LAWRENCE - The KU School of Music proudly presents Simple Gifts, a community and university music celebration, at the Lied Center of Kansas on Saturday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Simple Gifts features the talents of David Neely conducting the Kansas Sinfonietta, a chamber orchestra comprised of faculty, students, alumni, and friends of the School of Music; Vanessa Thomas, soprano; the Lawrence Children’s Choir; the Lawrence Ballet Theatre and Chaeyoung Park, piano. Susan Tate, executive director of the Lawrence Arts Center, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the evening.
The program will feature the Kansas Sinfonietta performing several popular pieces by composer Aaron Copland, including Variations on a Shaker Melody from Appalachian Spring, Saturday Night Waltz, Corral Nocturne and Hoedown. Other orchestral pieces include Overture to L’italiana in Algeri by Gioachino Rossini and Pizzicato Polka by Johann Strauss Jr. The Lawrence Children’s Choir will sing O Filii et Filiae by Ivo Antognini, Bandyrowe by Susan Brumfield and Lunar Lullaby by Jacob Narverud. With the Kansas Sinfonietta, the Lawrence Children’s Choir will perform George Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm.
Thomas, who is known for her four-octave range and musical versatility, will perform Un bel di from Madama Butterfly and Days of Wine and Roses by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer. Chaeyoung Park, an 18-year-old pianist who recently took second place in the 2016 Gina Bachauer Young Artists Competition in Salt Lake City, will play Piano concerto No. 2 by Camille Saint-Saëns.
The performance also includes dancing from the Lawrence Ballet Theatre and a slideshow of photographs from local artists that was curated by the Lawrence Arts Center. The concert will conclude with a rendition of Bill Withers’ Lean on Me by Thomas and the Lawrence Children’s Choir.
The concert is one of three Simple Gifts events held next week. On Wednesday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lied Center, a pre-performance panel discussion will examine Camille Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor within the context of France in the mid to late 1880’s. Panelists include Simple Gifts’ talents Neely and Park along with Susan Earle, curator of European and American art at the KU Spencer Museum of Art; and Jack Winerock, KU professor of piano.
Following Saturday evening’s concert, Park and Winerock will give a recital together on Sunday, July 24 at 3 p.m. in Swarthout Recital Hall. Park, who is originally from South Korea, moved to Lawrence in 2007 and has studied with Winerock for eight years. Park has earned top prizes in numerous international piano competitions and attends the Juilliard School.
Simple Gifts is a cooperative partnership of the KU School of Music, the Lawrence Children’s Choir, the Lied Center of Kansas, the Lawrence Arts Center and the KU Spencer Museum of Art.
Admission to all three Simple Gifts events is free, but tickets are required for the July 23 concert at the Lied Center. Tickets can be picked up at the Lied Center Ticket Office during summer office hours: Monday through Friday from noon – 5:30 p.m. Call 785-864-2787 for more information.
For more information on the Simple Gifts events, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436 or visit www.music.ku.edu