CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri, Feb. 23, 2015 — Music by John Williams from the iconic “Star Wars” films will be featured in the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra’s March 10 concert at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.
The performance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall.
The theme of the concert is “Symphonic Stars” and will include “Mars” and “Jupiter” from the thrilling orchestral work, “Planets,” by Gustav Holst. The inspiring talents of the winners of the Concerto and Aria and Rising Star competitions also will be presented at this concert.
The concert will open with the exuberant “Introduction to Act III of Lohengrin” by the great German composer, Richard Wagner. The program will continue with two beautifully expressive songs for soprano and orchestra, presented by this year’s winners of Southeast’s Concerto and Aria Competition, Marie Meunier of Jacksonville, Illinois, and Brittany Graham of Cape Girardeau. Meunier will sing a dramatic aria from Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, “La Sonnambula” (“The Sleepwalker”). A student of Southeast Professor of Music Chris Goeke, Meunier is a senior vocal performance major at Southeast. Graham will then sing a haunting, folk inspired song from “Susannah” by American composer Carlisle Floyd. Graham is also a senior vocal performance major at Southeast, studying with Lori Shaffer. The first half of the concert will conclude with the brilliant first movement of French composer Camille Saint-Saens’ “Violin Concerto No. 3.” Featured in this performance will be Marie Sanderson of Bloomington, Indiana, who is this year’s winner of the pre-collegiate Rising Star Competition.
The second half of the concert will present large-scale symphonic works from Great Britain and the United States. The orchestra will perform two thrilling, exuberant movements from Holst’s “The Planets” — “Mars” and “Jupiter.” Instantly recognizable, both movements are among the most popular and beloved works for large orchestra. The concert will conclude with a symphonic suite drawn from music for “Star Wars,” including music from Episode I (“The Phantom Menace”) through Episode VI (“The Return of the Jedi”). The “Star Wars Main Title Theme,” found in Episodes I through VI, also will be performed.
The Southeast Missouri State University Concerto and Aria Competition, now in its 23rd year, is open to all music majors and minors who are currently enrolled at Southeast. Southeast students Meunier and Graham, both sopranos, were named winners of the competition, and they will be performing as soloists with the Symphony during the program. The annual Rising Star Competition, now in its fifth year, is open to all pre-college string players who wish to compete for the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra. This year’s winner, Sanderson, is a violinist currently studying with Mimi Zweig, violin professor and director of the Pre-collegiate String Academy at Indiana University.
“This concert should be tremendously exciting and enjoyable for all audience members,” said Sara Edgerton, artistic director and conductor of the Southeast Missouri Symphony. “The students in the Symphony have often mentioned their interest in performing the music from ‘Star Wars,’ and this concert seemed to be the perfect opportunity to perform this fantastic music. And, there is a definite link between Holst’s composition, the ‘Planets,’ composed in the early 20th century, and Williams’ ‘Star Wars’ music, composed near the end of the 20th century. I think you will see the influences and connections between these two great symphonic compositions. And as always, our young, talented competition winners will bring added enthusiasm and sparkle to the concert.”
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265 or online at RiverCampusEvents.com.