By Brian Neumann
The Furman Music department has a long and nationally recognized tradition of excellence. Each year, hundreds of Furman students take part in over 20 different musical ensembles, directed by faculty members with long experience and great accomplishments.
In the words of Dr. Hugh Floyd, those ensembles have performed across the country and across Europe as “ambassadors for Furman,” representing the very best of this university’s talent, commitment, and devotion. This year promises to be no exception, as the ensembles’ upcoming concerts will reflect not only the vibrant musical passion of their students but the talent and tradition of the entire department.
The Furman Singers, the university’s top choral group, performs its first concert of the year along with the Furman Men’s and Women’s Chorales on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 8:00 p.m., in the Chapel. Having travelled to Europe this summer to perform, the 75 student ensemble opens their season with a passion and enthusiasm for the music.
The concert will draw upon the Singers’ diverse repertoire—multi-lingual, multi-cultural, secular and spiritual, folk songs and anthems. The concert will culminate in a performance of Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of the Living,” from his opera The Tender Land.
The 75 student Furman Symphony Orchestra will perform two concerts this semester. Their first will be Homecoming weekend, on Friday, Oct. 19, at 8:00 p.m., in McAlister Auditorium. It will feature Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances” from West Side Story as well as Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. Then, on Nov. 30, the orchestra will join the Furman Singers and the Men’s and Women’s Chorales in the Music department’s annual Christmas concert. This year’s featured work will be Vaughan William’s Hodie, a poignant and powerful representation of the Christmas story.
Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble, the university’s indoor concert bands, will perform a joint concert on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, at 8:00 p.m., in McAlister Auditorium. The two talented ensembles combine an extensive classical wind repertoire with the best pieces of the modern day. The Wind Ensemble, selected by audition, consists of the university’s top wind, brass and percussion students, and last year travelled to Illinois to perform at the Chicago International Music Festival. The Symphonic Band, by contrast, is open to all students, and Dr. Les Hicken encourages interested students to contact him about getting involved in the ensemble for the spring semester.
The Furman Jazz Ensemble, 18 students strong, will perform on Friday, Oct. 12, at 8:00 p.m., in the Daniel Recital Hall. The Jazz Ensemble, which plays traditional as well as modern jazz music, will be performing music by the Count Basie Orchestra and Charles Mingus as well as classics from the Great American Songbook.
This is only a sampling of the dozens of concerts and recitals being held this semester, each one abounding in the beauty which so defines the Music department. Perhaps it is fitting that music is, as Herbie Hancock says, “an art form that transcends language.” After all, the music this department produces gives expression to the greatness of our fellow student and our school.