Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra opens season Oct. 26

October 24, 2012

The Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra (pictured) will perform Dexter Morrill’s “Stained Glass Concerto” at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26, at Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N. Court St. (Photo provided)

Staff Report

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center’s (MPAC) main concert series will open at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26, with the award-winning Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra performing Dexter Morrill’s “Stained Glass Concerto” in addition to the works of other composers. The concert will be at Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N. Court St., Rockford.

The Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra was formed more than 20 years ago by Eleanor Stanlis and is now conducted by Stephen Squires.

Squires is a musician with a career that blends his passions for conducting, teaching and performing. He received his musical training at the Preparatory School of the Eastman School of Music and the Crane School of Music, in his home state of New York. He earned his master’s degree in instrumental conducting/trumpet performance at California State University, Northridge. Further conducting studies were with Helmuth Rilling, Maurice Abravanel, Daniel Lewis, Tsung Yeh and at the Aspen Music Festival.

Squires is the principal conductor and professor of conducting in the Music Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA), Roosevelt University. At CCPA, Squires conducts the symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra and wind ensemble.

In addition to his role with the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, Squires’ professional appointments include associate conductor of the Elgin (Ill.) Symphony Orchestra, principal conductor of the Salt Creek Ballet Company (Chicago), music director of the Illinois Brass Band (Chicago) and music director of the Millar Brass (Evanston, Ill.). Squires conducted the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra with the premiere performance of the “Stained Glass Concerto.”

Stained Glass Concerto” composer Dexter Morrill was born in North Adams, Mass., in 1938. As a young musician, he studied with Peter Fogg in North Adams and later with Professor Irwin Shainman at Williams College, who invited him to perform in the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra.

After entering Colgate University in 1956, Morrill studied composition with William Skelton, and in 1957 performed at the Lenox School of Jazz, where he studied arranging with William Russo and trumpet with Dizzy Gillespie.

Morrill is the author of the reference book The American String Quartet, A Guide to the Recordings. He has composed and recorded music with the Apple Hill Chamber Players, and his Fantasy Quintet was recently recorded by award-winning pianist Lambert Orkis.

In 2008, his 70th birthday year, Morrill enjoyed a series of “birthday concerts” in Chicago, Dallas and the San Francisco Bay Area. He lives with his wife, Barbara, in Hamilton, N.Y. Morrill and his wife will be honored with a dinner at Mendelssohn’s historic Emerson House and will conduct a master class with local brass musicians. He and his wife will attend the concert Friday, Oct. 26.

Scott Metlicka will be the featured soloist in the “Stained Glass Concerto.” In addition to performing with the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra and serving as its personnel manager, he is also a member of the Elgin, Rockford and South Bend symphonies as well as the Wisconsin Philharmonic. Other orchestral engagements include the Pine Mountain Music Festival, Chicago Opera Theater, Grant Park Symphony, Fulcrum Point New Music Ensemble, Joffrey Ballet, Woodstock Mozart Festival, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra and the Madison, Wis., and Green Bay, Wis., symphonies.

Metlicka teaches flute at Elgin Community College and area high schools near his home in Elgin, Ill. In addition to performing and teaching, he has served as president and membership chairman of the Chicago Flute Club.

The program will include Ottorino Respighi — Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 3; Howard Hanson — Serenade, Op.35 for Flute and Orchestra; Charles Griffes — Poem, A.93 for Flute and Orchestra; Dexter Morrill — Stained Glass Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra; and R. Vaughan Williams — 5 Variants on “Dives and Lazarus.”

Since 1884, the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (PAC) has been a source of musical leadership and excellence for the residents of northern Illinois. Mendelssohn PAC, a nonprofit organization at 415 N. Church St., Rockford, serves the community with a range of concerts, youth music programs and performing ensembles for all ages. Mendelssohn is the home of the Rock Valley Children’s Choir, the Mendelssohn Chorale and Kantorei, The Boy Singers of Rockford. Charlotte’s Web is now a division of Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. Visit www.mendelssohnpac.org.

From the Oct. 24-30, 2012, issue

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