American composers to be showcased in Choral Union concert

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | 12:22 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — This Friday, the MU Choral Union will perform a selection of pieces from American composers and poets in "Made in the USA!” as a part of the University of Missouri Concert Series.

“It’s not very often that we perform all American composers and poets,” Paul Crabb, director of MU Choral Activities, said. “I thought it was an appropriate time to perform a showcase of American music.”

If you go

What: "Made in the USA!," an MU Choral Union concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday,

Where: Jesse Auditorium, MU

Admission: $15, half price for MU student

For information:

The celebration of American music is the choir’s sole concert of the semester. Works from composers such as Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland as well as texts from poets such as Robert Frost and Walt Whitman will be showcased. Tenor Tristan Frampton said Howard Hanson’s “Song of Democracy,” which is performed with a Walt Whitman text, is his favorite.

“The composers included are definitely known as some of the greatest American composers of the 20th century,” Frampton, a second year member of the choir, said.

Frampton said the music performed in the concert represents a style that is clearly American — that is, a more open, exposed sound with elements of jazz.

“Jazz is a genre that we can say is distinctly American,” Frampton said. “It was developed and came to be in our country.”

Started in 1977, the MU Choral Union is 250 members strong, a convergence of MU students, faculty and staff as well as community members. “It’s an opportunity for the student population to interact with the community,” Crabb said. “It’s a nice bridge between campus and the community.”

On Friday, the Choral Union will team up with the MU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, directed by Thomas O’Neal.

For the past 13 weeks, the Choral Union has rehearsed for “Made in the USA!” Crabb said this is the first time he has directed the Choral Union in an all-American program.

“We’re not only looking at things that are nationalistic to our culture, but to pieces that are newer,” Frampton said. “It’s important to expose the public to music that is our heritage."

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