A jazzy Christmas and more

A jazzy Christmas and more

Jazz and Christmas music will be center stage this weekend in Southern Oregon University's series of festive concerts that cap its fall quarter.

Performances kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, when saxophonist Tony Hayes and the SOU Jazz Collective, directed by Jeff Richmond, present a mix of jazz, funk, rock, hip-hop and R&B.

The program's selections tentatively include Jeff Richmond's "Balancing Act," Ray Henderson's "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Impressions" (arranged by Tom Kubis) and Eric Richards' "Gosto Importa!"

Richmond is a trumpet professor and director of jazz studies at SOU. He and students of the Jazz Collective have arranged Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow" and Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" for the concert.

Hayes studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. While on the East Coast, he studied sax with Jerry Bergonzi and George Garzone. He toured France and Germany in 1984 with a jazz group called Blue Lips. He's worked as a singer, actor and sax player in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Miami.

SOU's Brass Ensemble will present "Holiday Brass" at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in the Music Recital Hall. The ensemble will feature four brass consorts: the Student Brass Quintet, the Horn Quintet, the Brass Trio and a newly formed, 15-piece brass ensemble.

Music selections by the consorts will include Giovanni Gabrieli's "Canzon Septimi Toni No. 1," Ian McDougall's "Bells" and Johann Sebastian Bach's "Little Fugue in G Minor." The large brass ensemble will perform "Sussex Mummers Christmas Carol," "I Wonder as I Wander," "Carol of the Bells" and Gordon Emerson's "An Album of Christmas." Cynthia Hutton will conduct.

The concert series wraps up at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, with SOU's Chamber and Concert choirs' "A Ceremony of Carols." The choirs will perform festive music from the Renaissance through the modern day, including excerpts from George Frideric Handel's "Messiah."

Featured pieces will be James MacMillan's "And Lo the Angel of the Lord" for triple choir; "Lux Aurumque" and "Ave Maria" by Renaissance composers Eric Whitacre and Josquin des Prez, respectively; Dutch carols by Jetse Bremer of the Netherlands Chamber Choir; and French and English carols by modern composer John Rutter.

The women of the Concert Choir will perform "A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28" by Benjamin Britten, written in 1942 and scored for a three-part treble chorus, solo voices and harp. The texts are in Middle English and taken from Gerald Bullett's "The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems." Harpist Laura Zaerr will provide accompaniment.

The men of the choir will feature "In Dulci Jubilo," a carol dating from the Middle Ages, with tenor soloist Conor Quinn and new compositions by contemporary composers.

Admission to the SOU concerts is $5 each, free for students. Advance tickets are available at the Performing Arts box office in the Theatre Arts Building off South Mountain Avenue, at www.sou.edu/performing arts, by calling 541-552-6348 or at the door.

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