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XU music students perform ensembles

Arts and Entertainment Editor

Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 19:01

XU ensembles

Jake Heath

The Xavier University Symphonic Winds and the Xavier

University Concert and Alumni Choirs both ended the 2011 year with dramatic performances of some of the best known literature in their respective repertoires. The Symphonic Winds ensemble presented Johan de Meij's

Symphony No. 1 "The Lord of the Rings." Conducted by Dr. Matthew Westgate, the assistant professor of instrumental activities. The ensemble performed in the Gallagher Student Center Theater accompanied by a movie presentation containing video clips, stills and original artwork representing scenes from the story. Considered to be the work that launched de Meij's career, his Symphony No. 1 premiered in 1988 under the baton of Norbert Nozy and was awarded the Studier Composition Award in 1989.

Arranged in five separate movements, each movement represents either a character, such as Gandalf, or a scene from J.R.R. Tolkien's novels. "Our final Symphonic Winds

concert of the fall semester was a big achievement for our ensemble. It ended up being a fantastic performance

of a major 45-minute work coordinated to a spellbinding

[slideshow] created by one of our musicians. I could not be

more proud of these students. They continue to impress me every semester," Westgate said. The third movement, entitled Gollum, featured Eugene Marquis on soprano saxophone. A native of Cincinnati, Marquis is a professional woodwind doubler playing 17 instruments and has played with multiple professional organizations in the area including the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra. An orchestral version of the symphony has also been arranged and subsequently professionally

recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra.

In addition, Xavier Concert and Alumni Choirs accompanied by a professional orchestra presented

Part 1 of Handle's Messiah for their end-of-semester performance. Dr. Tom Merrill, associate professor and music department chair, led the group in a performance

on Dec. 11 at the Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church.

Messiah is regarded as one of the greatest works for chorus and orchestra of all time. Composed in 1741, Messiah is an oratorio (a large work containing orchestra, chorus and soloists) written in English with text from

the King James Bible and from Pslams in the Book of Common Prayer. Composed in three parts, Messiah chronicles the life and death of Jesus Christ in parts

one and two, while part three begins with the promise of redemption and ends with the final victory over sin and death. Though the famous Halleluiah Chorus portion

of the piece is actually included in part two of the

work and alludes to the resurrection of Christ,

Merrill chose to include it in the performances, as it is often performed during the Christmas season. Please see subsequent Newswire issues for information regarding

upcoming concerts of all Xavier performing ensembles.

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