Kirkwood Community College will round out the spring Fine and Performing Arts series with two concerts. The Concert Chorale will perform an operetta in Ballantyne Auditorium on Friday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m., under the direction of Kirkwood Vocal Music Director Ray Salucka. The Concert Band will perform under the direction of Kirkwood Music Professor Beth Zamzow Saturday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m.
The Concert Chorale’s 40-plus voices will combine in rare production of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Gondoliers. The operetta is comprised of two acts with 18 characters and a chorus of Gondoliers and country girls, men-at-arms, heralds and pages. The Gondoliers deals largely with the convergence of natural persons and legal entities. Choosing to set the story in Italy gave Gilbert the chance to criticize the nobility, and the institution of the monarchy itself.
Salucka says the opportunity to perform an operetta has been a great learning experience for students. “The project has been a unique collaborative effort on all the musical and artistic aspects of The Gondoliers, and we certainly have enjoyed being a part of what goes on in the ‘behind the scenes’ in the opera production process,” he observed.
On May 5, the Kirkwood Concert Band will present a tone poem, “The Ascension,” based on an episode from Dante’s Divine Comedy, where Beatrice guides Dante the Pilgrim on the final phase of his journey to witness Paradise. Other classic band works, such as “Prelude,” “Siciliano” and “Rondo” by British composer Malcolm Arnold, showcase the band’s versatility and skill. The evening’s program also includes a medley of Beatles songs, as well as a setting of “Somewhere” from Bernstein’s West Side Story. Traditional marches by Sousa and Fillmore is in a Waltz for Woodwind Choir by Tchaikovsky and the contemporary “Fanfare 2000” for brass and percussion. Closing the concert is “Rhythm Danse,” a raucously vibrant piece in 5/4 time.
Kirkwood Concert Band is a 65-member partnership of current college music students, alumni and other interested area volunteer musicians who appreciate the unique repertoire of traditional concert band music. The band members have an age range spanning several decades joined by their enjoyment of performance.
Tickets for the Kirkwood Concert Band and Chorale are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students with a current ID. Kirkwood employees and students are admitted free. Tickets are available at the door.