Cameron University Civic Symphony to share stage with LaSill Optimist Youth Orchestra Strings and Sinfonia

The Cameron University Civic Symphony will join the LaSill Optimist Youth Orchestra and Sinfonia for a special community concert on Tuesday, October 9, at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The concert will feature all three ensembles and is open to the public at no charge.

Conducted by Dr. Kirsten Underwood, the Cameron University Civic Symphony is made up of Cameron music majors and minors, community members from Lawton and Altus, Lawton Public Schools strings faculty, and qualified high school students.

"The Civic Symphony will start the program with William Hofeldt’s ‘In the Company of Angels,’” says Underwood. “This piece was commissioned by orchestra director Ray Ostwald. When Hofeldt visited Ostwald’s orchestra to hear the finished work, it was an emotional time for the ensemble, as a young violinist in the orchestra had recently passed away. With their lost friend in mind, Ostwald’s orchestra members titled their commissioned work, ‘Midnight Prayer:  In the Company of Angels.’ We are pleased that local harpist Linda Ashton is joining us for this beautiful and poignant number.”

The concert will continue with two pieces by Soon Hee Newbold, “The Odyssey” and “Mythos.” Underwood refers to her as “an inventive and sublime composer.”

“’The Odyssey’ follows Odysseus, the hero and legend of the Trojan War, as he sails back home to Ithaca, stays with the Lotus Eaters and escapes a Cyclops, wins over Circe, loses his crew to Charybdis and is stranded on an island with Calypso,” Underwood explains. “Years later, he returns to his wife and son. The music follows this adventure faithfully.

Of Newbold’s second piece, Underwood relates that “Mythos” is a musical exploration of the themes brought forward by famous myths, legends, fairy tales and stories from all over the world, including the ancient Greeks, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen.

“The music is an adventure in itself,” Underwood says.

The Civic Symphony will conclude its solo portion of the program with “Game of Thrones,” written by Ramin Djawadi.

The LaSill Optimist Youth Orchestra and Sinfonia, string ensembles featuring young musicians, will be the featured ensembles for the next portion of the program. Kathy Liticker conducts the LaSill Optimist Youth Orchestra, and Cheryl McLaughlin-Stansberry conducts Sinfonia.

“The LaSill Optimist Youth Orchestra and Sinfonia continue to provide valuable performance experience to high school and middle school students throughout Southwest Oklahoma,” says Underwood. “They are supported and sponsored by the LaSill Optimist Club, an organization that continues to demonstrate its commitment to community enrichment. It’s a joy to share the stage with these talented young musicians.”

The LaSill Optimist Youth Orchestra will perform “St. Paul’s Suite” by Gustav Holst. The number is named for the St. Paul’s Girls’ School in West London, where Holst served as Director of Music from 1905 - 1934. He wrote it in gratitude for a soundproof studio the school had built for him.

The ensemble will also present Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a dead princess”) arranged by Merle Isaac. A pavane is a slow processional dance that enjoyed great popularity in the courts of Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries.

“This particular work expresses Ravel’s enthusiasm for Spanish customs, which can be seen in some of his other compositions such as ‘Bolero’ and ‘Rapsodie Espagnole,’” says Susan Diekman, artistic director for LOYO and Sinfonia. “First written for piano, Ravel orchestrated it for an extended woodwind quintet, harp and strings.”

Ravel described the piece as "an evocation of a pavane that a little princess (Iinfanta) might, in former times, have danced at the Spanish court.”

Sinfonia has opted for a dance themed program, starting with Soon Hee Newbold’s “Fan Dance.” The ensemble will also present Mozart’s “German Dance” arranged by John Caponegro.

“A gifted young musician recognized for his fun-loving spirit, Mozart used many of the folk tunes and dance styles of the times,” says McLaughlin-Stansberry. “This little ‘German Dance’ has the spirit and lightness of party music of that period.”

Kreichbaum’s “Petite Tango” will follow. McLaughlin-Stansberry says the rhythm and call and response between the different sections will share a joyful occasion with the audience.

The Cameron University Civic Symphony will join the LaSill Optimist Youth Orchestra and Sinfonia for “Fantasy on Amazing Grace” arranged by Robert Kerr and “Pirates!,” a compilation of music from Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance” as arranged by Andrew Dabczynski. The arrangement includes three famous numbers: “I am a Pirate King,”  “Poor Wandering One,” and the ever-popular “Major General.” Although light-hearted in style, the number contains expressive string parts ranging from graceful Mozart-like spiccato to folksy fiddling.   

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October 4, 2018