Ensemble keeps an American tradition alive

The American Spiritual Ensemble will perform at Bowling Green State University on Saturday.
The American Spiritual Ensemble will perform at Bowling Green State University on Saturday.

They are all active singers with performing, teaching, and presenting careers to keep them busy. But three times each year, members of the American Spiritual Ensemble gather to rehearse and perform for audiences around the United States and abroad, doing their part to keep traditional American Negro music alive for another generation.

One of their stops on this year’s tour is Kobacker Hall in Bowling Green State University’s Moore Musical Arts Center, where the group will appear on its Festival Series. The concert is at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Everett McCorvey, a tenor and holder of the Alumni Professorship in Voice at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, founded the group in 1995. Like the founder, the singers appear in productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and major houses around the world.

Soon, the American Spiritual Ensemble will be featured in a PBS documentary about the history of the art form.

On the Festival Series program will be spirituals, jazz, and Broadway music highlighting African-American lives and issues. Tickets are $24-$38 at 419-372-8171 or www.bgsu.edu.

Also at BGSU:

● Classical music and tweets are not a couple yet, but the university is going to set the stage for one of the region’s first dates during a concert by the University Band at 8 p.m. Friday in Kobacker Hall.

Ken Thompson will conduct a varied program including an electro acoustic piece for wind band and sampled ocean sounds called “Immersion,” plus a symphony for winds, percussion, and pre-recorded soundscape by Alex Shapior.

“We want attendees to ‘follow’ the concert and share it,” said Thompson, who is on the BGSU faculty and leads the Toledo Symphony youth orchestras. During the concert, BGSU will send photos and text about sustainable environments and conservation to further develop the theme.

Audience members will be able to follow the performance at the newly launched @UniversityArts twitter feed, where they can tweet and share in real time.

● The BGSU Chamber Orchestra will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Great Gallery of the Toledo Museum of Art. The concert is free.

● Piano students of Robert Satterlee will present the next concert in the Music at the Manor Series, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Wildwood Preserve Metropark.

● Susan Nelson, bassoonist, will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday on the BGSU Faculty Artist Series in Bryan Recital Hall.

All events listed except the Festival Series are free.

The internationally renowned Graffe String Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Musical Arts Series at Firelands Presbyterian Church, 2626 E. Harbor Rd., Port Clinton. Joining this Czech musical group will be pianist Michiko Otaki. Tickets are $15 at the door.

At the University of Toledo, the Wind Ensemble plus special guests will perform an ambitious program with works comparing and contrasting German Expressionist pieces by Mahler and Schoenberg to French Neoclassicism of Poulenc, Dukas, and others. The concert is at 7 p.m. Monday in Doermann Theater.

Coming at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 will be the UT Symphonic Band in Doermann with a program of music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Percy Grainger, Howard Hanson, and others. Both concerts are free.

Lovers of organ music will have to make a tough decision Sunday between two worthy concerts.

A Family Concert offering classical, popular, and sacred music played on three organs will start at 4 p.m. Sunday in St. Mark‘s Lutheran Church, 315 S. College Dr., Bowling Green. Kevin McGill and friends will perform music by Darius Milhaud, Giacomo Rossini, Scott Joplin, and Bach, among others. Joining McGill will be Joan McConnell, Melissa Flowers, and Pam Davis. The performance is free.

A Hymn Praise Festival featuring guest organist Robert Hobby is set for 3 p.m. Sunday in First Presbyterian Church, 506 Oxford Dr., Bryan. The special event is a tribute to Hyla Sharrock, who is retiring after 31 years as organist at the church. Information: 419-636-1907.

Items for News of Music should be sent to svallongo@theblade.com at least two weeks ahead of the event.