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From darkness to light

Sunday FLC Showcase introduces music faculty

Despite COVID-19, colds and family emergencies, the show will go on.

The Fort Lewis College Music Faculty Showcase has been rescheduled and reshaped and will finally take place at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Originally featuring 16 musicians, the roster now stands at 13 and may change again by Sunday. But as of today, it’s looking good.

Department Chairwoman Charissa Chiaravalloti will open the program with Handel’s ode to good tidings from “The Messiah.” Tenor Wes Dunnagan will follow with Schubert’s “The Shepherd on the Rock,” presented with clarinetist Justin Hubbard.

Then, making a Durango debut, as we like to call it, three new faculty members will take the stage: violinist Richard Silvers, pianist Holly Quist and baritone Michael McKelvey.

Last weekend, Silvers appeared on the Community Concert Hall at FLC stage with the San Juan Symphony, and has already scheduled an April 2022 faculty recital with Quist. Silvers comes to FLC with a DMA in violin performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison plus a master’s degree from Indiana University and a bachelor’s from the Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, where he graduated summa cum laude. His performance and teaching career will be outlined in a later column.

Quist, recently named an FLC adjunct, also arrives from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is a DMA candidate. Together, they will perform Ernest Bloch’s “Baal Shem” (Three Pictures of Chassidic Life).

Originally scheduled for late September, the FLC recital fell after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. For Silvers, that was a “fortunate coincidence,” he said.

“I chose this work because it is a great introduction to who I am, a son of a second-generation Jewish father and a Swiss mothe,” he said. “This piece is a Jewish chant, specifically Chassidic Psalmody, and is written by a Swiss composer. It has always had special meaning for me, as I take pride in my Eastern European Jewish roots as well as my Western European Swiss ones.”

If you go

WHAT: Faculty Collage Recital, Fort Lewis College Music Department.

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Roshong Recital Hall, Jones Hall, FLC, 1000 Rim Drive.

TICKETS: $15, at the door. FLC students free. Masks required.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.fortlewis.edu/music or call 247-7087.

Later in the program, Silvers and percussion professor John O’Neal will perform a contemporary work for violin and marimba, “Legal Highs,” by David P. Jones.

“I thought it was a great idea given its eclectic combination,” Silvers said. “I personally have never played a piece for marimba and violin and thought it would be a great introduction to this repertory.”

The third new faculty member is McKelvey. He has come to FLC from Tulane University in New Orleans to establish and shape the new FLC Performing Arts Department. His career spans academic and commercial theater as a producer, director, sound designer, composer and performer.

For the FLC Showcase, McKelvey originally scheduled a three-part song arc that began with “Lonely Room,” a dark masterpiece of musical vengeance sung by Jud Fry in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 musical, “Oklahoma.” The song plots a rival’s downfall and was so dark it was cut from the 1955 film version.

McKelvey will follow with “What Would I Do?” from “Falsettos” by William Finn, a decidedly brighter song about human connection.

Originally, McKelvey planned to close with a vaudevillian romp from Shaina Taub’s “Old Hats.” Why that was trimmed from the program is a mystery. McKelvey’s original combination would have given us a mini musical. Memo to McKelvey: Bring back Taub’s unforgettable Brechtian buoyancy next year.

Cellist Katherine Jetter will present “Journeys One and Two” from Gwyneth Walker’s “Songs without Words.” Trumpet player Joseph Nibley and pianist Kathy Olinger will perform Peter Meechan’s “Song of Hope.”

Finally, what would a faculty showcase be without the wry and witty presence of saxophonist Jeff Solon. He will be joined by jazz pianist Gary Walker, double bassist Ben De Belina and percussionist O’Neal to wrap up with Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.”

Tickets are $15, at the door. Proceeds go to music scholarships.

Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theatre Critics Association.