Free Music Series At University Of Scranton With Old Favorites, New Arrangements
Free music series returns to U of S with old favorites, new arrangements
Seasonal favorites, a world premiere and recitals from musicians near and far round out a full season of free musical events at University of Scranton.
The school’s series of musical performances — all in the Houlihan-McLean Center at Mulberry Street and Jefferson Avenue — begins this weekend when Loren Schoenberg and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Stars present “Tribute to Prez: The Life and Music of Lester Young” on Saturday, Sept. 1. Schoenberg will give a pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m., and the show follows at 7:30.
Cheryl Y. Boga, conductor and director for performance music at U of S, called Schoenberg “one of our absolute favorite guest artists.” She first encountered him at an event in Colorado in the 1990s at which he spoke about music history.
“I was riveted, and at the end of two hours, everyone in the room was begging him not to stop. … He brings (subjects) alive,” Boga said. “He has insights and information that it’s not like you’re sitting and being droned at.”
The “Prez” concert also alludes to another key moment in the semester for the university: the inauguration of Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., as U of S president. At that event, university students will perform the world premiere of a piece the school commissioned for the inauguration, Joshua Rosenblum’s “Don’t Waste Love.” The concert band and concert choir with Dr. Wycliffe A. Gordon and Rosumblum will play it again the following day, Saturday, Sept. 22, during the Family Weekend President’s Concert at 7:30 p.m.
“I took words that are things that are drawn from Father Pilarz’s own comments or speeches or sermons, a couple of key phrases that kind of are ... almost trademark phrases of his. When you hear somebody say them, someone says, ‘Father Pilarz,’” Boga said. “We combined them with poems and writings by other Jesuits.”
In 1998, Rosenblum composed a piece called “The Just Man” for the university’s inauguration of the Rev. Joseph McShane. This time around, looking at several of Pilarz’s phrases, Rosenblum said he heard musical ideas in his head right away. Composing the piece took about seven weeks total, with the phrase “Don’t waste love” inspiring a strong, stately melody that served as the melodic basis of the entire work, Rosenblum said.
“I hope that (audiences) feel like it was a big, celebratory experience and they can sort of appreciate the power of music to celebrate. …. I love the idea that religious differences aren’t really an issue at all and art can bring people together,” he said, noting that he is a Jewish man writing music for a Jesuit school.
“I hope people will be excited, and I hope they will like the idea that a person who isn’t specifically part of the university community still feels that this is a great reason for celebration and worked hard to do something that would make it a momentous occasion.”
Also at the Family Weekend concert, Gordon, whom Boga called “the greatest trombone player that ever lived,” will perform a call-and-response piece with the students that focuses on community.
“Our sense of community here on the university campus is one of the things that I think really makes us unique,” Boga said.
Throughout the semester, several university ensembles will present concerts in addition to recitals by special guests. Student, amateur and professional musicians also can participate in free master classes with featured instrumentalists prior to certain performances. Registration is required for the classes; call 570-941-7624 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In December, audiences can expect the return of a pair of Christmas traditions — the 51st annual Noel Night on Saturday, Dec. 1, and the Empty Stocking Fund Benefit Concert on Sunday, Dec. 9. The university traditionally collects donations of toys, toiletries and cash at the Empty Stocking show, and Boga noted all donations stay local.
People have been known to drive in from New York, New Jersey and even Connecticut to attend the university’s free concerts, Boga said.
“All of these artists, they’re playing all over the country and the world, and sometimes a ticket to hear them can be $100 or more, or sometimes there will be a cover charge. … It’s beautiful and it’s a very chill environment (in the Houlihan-McLean Center),” she said. “We don’t stand on protocol so much here, so we’d encourage everybody to come check it out. It’s free. It’s the university’s gift to the community, and it’s an awful lot of good music.”
Contact the writer:
email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5107;
@cheaneywest on Twitter
University of Scranton Performance Music concert schedule
All events are free and take place in the university’s Houlihan-McLean Center, Mulberry Street and Jefferson Avenue.
Loren Schoenberg and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Stars present “Tribute to Prez: The Life and Music of Lester Young”: Saturday, Sept. 1; pre-concert music talk,
6:30 p.m.; show, 7:30
Guitarist Matt Munisteri: Friday, Sept. 7; guitar master class, 4:30 p.m.,
registration requested; recital, 7:30
Family Weekend President’s Concert: Celebrating the Inauguration of Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., featuring the University of Scranton Concert Band and Concert Choir with Dr. Wycliffe A. Gordon and Joshua Rosumblum: Saturday, Sept. 22,
Organist Alessandro Pittorino:
Friday, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.
Jeremy Ajani Jordan, piano, and Mark Dover, clarinet: Friday, Oct. 19; woodwind master class, 4:30 p.m., registration requested; recital, 7:30
University of Scranton Jazz Ensemble with guest soloist Joseph Boga: Saturday, Oct. 27; brass master class, 3:30 p.m., registration requested;
University of Scranton Symphonic Band: Saturday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.
The Andrew Gonzalez Trio: Friday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.
University of Scranton String Orchestra with guest soloist Andrew Gonzalez: Saturday, Nov. 17; strings master class, 3 p.m., pre-registration requested; concert, 7:30
51st annual Noel Night featuring the University of Scranton Singers with guest harpist Marg Davis and prelude by String Orchestra and Chamber Ensembles: Saturday, Dec. 1;
prelude, 7 p.m.; concert, 8
Empty Stocking Fund Benefit Concert featuring the Scranton Brass Orchestra, the University of Scranton Singers and the Scranton Prep Cavalyrics: Sunday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m., admission is one new, unwrapped toy, new toiletry items
or a cash donation
The Scranton Brass Orchestra:
Sunday, Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m.