Online Staff Report
The award-winning Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, with Music Director Stephen Squires, partners with members of the Rockford Dance Company, led by Artistic Director Matthew Keefe, to present “Aaron Copland’s America” at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 15, at Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N. Court St., Rockford. Tickets, $25 for adults and $5 for students, are available for purchase by calling (815) 964-9713, in person at 406 N. Main St. at the administrative office’s Park Avenue entrance, or online at www.mendelssohnpac.org.
The program will begin with “The Tender Land” and conclude with “Appalachian Spring,” both composed by iconic American composer Aaron Copland.
“The Tender Land” was originally composed as an opera with music by Aaron Copland and libretto by Erik Johns. The opera tells of a farm family in the Midwest of the United States and was inspired by the writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Agee and the photography of Walker Evans, whose work “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” famously documented the effects of the Great Depression.
Squires has enlisted the support of two soloists who will perform in “The Tender Land.” Soloist Canadian soprano Sara Schabas is a native of Toronto, Ontario, and recently graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Music with an honors bachelor of music in performance. She is continuing her studies at Roosevelt College in Chicago.
“Appalachian Spring” was commissioned as a ballet by Martha Graham, an American modern dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence Picasso had on modern visual arts, Stravinsky had on music or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture. Keefe has choreographed the ballet with 25 dancers from the Rockford Dance Company and will perform the dance, including 7 1/2 minutes missing from the original performance, to the music of the award-winning Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra.
Sunday, March 17, a video, Walker Evans America, will be shown at 2 p.m., at the historic Emerson House, 420 N. Main St. The photographs of Walker Evans, on loan from the Rockford Art Museum, will be on display in the Emerson House through the end of March. Beverly Broyles will give a brief talk about James Agee, the author who worked with Walker Evans.
Posted March 13, 2013