FAC features American Music

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The Faculty Artist Concert Series performance “Made in the USA” was presented at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 24. Faculty, alumni and students came together to perform music written by American composers.

Faculty pianist and Associate Adjunct Professor Minju Choi saw the concert as a chance for  audience members to experience music that was written in the same country where it was being performed.


The Solaire Quartet consisting of Otis Murphy, Paul Bro, Sam Fritz and Scotty Stepp, performed at the “Made in the USA” Faculty Artist Concert Series
(Photo by Kyle Weidner)


“[This concert] was a great opportunity to showcase American music—music written by composers of the past but also the present,” Choi said.

The percussion ensemble conducted by music faculty member Paul Berns began the night with a performance of  “Night Music” composed by Robert Starer. The ensemble was followed by faculty adjunct Anne Reynolds on the flute and alumnus Matthew Bridgham on piano playing “Duo for Flute and Piano” by Aaron Copland.

As audience members became more involved in the performances, their applause prompted the duo to come out for a second bow.

Solaire Quartet consisting of Otis Murphy, Paul Bro, Sam Fritz and Scotty Stepp then performed “Revolution” composed by Marc Mellits. Afterward, Murphy introduced Benjamin Dean Taylor, the composer of the next piece, and invited him to the stage.

“Digital Goldfish,” composed by Taylor, had its premiere performance at the “Made in the USA”  concert. Taylor said that the odd title was rooted in a study he read about that said Americans now only have a nine second attention span, which is the same as a goldfish’s attention span.

“Nothing lasts longer than nine seconds,” Taylor said of the frequent changes in his composition.

Taylor said that the piece resembles the tendencies of individuals to be distracted by social media while attempting to focus on a specific task.

Following the applause for Taylor and the quartet, the stage was set with a small, round table with a tablecloth, teacup, wine glass filled with water and vase. The scene was completed with a plush toy dog in a pink carrier.

The artists came onto the stage to play “Café Music,” composed by Paul Schoenfield. The trio consisted of Choi on piano, Kurt Fowler on cello and Dean Franke on violin.

Freshman nursing major Courtney Kinnard said that this last piece was her favorite of the night.

“My favorite instrument is the cello, so I really liked that,” Kinnard said.

At the beginning of the second movement of “Café Music,” Fowler and Franke took a moment to enjoy the scenery as well as their beverages. They both then placed a monetary tip on the piano before joining in, eliciting more laughter from the audience.

Choi said that she chose the piece because it was a fun crowd-pleaser. However, the decision to have props came during a rehearsal the night before.

“We all at the same time were thinking, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we had    props?’” Choi said.

In spite of the piece’s difficulty, Choi enjoyed playing the piece and giving the audience a chance to laugh.

“This piece was meant to be light-hearted,” Choi said. “And not so serious.”


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