Monday, November 23, 2015

Madrigal Sales End Nov. 24

The Department of Music would also like to alert patrons that the last day to purchase tickets for the 40th Annual Madrigal Feaste is Tuesday, November 24. Seating is still available for the opening night performance on Wednesday, December 2, but all other performances only have single seats remaining.

The opening night performance offers a special discounted ticket for AU students at $11.  All performances begin at 6:30 p.m. in Redwood Hall. Tickets can be purchased through the Ashland University Box Office at 419.289.5125, or online at Discounted tickets for University students and children can only be purchased directly through the box office and not online.

Winter Festival Jazz Concert, Nov. 23

The Ashland University Department of Music will present the Winter Festival Jazz Concert on Monday, November 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre. Under the direction of Dr. Scott Garlock, the concert is free and open to the public.

The concert's program will be selected from pieces including Paul Ferguson's arrangement of Danny Boy, Peter Blair's arrangement of It Had to Be You, Thomas Reed's arrangement of Ray Charles' I've Got News for You, and Dennis Wilson's arrangement of Billie Holiday's Travelin' Light and many more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Performers for Fall Honors Recital Announced

The Ashland University Department of Music announces the performers for the Fall 2015 Honors Recital to be held Wednesday, November 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall. The concert showcases the best of fall 2015 and is free and open to the public.

Vocalists include Eryn Reynolds Tramel, Fatima Imani Smith, Corey Turpin, Elisha Hofer, Abigale Brady and Sarah Napier. Instrumentalists are saxophonists Jessica Barnhouse and Shayne Smith; Nik Psota, trumpet; Rachel Crow, piano; and Emily Minns, flute.

Friday, November 13, 2015

AU Music Alumna Wins A Cappella Contest

Brandy Riha, BA Music '13, won a contest for her a cappella arrangement of the song "Stitches" by Shawn Mendes. The competition was sponsored by the music notation and service Noteflight.  Brandy will receive prizes of sound equipment worth $1,500 and publication of the arrangement by Hal Leonard, the largest sheet music publisher in the world.  At Ashland Brandy studied music theory and composition with Dr. Alex Sanchez Behar, Associate Professor of Music, and was the founder of AU's a cappella vocal group "Surround Sound."  The advisor for "Surround Sound" is Dr. Ron Blackley, Professor of Music. Visit Noteflight's official announcement at:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Tickets on Sale for Handel's Messiah, Nov. 22

The Department of Music at Ashland University is proud to present George Frideric Handel's holiday masterpiece, Messiah, performed by the Ashland University Choir, Ashland Area Chorus and Ashland Chamber Orchestra with Dr. Rowland Blackley as conductor on Sunday, November 22 at 2 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre.

As the most famous oratorio ever written, Messiah is a collection of texts drawn from the sacred scriptures dealing with Christ’s birth, sufferings, death and resurrection. Best known for its "Hallelujah" chorus, the choral piece also features several well-loved recitatives and arias sung by soloists.

Dr. Blackley, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Ashland University, previously presented Handel’s Messiah at Ashland University in 2005 and 2010.  While conducting the University Choir and Chamber Singers, he also teaches in the areas of conducting and music education. He directs the annual Madrigal Feaste and has served as conductor and music director for several Ashland University theatrical productions. Ashland Area Chorus director Elizabeth Slade and staff accompanist Susan Gregg have assisted in preparing vocalists for the concert.

With over 100 musicians on the Hugo Young Theatre stage, Ashland University’s presentation will feature a professional orchestra including University organist Timothy Guenther on harpsichord along with University trumpet students Nik Psota (Hinckley) and Hannah Phillips (Plymouth).

Vocal solos will be performed by sopranos Abigale Brady (Ashtabula), Gracie Fumic (Avon), Elisha Hofer (Sandusky) and Fatima Imani Smith (Akron).  Alto soloists feature Sarah Napier (Willard) and Eryn Reynolds Tramel (Medina).  Male soloists are represented by tenor Corey Turpin (Ashland) and Timothy Johnson (a professionally trained vocalist from the Ashland Area Chorus); while baritones include Deric Dove (Newark) and Jake Riley (Wooster).

Reserved seating tickets for the performance are $8.00 for adults; $6.00 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students, Ashland University faculty, staff and alumni; and $1.00 for Ashland University students. To purchase tickets, call the Ashland University Central Box Office at 419-289-5125, Monday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., or online at

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Seven Recitals Performed in Less Than Three Weeks!

The Department of Music at Ashland University announces seven recitals which are scheduled over the next three weeks. From faculty and senior recitals to the fall honors recital, the concerts will offer performances by instrumentalists (flute, saxophone, organ, piano, cello, and guitar) and musical theatre vocalists. All of the following performances are free and open to the public.

The marathon of recitals begins on Sunday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall with a faculty recital by flutist Jane Berkner. Ms. Berkner will perform with cellist Miles Richardson, pianist Susan Gregg and Stephen Aron on guitar. Primarily featuring flute and cello, the program will include Jean-Michel Damase's Sonate en Concert, Eric Lamb and Martin Rummel's arrangement of J.S. Bach's (Re)Inventions, Heitor Villa Lobos' Jet WhistleLake Wallenpaupack by Daniel Dorff and Danzas de le Abuela by Ricardo Iznaola.

There will be three separate recitals the following Sunday, November 8 beginning at 1 p.m. in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall with a senior recital featuring music education major Jessica Barnhouse (Cambridge, Ohio). Miss Barnhouse will present her senior saxophone recital accompanied by pianist Susan Gregg and guest performers Jaylynn Buchmelter, trombone; Derek Rangel, guitar; her private instuctor Dr. Thomas Reed, guitar; and Polly Dexter, drums. Her program will include Giovannini's Rhapsody, J.S. Bach's Two Bourrées from Third Cello Suite, Darius Milhaud's Scaramouche, along with Gershwin's Summertime, Parker's My Little Suede Shoes and more.

At 4 p.m. in the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel, Dr. Timothy Guenther will present his faculty recital in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the reconstructed Olive Williams Kettering Memorial M. P. Möller Pipe Organ. The repertoire includes music by J.S. Bach, José Lidon, César Franck, Felix Mendelssohn, Paul Hindemith, Eunice Lea Kettering, Knut Nystedt, Paul Desmond, and Joseph Bonnet; and features the Ashland premiere of the Chorale Fantasia by J.S. Bach on “Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält”, BWV 1128, discovered in March 2008.

Returning to the Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m., senior applied vocal major Fatima Imani Smith will perform a musical theatre revue to fulfill her senior music project. Directed by Andrea Disch, accompanied by pianist Deb Logan, and assisted by tenor Jake Riley and baritone Deric Dove, Fatima will present her original show of "Musicals Throughout the Ages." Fatima studies voice privately with Stephanie Sikora.

On Sunday, November 15, senior instrumental music education major Rachel Crow (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) kicks the day off at 1 p.m. in the Recital Hall with her senior piano recital. Under the tutelage of her private instructor Susan Schoeffler, Rachel's program includes piano classics from Brahms' Rhapsody to Beethoven's Sonata (Op. 49, Nov.2), along with Rachmaninoff's Moment Musical, five movements from Prokofieff's Vision Fugitives and The Entertainer by Scott Joplin.

At 7:30 p.m. on November 15, saxophonist and instrumental music education major Shayne Smith (Bellevue, Ohio) will present his senior recital in the Recital Hall. He will be accompanied by pianist Susan Gregg and assisted by fellow sax players Michael Byndas, Derek Rangel, Jessie Barnhouse, Jaylynn Buchmelter, Jason Wolf and Nick Slinger. He will perform classic pieces by Robert Schumann and Jean Baptiste Singelee along with contemporary selections including Rudy Wiedoeft's Saxophobia, Dave Heath's The Celtic Concerto, and Little Gap, Pennsylvania by Charles W. Smith. Shayne studies privately with Dr. Thomas Reed.

On Wednesday, November 18 Thursday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m.,the best of Fall 2015 perform at the Fall Honors Recital in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall. Students who accomplished exceptional musical work during the semester will showcase their vocal and instrumental talents as selected by their private teachers.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Alumnus Mark Stringer Shares Touching Madrigal Memory

As the Department of Music prepares to celebrate the 40th Annual Madrigal Feaste, all former jesters for the event were invited to be our guests for this year's milestone. Alumnus Mark Stringer let us know that he is unable to attend the anniversary celebration, but shared the following story with us which captures the impact of the Madrigal Feaste on him personally as well as the true essence of the Holiday season.

I think back to the AU Madrigal Feasts fondly, as I had the privilege to sing in three of them and be the jester at one. I've even preached about the Madrigal Feaste for the UU congregation I serve. Here's the story I shared a few years back. Thought some of you might enjoy:

As a student at Ashland University, I had the privilege to sing every December as a member of a madrigal troupe. We worked all fall, learning traditional carols and English music from the 16th century and doing our best to grow beards…the men, that is…to prepare for a week of performances at the annual Madrigal feast.

Each night, over the course of several days, my fellow madrigals and I would dress in mock-ups of Renaissance garb, complete with goofy hats, tights, and ill-fitting footwear, and attempt to entertain about 200 people who paid to consume Cornish game hens, applaud at the arrival of some kind of flaming dessert soaked in rum, and hear music of the season.

One of the highlights of the night for me was the final set of more traditional Christmas music, culminating with a performance of “Silent Night.” The troupe would sing the first verse in German, then the audience with lit candles in hand, would join in signing the remainder in English. It was always a touching moment.

Over the four years I participated in the feasts, I grew quite fond of the tradition. My family enjoyed it, as well, making the hour-long drive from their home in Akron one night each December to participate. One year, though, my mother had been suffering one of her frequent and crippling bouts with depression and it was unlikely that she would be able to attend.