to the public and there is no cost for attendance. The Latin American Ensemble, under the direction of Fernando Valencia, features the richness and diversity of the music of Latin America and the Caribbean. The ensemble’s repertoire encompasses a wide range of styles, from old traditional forms such as Son, Danzon, Cha-Cha-Cha, and Mambo to newer music styles such as Latin Jazz and “pop” influenced music, including Salsa and Timba. A typical performance involves guest singers or instrumentalists performing the biggest hits of Latin music and music composed and/or arranged by the instructor and students. Rowntree Hall is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center on the U of O campus. For more information on the concert, please contact the University of the Ozarks’ Division of Humanities and Fine Arts Division at 979-1349. The University of the Ozarks Chamber Singers will kick off their 2019 concert tour with their annual Spring Concert on the U of O campus on Thursday, April 25. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Munger-Wilson Chapel. There is no cost for attendance and the public is invited. The Spring Concert is a prelude to the Chamber Singers’ five-event spring tour, which runs from May 19-24 at churches in Arkansas and Tennessee. The theme for this year’s concert tour is “E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One,” and will feature a wide variety of music that celebrates the diversity of the United States. “Diversity has always been a part of our country and this land has always been home to immigrants,” said Dr. Jonathan Ledger, choral director at U of O. “Embedded within this message is a prayer for world peace. The program will be heard in its entirety for the first time at our spring concert on Thursday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Munger-Wilson Memorial Chapel.” The concert program will include the works, “At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners,” by Williametta Spencer; “Cherokee Traveler’s Greeting,” by Kevin A. Memley; “Chester,” by William Billings; “Shenandoah,” by James Erb; “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor,” by Irving Berlin; “Paper Crane,” by J. Reese Norris; “Homeland,” by Gustav Holst; and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” by J. Rosamond Johnson. Adjunct music instructor Bethany Qualls will serve as the collaborative pianist during the Spring Concert as well as the tour. Ledger said the tour is the highlight of the academic year for the Chamber Singers. “We are excited to head east on tour for the first time this year, as we strive to strengthen relationships with potential students, churches, and alumni in central and eastern Arkansas and throughout Tennessee,” he said. The tour will include a May 19 (3 p.m.) concert at Kirk in the Pines Presbyterian Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas; a May 20 (7 p.m.) concert at First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Arkansas; a May 21 (7 p.m.) concert at Second Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee; a May 22 (7 p.m.) concert at Logan’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Maryville, Tennessee; and a May 24 (7 p.m.) concert at Holy Trinity Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee. University of the Ozarks will examine the powerful therapeutic benefits of music and art in a program titled, “Healing Through the Arts,” on Thursday, April 11. The program, which is part of the University’s Walton Arts & Ideas Series, begins at 7 p.m. in the Rogers Conference Center on campus. It is free and open to the public “Healing Through the Arts” will feature Dr. Amanda Alders Pike (pictured, right), a 2005 U of O graduate and a board-certified art therapist from Florida, as well as Dr. Ellary Draper, assistant professor of music therapy at the University of Alabama. Art and music therapy is practiced in various clinical and community settings, including hospitals, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, wellness centers, schools, crisis centers, forensic institutions, senior communities and private practice. After graduating from Ozarks, Pike moved to Mexico to focus on her art, teach English and attend an art therapy program. The experience helped her become bilingual in English and Spanish. Later, she earned a master’s degree in New York and a Ph.D. from Florida State University. From there, she developed an eclectic professional background, encompassing education, counseling, business and marketing. Pike established a private practice in South Florida as an art therapist which grew into a staffing company. She hired, trained, placed, and supervised art therapists in locations such as assisted living facilities, homeless shelters and eating disorder and substance abuse recovery treatment centers. In 2017, her company was purchased by a larger company. Pike currently works as in educational leadership and as a curriculum content manager with the American College of Education. Draper holds degrees in music education from Westminster Choir College and music therapy from Florida State University. Her Ph.D. is in music and human learning from the University of Texas at Austin. She previously worked as a music therapist with a variety of ages and populations outside of Houston. She also has experience as an elementary general music teacher. Her research interests are in the areas of children with disabilities, particularly in inclusive music classrooms. Currently, she serves as the Chair of Special Education for the Alabama Music Educators Association and Chair of the Standards of Clinical Practice Committee for the American Music Therapy Association. A regular presenter at national and regional music therapy and music education conferences, her research is also published in the Journal of Music Therapy, Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education, General Music Today, imagine, and Ala Breve. The University of the Ozarks music department will present its annual time-honored Christmas tradition, A Service of Lessons and Carols, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, in Munger-Wilson Chapel. The concert will be preceded by a Community Christmas Reception featuring snacks and refreshments from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the lower level of the Chapel. The public is invited to attend both the reception and the Service of Lessons and Carols, and there is no charge for admission. The service will feature all three University choirs, which include Chamber Singers and Chapel Choir, both conducted by Dr. Jonathan Ledger, assistant professor of music, and the Women’s Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Sharon Gorman, Walton professor of music. Gorman will also be featured on organ and piano during the prelude, hymns, and postlude.  Bethany Qualls, adjunct instructor of piano, will accompany the Chamber Singers. The event will include scripture readings by University students, faculty and staff. A wide variety of music to reflect on various Advent and Christmas scripture readings will be performed, along with congregational hymns that audience members can sing along with. Among the works the choirs will perform include, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming (with Of the Father’s Love Begotten),” “O Come to Us, Emmanuel,” “Mary, Did You Know?,” “Breath of Heaven,” “Keep Your Lamps Burning,” and “Hallelu.” University of the Ozarks will present the University of Arkansas’ Latin American Ensemble for a concert at 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, in Rowntree Recital Hall. The concert, sponsored by the U of O’s Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, is open to the public and there is no cost for attendance. Rowntree Hall is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center on the Ozarks campus. The Latin American Ensemble features the richness and diversity of the music of Latin America and the Caribbean. The ensemble's repertoire encompasses a wide range of styles, from old traditional forms such as Son, Danzon, Cha-Cha-Cha, and Mambo to newer music styles such as Latin Jazz and “pop" influenced music, including Salsa and Timba. A typical performance involves guest singers or instrumentalists performing the biggest hits of Latin music and music composed and/or arranged by the instructor and students. For more information on the concert, please contact the University of the Ozarks’ Division of Humanities and Fine Arts Division at 979-1349. University of the Ozarks’ music department will present the 18th annual All Hallows Eve Concert in Munger-Wilson Chapel, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27. The All Hallows Eve Concert is traditionally one of the University’s most popular musical events of the year and will feature music by the U of O music ensembles, under the leadership of choral director Dr. Jonathan Ledger, as well as by Walton Professor of Music and University organist Dr. Sharon Gorman. Dr. Gorman will present organ music that will include the traditional Toccata in D minor of J. S. Bach, as well as selections from Harry Potter, Superman, Stars Wars and other popular movies. The choral numbers have traditionally included, Little Shop of Horrors, Shakespeare’s MacBeth, Sam Pottle’s Jabberwocky, Mendelssohn’s Hexenlied and Disney movies Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Little Mermaid. There is no cost for admission to the concert and it is open to the public. The program is child-friendly and audience members are invited and encouraged to come in costume. Megan Ahne’s main goal when she sings is to make her audience members feel something. “I want them to feel happy, sad, angry, elated or blissful when they hear me. I want to affect them with my performance,” she said. “I remember after one performance, a mom came up with her little boy and told me that during my song her son just could not stop smiling. He was just grinning ear to ear. It made me so happy to hear that I put a big smile on that little boy’s face with just my performance. That is my goal. I do not want them to just listen and say that she is a good singer. I want them to say that she really made me cry on that one song or that I laughed so hard during that one song.” The University of the Ozarks senior music major from Ozark, Ark., has been entertaining audiences with her powerful and moving mezza-soprano vocals ever since she first performed in front of her church congregation as a 10-year-old. Over the past four years she has delighted and moved audiences as part of the University Chamber Singers and Chapel Choir. She will perform her senior recital at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 23, in Rowntree Recital Hall and then plans to pursue graduate studies in music at Bowling Green State University following her graduation in May.

Finding her voice

Though she loved singing as far back as she can remember, it was her piano teacher and church choir director, Amy Sexton, who saw Ahne’s potential and encouraged her to take voice lessons. “Even though I loved singing, I was so shy that I did not want anybody to hear because I did not want them to say I was a bad singer,” she said. “I knew that I liked it but I also knew that just because you like something does not mean you are good at it. So, I did not sing for anybody other than my parents. Then one day during piano lessons, Ms. Sexton heard me singing and insisted that I take voice lessons. From those lessons, I built up enough courage to sing a solo in front of the whole church. From there, I started to believe I was good at singing. Though, I certainly did not think it would be career path until much later.” Ahne, who played in the band as a junior high and high school student, said she quickly found her musical niche as a classically trained vocalist. “It is such a rush to go in front of a group of people and make music. There is something much more personal about singing than playing an instrument for me,” said Ahne, who plays the piano and clarinet. “This may not hold true for someone who is only an instrumentalist, but for me singing is so very personal. I am using my voice to perform. I am using my voice to tell a story. It is such a wondrous feeling to show people my voice and then to hear that they love it.”

Local celebrity

Ahne said her most memorable performance at Ozarks was during the 2016 All Hallows Eve Concert when she dressed up as the villainous Octopid sea witch Ursula from The Little Mermaid movie and performed a stirring rendition of “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” “It was the first time in a performance that I just really got into the role,” Ahne said. “I really understood for the first time how to perform a song instead of just singing it. I had been having trouble with that since I started at Ozarks. I just felt really uncomfortable moving while singing, but this song really helped me break out and be more comfortable performing.” She still gets recognized around the community for that memorable performance. “There are times when I am just doing normal, everyday things and someone who was at that concert suddenly asks me if I was Ursula,” she said. “It has happened several times. Of course, it makes me happy that they can recognize me without all of the Ursula makeup on and that they are going out of their way to tell me that they really enjoyed that performance from months or years ago.”

Ozarks experience

Ahne credits the music program at Ozarks for helping her hone and develop her talents and gain a stronger understanding and appreciation for music. “The music literature courses helped to broaden my knowledge of music history and of the great composers,” she said. “Musicianship classes have also really helped with my knowledge of music theory and its many rules. I did not even understand fully what chord progressions were in high school. The biggest help has been my voice lessons with our adjunct voice professor, Natlynn Hayes. She has helped my voice and performance grow so much in the last four years. I thought I was good when I got here, but looking back, I did not know anything. My skill has grown leaps and bounds since coming to Ozarks. Of course, I still have plenty of room for improvement, but I am so much better than when I got here.” Outside of music, Ahne said her time at Ozarks has helped her grow as a person and a leader. “Out of high school, I was still quite shy and awkward, and I really avoided having to deal with people whenever I could,” she said. “ Ozarks did not allow me to be like that. It really helped that a lot of people here are so friendly, which helped me break out of that shell and be friendlier. It was not like an overnight change. It was quite slow. Throughout most of my freshman year I was still pretty reserved. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I was asked to help the Glee Club in a leader role. I could not refuse it and suddenly I was having to be a leader for the club. I think that year I really became more sociable and I became a better leader. At the end of that spring, the Glee Vlub voted me as vice president. I was elated. Everyone liked and respected me to the point that they wanted me as the vice president. It was an amazing feeling. From then on, glee was our thing.”

Looking forward

Ahne plans to pursue a graduate degree in vocal performance at Bowling Green and then chase her goal of becoming a professional singer. “I am not completely set on a specific type of music, but I am leaning towards being an opera singer. Operas are just super fun,” Ahne said. “But to be honest, I really don’t care. I just want to perform music.” The University of the Ozarks Chamber Singers will present their annual Spring Concert, titled “Songs of the Sea,” at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 26, in Munger-Wilson Chapel. The event is open to the public and there is no cost for admission. The concert is a prelude to the choir’s spring tour, which runs from May 13-18 and includes five performances at churches in Northwest Arkansas, Kansas City, Mo., and Springfield, Mo. Under the direction assistant professor of music and choral conductor Dr. Jonathan Ledger, the concert will feature a wide variety of choral repertoire from all style periods that relate to themes of the sea, including reflections, exploration, adventure, tragedy, loss and meditations.

Program lineup

The program will include, “A Song for All Seas, All Ships,” by Ralph Vaughan Williams; “Ecco mormorar l’onde,” by Claudio Monteverdi; “I Have Loved Hours at Sea” by Ēriks Ešenvalds; “Northern Lights,” by Ēriks Ešenvalds; “A Passer By,” by Byron Adams; “High Barbary,” by Arthur E. Hall; “H.M.S. Pinafore: A Choral Salute,” by Gilbert & Sullivan (arr. Philip Kern); “Face Answereth to Face,” from Twelve Canticles by Randall Thompson; and “Never an Absolution,” from Titanic, by James Horner (arr. Jonathan Ledger). Other songs the ensemble will perform include, “Nearer, My God, to Thee,” by Lowell Mason (arr. Dan Forrest); “Vineta,” by Johannes Brahms; “Crossing the Bar,” by Gwyneth Walker; “The Seal Lullaby,” by Eric Whitacre; “Wade in the Water,” arr. Moses Hogan; and “It Is Well with My Soul,” by Philip P. Bliss (arr. René Clausen). Adjunct music instructor Bethany Qualls will serve as the collaborative pianist during the concert as well as the tour. Chie Ishii, a 1986 graduate of University of the Ozarks who has gained international fame as a classical pianist and composer, will return to U of O for a concert on Thursday, Nov. 9. The concert, which is part of the University’s Walton Arts & Ideas Series, will begin at 6 p.m. in Munger-Wilson Chapel. There will be a reception in the lower level of the Chapel following the concert. The concert and reception are free and open to the public. A native of Japan, Ishii has lived in Berlin, Germany, for more than two decades. Her current repertoire includes the famous works of romanticism, especially those of Frederic Chopin, and numerous original compositions of her own. She has released five solo albums with the works of Chopin and of her own, one album with classical works and one album with the compositions of German humorist and poet, Heinz Erhardt. Ishii described her music as “modern classic.” “My performances are free, friendly and personal, not rigid at all,” Ishii said. “I play my own compositions together with the pieces of the great masters. I’ve been called a cross-over artist and that’s probably pretty accurate.” Ishii started playing the piano at the age of 4 and had her first public concert when she was 6 years old.  At the age of 12, she fell in love with the music of Chopin.  At the same time, she was fascinated by rock music and played keyboard in many different rock bands in Japan. She left Japan at the age of 19, studying music at Ozarks from 1982 to 1986 before continuing her education at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and Brevard Music School in North Carolina. In 1997, she was the first audio-DVD recording artist in Europe. These recordings, “Berlin Affair 1, 2 & 3” were introduced at the international consumer electronic show in Berlin. In 2003, she formed her own rock ‘n’ roll band, “Breathless,” in which she played the bass guitar and which she managed. She is also a piano teacher and an author of music books. Ishii will be performing in the Munger-Wilson Chapel for the first time since her senior recital in the spring of 1986. She is dedicating her concert in honor of the late U of O President Fritz Ehren and his wife, Juanita, who served as her host parents during her four years at Ozarks.