The lively sounds of jazz and percussion

The Southern Oregon University Department of Music is presenting a series of concerts over the next two weeks in the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

The first two will feature the Jefferson State Choral Coalition and the Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble.

The Jefferson State Choral Coalition will take the stage at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 30. Kirby Shaw directs the 45-person ensemble made up of university and community members.

The concert will start with an a cappella arrangement of a song about gratitude in tough times, "Simple Gifts." Next will be "This Is My Song," by Roger Emerson, the new director of the College of the Siskiyous Vocal Jazz Ensemble. This will be followed by "Swing Time!" a 1940's-style Shaw original with lots of room for scatting.

Next will be "Rock you with Rockin' Pneumonia and The Boogie Woogie Flu" which sounds like the original but with a few original blues solos written by choir members. Then it's "Java Jive," a tight-harmony, a cappella piece, a la Manhattan Transfer. And from the Cole Porter song book, a Latino-style tune, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" with a swing middle section.

The women in the ensemble will step out to perform an a cappella piece, "Candle On The Water," followed by the men singing "Man of La Mancha."

The men and women will come together again to sing an a cappella folk-song arrangement of "Go 'Way From My Window." Next up is a medley called "'70s Dance Party" featuring timeless gems. The group will end the concert on a note of inspiration with a world premiere performance of Shaw's latest composition, "With One Voice."

Shaw is an SOU professor in the music department. He is a choral composer and arranger of jazz, pop and gospel music, with well over 1,000 scores to his credit. He has just returned from leading a choir of almost 200 singers performing his music in New York's Carnegie Hall.

The Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Terry Longshore, will present "Quiet!" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 2.

The ensemble performs contemporary percussion. Composer William Kraft (former Los Angeles Philharmonic composer-in-residence, associate conductor, and principal timpanist) said of the ensemble, "I have never — repeat, never — been so pleased with performances of my works."

The program will feature David Macbride's "Quiet" for seven drummers, a theatrical work into which the performers incorporate movement, circling their drums and playing each other's drums. At the end of the piece, all seven drummers converge on the large bass drum at the center of the stage and play a "game" in which they try to knock each other out of the circle. The winner then conducts the ensemble for the final statement of the piece.

Other works on the program include "More Like Chutney" for hand drum quartet by Randy Gloss; "Septet," by Daniel Levitan; "When Scrub Was a Baby, He Was Very Young," a timpani duet by Tom van Oostrom; and Lou Harrison's percussion quartet, "The Song of Queztecoatl."

The concert will close with "Medley of Zapateados," a medley of folk songs from the region of Zapateados, Mexico, arranged for marimba ensemble by Laurence Kaptain.

Tickets for each performance are $5, and free for students. Tickets and season passes are available at the music box office one hour before the performance or by calling 552-6101.

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