UCO Ensemble concert coming this weekend

The Composer’s Ensemble Concert Series at the University of Central Oklahoma will be presenting a concert on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Shannon Miller Park in Edmond. “Bach for Christmas” is an ensemble concert that combines actors and musicians. 

The story is about two of Johann Sebastian Bach’s great-great-great grandsons. They not only try to perfect Bach’s music but also try to make their lives perfect, as well. The actors for this production include Erica Tschida, Rick Lockett and Michael Relland. The musicians include Chazlen Rook, Harper Golden and Timothy Privrat.

Relland, who is also directing and composing the production, is one of three 2020-2021 scholarship award recipients for the Academic Excellence Award in Honor of Ted Honea. For this year, Rook is also a recipient of the Robert Glenn Rapp Upper Level Music Award.

This production will feature live music from Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.”

“It is long, complex, beautiful and, therefore, a difficult piece for pianists to prepare,” Relland said. “We’re using just five of the 30 movements of the piece, which are all based on the theme that plays at the beginning and end of the play.”

Relland said this production gives his students a chance to explore Bach and his complex music. 

“The actors and musicians each get to interpret the text the way they see fit and which makes them feel like they are saying something important,” Relland said. “When you think about it, we all have to agree on the importance of this. 

“All of Bach’s music is spectacular. Some of it needs repeated listening to be able to sense all of it, as the way he wrote can be rather intellectual, but of course most is also very emotional. Even the simplest melodies are enjoyed all over the world by millions of people.”

Ines Burnham, who helps promote and manage the events, explained how the UCO Composer’s Ensemble project can be presented for free. 

“We have a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment of the Arts which helps support the UCO Composer’s Ensemble project,” Burnham, who directs at the Oklahoma Center for Arts Education, said. “It allows us to provide funding for five concerts this academic year focusing on original compositions created by UCO students and performed for live audiences for free.” ”

Burnham, who is also an academic advisor for UCO’s College of Fine Arts and Design Education, also praises Relland for what he has done for the production.

“He wrote the short play and arranged the musicians and actors for this project,” Burnham said. “He is a great advocate for the arts and we are excited to see this project come to life.”

Shannon Miller Park is located at SouthJackson Street and East First Street in Edmond. There is parking in front of the park on First Street but it is limited. Guests can also park at the Edmond Public Library, which is next to the park. UCO students, faculty and staff can park on campus and walk to the park. The park is west of UCO and is accessible from all sides.

Guests will see a small stage in the park where the production will be performed. Admission is free, but guests will have to bring their own chairs as it is lawn seating for this performance. Social distancing and masks will be required. For more information, you can follow this link.

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