The University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music launches the new “Connection Series” this August, a season of performances that are completely free to audiences with no tickets required. This free series runs throughout the year alongside the ticketed performances, providing more opportunities for students and the Athens community to experience a wide variety of music.
The premiere concert of these free performances is “Vida,” a choral concert featuring the UGA Choral Project. “Vida” will be performed in Ramsey Concert Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center on Aug. 18 at 5:30 p.m. As with all concerts in the Connection Series, it is free with no tickets required.
Conducting “Vida” will be Sarah Frook Gallo, interim associate director of choral activities.
“It is a concert highlighting the and celebrating many moods of life, with music from various style periods and parts of the world. We’ll be joined by a student percussionist for several pieces, but most will be unaccompanied, featuring the versatility of our singers. With music by modern American composers Stephen Paulus and Ysaÿe Barnwell alongside William Byrd, Camille Saint-Saëns and Bob Chilcott’s arrangement of a Sephardic love song, I hope our audience will enjoy the variety as the spice of life,” Gallo said.
One of the percussion-accompanied pieces, “Poemas de Amor,” was written by Paulus for the professional choir Conspirare. It features 16th century Spanish poetry and prominently features the marimba and vibraphone. Barnwell, a founding member of and arranger for the African American a cappella ensemble “Sweet Honey in the Rock,” wrote her piece, “Nearly Insane,” as part of a larger work called “Quilt Songs: Women Weaving the Fabric of Life.” Each movement on the work was composed by a different female composer and based on a different quilt by Minnesotan artist Kay McCarthy.
“What’s unique about the UGA Choral Project among collegiate choral ensembles,” Gallo said, “is that our rehearsal process mirrors a professional experience, so the singers work very hard in a concentrated amount of time to perfect music they’ve been learning before rehearsals begin.”
For this Choral Project concert, the process will be less than one week.
“It’s an exercise in precision, dedication and artistry, and our singers always rise to meet this challenge,” Gallo said.
In addition to more traditional ensembles performing in the Hodgson and Ramsey Concert Halls of the UGA Performing Arts Center, the Connection Series also includes ongoing series of world-renowned guest artists in all venues, as well as new and experimental music in the Dancz Center for New Music. Forty concerts are already announced, with more added throughout the academic year.
For a complete listing of ticketed and free performances, patrons can visit music.uga.edu. The UGA Performing Arts Center is located at 230 River Road in Athens.