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Arts festival to feature more than 300 UGA students in ‘Carmina Burana’

More than 300 students from the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music will present Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” one of the great 20th century masterworks for orchestra and chorus, as part of the UGA Spotlight on the Arts festival Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. in the Hodgson Concert Hall.

Infamous for its massive instrumentation, “Carmina Burana” is based on a collection of medieval poetry that examines the fickle nature of fate. The UGA performance will feature the Hodgson Singers, University Chorus, Men’s Glee Club, Women’s Glee Club, UGA Symphony Orchestra, two pianists and a celesta player-in one of the largest school of music performances to date.

“Any time you have this many students coming together, it’s a noteworthy event-the forces involved are just enormous,” said Dale Monson, director of the school of music. “Literally half of our student body is involved in this performance.”

“Carmina Burana” was written in 1936 and remains Orff’s best-known work, although he also is well known for his innovations in music pedagogy. Over the course of 25 brief movements arranged in five major sections, the composition elaborates on themes common to the human experience-from the inconsistency of good fortune and wealth-to mankind’s vices-from the brevity of life to the joy of rebirth at each spring thaw.

The most famous excerpt from the composition is “O Fortuna,” which opens and closes the piece and whose powerful opening chords have been featured countless times in popular culture.

“The powerful opening downbeat, followed by the chorus answering is such an awe-inspiring moment,” Monson said “‘O Fortuna’ is so iconic, it literally gives you chills.”

Tickets for the performance are $10 for the public and $5 for students. For tickets, call the UGA Performing Arts Center box office at 706/542-4400 or see www.pac.uga.edu.

The Spotlight on the Arts festival is presented by the UGA Arts Council, of which the Hugh Hodgson School of Music is a participating unit. More than 50 events are scheduled during the nine-day festival in November. For more information, see www.arts.uga.edu.