I hope everyone had a terrific holiday season and is looking forward to a great new year. In the local music community, we had several great events to close out the year. I was, unfortunately, unable to attend all of the local musical offerings this season, but those that I was able to attend I enjoyed thoroughly.
In particular, it was the Red River Chorale’s concert Expressions of Hope and Joy and the ASAPH Project’s Jazzy Christmas that time permitted me to attend. Although the groups’ musical styles differed greatly, in both cases, it was the innovative approaches that the groups took to the familiar holiday tunes that really excited me. In regards to the Red River Chorale concert, most of the songs had been arranged by contemporary British composer John Rutter (1945- ). Ordinarily, I am not a fan of Rutter’s music – despite any nostalgia connected to the fact that a children’s choir I once belonged to shared the Carnegie Hall stage with him one concert. Yet, his insight in these arrangements added much to songs that I have heard since childhood, and Red River Chorale handled these novelties superbly.
The jazz band known as the ASAPH Project also put-on an excellent concert in Jazzy Christmas. The musicians of this group – most of them family members to founder Reverend Henry Williams, Jr. – really spiced things up that night. I particularly enjoyed the playing of Reverend Williams on his saxophone as well as that of their keyboardist David M. Williams, but all were musicians of great talent. If you missed these concerts, both groups have more on the way. Both the Red River Chorale and ASAPH Project will have events with a Valentine’s Day theme this February. More details to come soon!
In the meantime, this January, the Rapides Symphony Orchestra will be giving a concert called Stained Glass and Strings. Set among the stained glass of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral on Sunday, January 26 at 2:30 PM, this concert features the orchestra playing music by a few of my favorite composers – Johann Sebastian Bach, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Arvo Pärt. But, more on this concert in my next blog.
Stay tuned: MusicCentral is here to help local music lovers like you learn about all that is going on in the local music community!
About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a recent graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College – Louisiana’s designated honors college located on the campus of Northwestern State University. There, he studied music history, completing an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” Now living in Alexandria, he is one of the founding members of TicketCentral and will also be writing this season’s program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra.