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 WSU Presents Music Gala

The WSU Department of Music presents the Third Annual Music Gala in the Main Stage Theatre of the Performing Arts Center.
​The Winona State University Department of Music presents the Third Annual Music Gala Friday, April 20, through Sunday, April 22, in the Main Stage Theatre of the Performing Arts Center.

This year’s Gala will feature the music of composer and arranger Eric Richards. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Richards is a versatile composer, arranger, conductor, trombonist and educator active in a wide range of musical media and genres. As a composer who defines himself as a “contemporary American eclectic," he has written music for groups ranging from rural high school marching bands to chamber music ensembles to nationally recognized big bands and symphony orchestras. Richards is also a professor of music at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

The jazz concert will kick off the Gala at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 20. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for students and seniors. WSU Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Professor Rich MacDonald, will perform four of Richards’ compositions and arrangements, and feature him as trombone soloist on his arrangement of the jazz classic “Angel Eyes.” Jazz Ensemble II, under the direction of Ray Dretske, will feature one of Richards’ compositions entitled, “Showtime.” 

“Both groups have enjoyed the challenge that these selections have brought,” said MacDonald. “One of the more interesting compositions, ‘Hopeful Spirit Rising,’ is a piece in which Richards incorporates voice into the jazz ensemble texture.”

At 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, the WSU Chamber Orchestra will take the stage, performing “Pavane,” Op. 50 by Gabriel Faure; the overture to Mozart's comic opera "The Impresario"; and the Haydn Cello Concerto in D Major, Op. 101, featuring guest cellist David Carter, professor of cello at St. Olaf College. WSU Assistant Professor Daniel Sheridan will conduct the WSU Chamber Orchestra. This performance is free and open to the public.

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the WSU Concert Choir and Women’s Chorus, both conducted by Professor Harry Mechell, will present a concert entitled “The Music Speaks for Me.” Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students and seniors. The concert will be fast-paced and include multiple musical styles such as Renaissance, contemporary, folk and humorous. Featured will be the very popular set of Eric Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs and folk songs from East Africa, Italy, Canada, Korea and America. The repertoire will range from Renaissance madrigals to contemporary songs written by Samuel Barber, Randall Thompson, Malcolm Dalgish, Randall Stroope and featured artist Richards.

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble rounds out the weekend with a concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22. The ensemble will perform Richards’ arrangement entitled “Two Klezmer Songs,” featuring local clarinet soloist Frank Bures, and other selections by noted composers Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Barnes Chance, Norman Dello Joio and Morton Gould. This performance is free and open to the public.

To purchase tickets, go to www.WSUArtsTickets.com or contact the PAC Box Office at 507-457-5235. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

For more information, email Rich MacDonald at rmacdonald@winona.edu.

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