Friday, November 30, 2012


The Ashland University Department of Music begins to wrap up the 2012 fall semester with three remaining performances including the Fall Honors Recital, Winter Festival Band Concert and the Festival of Lights which are all free and open to the public.

Fall Honors Recital: Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m., Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall
The Fall Honors Recital features performances from the department’s student instrumental and vocal musicians who accomplished exceptional work in the fall semester. 

Winter Festival Band Concert: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Hugo Young Theatre

Under the direction of Leonard Salvo, Ashland University Director of Bands, the Ashland Area Community Concert Band begins the concert with "Marche Lorraine" by French composer Louis Ganne followed by W. Francis McBeth's "Chant and Jubilo" which is a work in two contrasting movements including the melodic Chant and the explosive Jubilo featuring the lower brass and percussion sections.  Based on the well-known Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts",  the third piece of the program, "Chorale and Shaker Dance II" by American composer John Zdechlik, begins with the woodwinds introducing the theme followed by solos for flute, clarinet, saxophone and trumpet then ending with the brass sections playing the chorale while woodwinds perform the fiery obbligato.

AACCB then presents a special event featuring local storyteller Dave Kowalka reciting the story of "The Polar Express" as the ensemble performs the Concert Suite from the animated feature movie.  Written by Silvestri and Ballard and arranged by Jerry Brubaker, the featured songs include "Believe," "The Polar Express," "When Christmas Comes to Town" and "Spirit of the Season."  The Community Band concludes their portion of the concert with Warren Barker's "It's Christmas," a medley of holiday favorites including "Jingle Bells," O Come All Ye Faithful," "Joy to the World," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "Deck the Halls," "Silent Night" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

The 60-piece Ashland University Wind Ensemble, also under the direction of Salvo, performs “A Festival Prelude” by Alfred Reed which is a single movement piece with four distinct sections. The opening “Carol” sets a restrained and gentle mood then the chant from the trombones and trumpets climaxes into the “Antiphonal Chant” carried by the woodwinds. The rhythm picks up for the “Village Song,” which is presented in two bar phrases that rise and fall with the liturgy. The church bells herald the final “Cathedral Chorus” that builds in a steady crescendo, pausing for a soft and sonorous chorale, before continuing with the introduction of additional instruments until all of the colors and intensity of the celebration fill the hall.

The concert concludes with selections from the Ashland University Jazz Orchestra directed by visiting professor Ashley L. Summers.  Members of the Jazz Orchestra include saxophonists Trent Kimball, Amanda Hall, Jessica Barnhouse,Shayne Smith and Stephen Matis; trombonists William McDonald, Dylan Pyanowski, Benjamin Marbut and Chris Prichard; along with Hannah Phillips, Eileen Navratil and Katie Metz on trumpet.  The rhythm section consists of Kyle Gould, piano; Benjamin Schnell, bass; and Aaron Hill, drums.

Festival of Lights: Sunday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 p.m., Jack and Deb Miller Chapel
This annual candlelight service symbolizes Christ coming into the world. The story is communicated in verse and song with Scripture readings, traditional carols and seasonal choral music by the Ashland University Choir and Ashland Area Chorus directed by Dr. Ron Blackley, and the Ashland Area Chorus directed by Dr. Marla Butke. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
Canned food for needy families of Ashland County will be collected at the event and donated to Associated Charities of Ashland.

Monday, November 19, 2012


The 2012-2013 Ashland University Spectrum Series opens with Cleveland's Baroque orchestra Apollo's Fire performing Sacrum Mysterium: A Celtic Christmas on Thursday, December 6, 7:30 p.m. at the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel.  Produced by the College of Arts and Sciences, Ashland University’s premiere Spectrum Series presents internationally recognized figures in the arts to enhance cultural experiences for the University community and surrounding areas.  The Spectrum Series is made possible with support from The Ohio Arts Council with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans, and the Ashland University Activities Budget and Chartering Committee.

Sacrum Mysterium is Apollo's Fire's groundbreaking new program that took Northeast Ohio by storm in six sold-out performances last year. Beginning with a Gaelic prayer, candlelight and a sacred procession, Jeannette Sorrell’s celebration of Celtic artistic traditions interweaves renaissance choral music with ancient pagan carols, folk dances and joyous fiddle tunes. A colorful band of bagpipes, flutes, strings and Celtic harp joins the exquisite Apollo’s Singers and the radiant Canadian soprano Meredith Hall.

In addition to Apollo's Fire's evening performance, they will present a Celtic music workshop with Irish flutist Kathie Stewart and hammered dulcimer player Tina Bergmann on Thursday, November 29, 12:15 p.m. to 1:05 p.m., in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall.  Stewart and Bergmann will discuss the origins of Celtic music and its various instruments while demonstrating the music genre on their own instruments.

Tickets for the concert are $15 for adults; $12 for senior citizens, students, Ashland University faculty and staff; $10 for groups of 10 or more; and $2 for Ashland University students with identification.

Discounted season passes for the Spectrum Series are also available for purchase which include one admission to each of the three series performances of Apollo's Fire, Five by Design's Club Swing, and Eleone Dance Theatre's Ohio premiere of Dianne McIntyre's Up the Road a-Piece.  Adult season passes are $36 each; and senior citizens, students, Ashland University faculty and staff season passes are $28 each. 

All tickets can be purchased through the Ashland University Box Office at 419.289.5125, noon to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or online (additional fees apply) at

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Department of Music faculty members Thomas Reed and Scott Garlock performed in the orchestra at PlayhouseSquare in Cleveland this past October for the launch of the Anything Goes National Tour.  With Jay Alger as conductor and starring Rachel York as Reno Sweeney, the Cleveland performances included Reed on flute, clarinet, soprano and alto saxophones while Garlock played trombone.

Reed and Garlock pose with Rachel York.
Reed and Garlock are pictured here with lead actress Rachel York  who is best known for her critically acclaimed Broadway performances in City of Angels, Les Misérables, Victor/Victoria (Drama Desk Award), The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sly Fox, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. She also turned heads on television with her courageous portrayal of Lucille Ball in the CBS movie, “Lucy.”

Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, this revival of Anything Goes ran for 521 performances on Broadway and nabbed three Tonys, including best-actress, best choreography and the coveted award for best revival of a musical for the Roundabout Theatre Company.

Following its opening in Cleveland, Anything Goes will cruise into more than 25 other cities during the 2012-2013 season.

Friday, November 9, 2012


The Department of Music at Ashland University is hosting its annual Invitational High School Choral Festival on Saturday, November 17 which culminates in a public concert at 3:45 p.m. in the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel.  The concert is free and open to the public.

Three Ohio high schools will engage in a day of musical and educational activities led by Dr. Rowland Blackley, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, and Dr. Marla Butke, Associate Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Education.  Participating choirs include Loudonville High School directed by Michael Snyder, Coventry High School (Akron) directed by Julie Strebler-Renner, and Lutheran West (Rocky River) directed by Ronald Muth.  For the public concert, musical selections will be performed by each high school choir followed by a combined piece performed by all of the choirs and the Ashland University Choir.