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Published: Friday, 1/28/2005

'Old American Songs' join Mozart in symphony

Toledo Symphony's generally austere Sylvania-based "Mozart and More" series gets a decidedly folksy infusion tomorrow night when selections from Aaron Copland's "Old American Songs" are sandwiched in between music of J.S. Bach and Mozart. Featured soloist is Ivan Griffin, who appeared with the orchestra just last weekend in an all-Gershwin pops concert.

"These songs are charming in the sense that they can take you back to a positive time in your life. Even better, they remind you to take the time to have that experience again here in the now," said Griffin, who spoke last week from his home in Flint, Mich.

In 1950, Copland set 10 songs that he drew from folk ballads, hymns, and blackface minstrel repertoire. Griffin, who has been singing these songs since his college days, will offer seven, including" "The Little Horses" and "At the River."

"I found them just delightful as a student, and still do today. Audiences respond well to them because they are familiar and easy to listen to," he said.

In fact, the entire concert should prove easy to digest. Bach's familiar Orchestral Suite No. 2 features principal flutist Joel Tse. For resident conductor Chelsea Tipton II, the concert represents an attempt to keep the listening base broad.

"I like to go for contrast in my programming. Different audience members have different tastes, and this concert addresses that," he said.

Tipton and Griffin have been friends since attending Eastman School of Music together in the 1980s. They have frequently collaborated, though this is the first time on the Copland songs.

Baritone Ivan Griffin joins conductor Chelsea Tipton II and the Toledo Symphony in a program of music by Bach, Copland, and Mozart at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Franciscan Center Theatre & Conference Center. Tickets are $28 and $32. Information: 419-246-8000.

Contact Steven Cornelius at:


or 419-724-6152.

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