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Orchestra and voices to combine for ‘In Celebration of Song’

Dr. Michael Moore leads the BJU Symphony Orchestra and vocal soloists in reheasrsal for their concert. Photo: Ethan Rogers

The BJU Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the BJU voice department, will present a concert titled “In Celebration of Song,” featuring several opera scenes as well as several Broadway tunes, tonight at 7 in Rodeheaver Auditorium.

Because BJU is not producing an opera this year, Dr. Michael Moore, director of the BJU Symphony Orchestra, was inspired to create an alternative experience for the student body.

“It’s a new and exciting adventure for the orchestra and the voice department,” Moore said.

In choosing the body of the program, Moore collaborated with the voice department to find music that would be a good fit for student voices to sing as well as interesting for the student body to hear. With musical selections that range from light-hearted operas to a musical that explores racial tension at the turn of the 20th century, the program promises to be culturally diverse.

“Song does so many things for us as humans,” Moore said. “It transcends cultural barriers and speaks to universal themes in a way that even language can’t. We’re trying to celebrate that.”

Mr. Charles Koelsch will be the announcer for the concert. Koelsch has been affiliated with BJU for many years through his past service as music director of radio station WMUU, a station BJU sold to Salem Communications in 2012. As the announcer, Koelsch will help the audience engage by explaining the setting of each opera scene and describing the background of each musical selection.

Moore said he grew up listening to Koelsch announce classical music on WMUU and is excited about having him involved in the concert. “I’m thrilled to be able to collaborate with one of my childhood heroes,” Moore said.

The concert will feature 14 vocal soloists consisting of both students and faculty. One of these vocalists will be Zach Calhoun, a graduate voice performance major. Calhoun said he is excited for his first experience performing with the BJU Symphony Orchestra. “The chance to sing with a full [orchestra] is a great pleasure,” Calhoun said. “There is something about an orchestra that is much more fulfilling than piano alone, especially when you’re performing a scene from an opera.”

The soloists will perform on the edge of the stage, in front of the orchestra, which will help them connect with those in the audience. “It will be a very immediate and engaging experience for the audience,” Moore said.

Moore said he has greatly enjoyed organizing and preparing for the concert, despite the great amount of work it has required from all involved. “I’m confident it is going to be a fun night for all,” Moore said.

The concert is free of charge to the University family and community guests.

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Orchestra and voices to combine for ‘In Celebration of Song’