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‘Made in America’ celebrates Bernstein, Thompson at concert this Sunday by Wind Ensemble and Choirs

 The Jacksonville University Performing Arts Series will present the JU Choirs and Wind Ensemble in concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, in Terry Concert Hall on the JU campus at 2800 University Blvd. North.

The program, titled “Made in America,” features two of America’s most-celebrated New England composers: Randall Thompson and Leonard Bernstein. Both were Harvard educated (Bernstein was a student of Thompson at Harvard), and each helped to develop an American voice in classical music distinct from the inherited European tradition.

Selections of Bernstein include a performance by the University Singers of his “French Choruses from The Lark.” Not often heard, these three short pieces were composed in 1955 as incidental music for a Broadway adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s play of the same title and are scored for eight-part choir, unaccompanied, with soprano and counter-tenor soloists. The Wind Ensemble will perform his very popular “Selections from West Side Story,” drawn from the award-winning musical.

Randall Thompson selections include perhaps his most famous choral work, “Alleluia,” composed in 1940 and commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, Mass., the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. “Alleluia” will be performed by the JU Chorale.

Both choral groups will combine with the wind ensemble to present Thompson’s “The Testament of Freedom,” a setting of four passages from the writings of President Thomas Jefferson in celebration of his birthday on April 13, 1743. Jefferson was a Founding Father who was principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

This all-American concert will also include the JU Chorale performing a set of three American folksongs:  Heleluyan (Native American tune), Shenandoah (arranged by James Erb) and Hark I Hear The Harps Eternal (American Hymn tune).

As Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Timothy Snyder leads a very active JU choral program that includes national and international tours. The JU Wind Ensemble, directed by Artie Clifton, is a 50-member group of wind and percussion players who study and perform music from the traditional and contemporary wind band literature.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors, military, non-JU students and children. JU faculty, staff and students are free with JU ID. Tickets are available at the door.

For more information, contact Artie Clifton, (904) 256-7386, aclifto@ju.edu.