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April 17, 2009
Vol. 50 No. 21

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Recital looks back at tunes

Courtesy of The Crusader/Abbi Mull
playing the past-- Jennifer Sacher Wiley, associate professor of music, performs "Confidence" by Felix Mendelssohn in the "100 Years of Faculty Recitals" concert Wednesday in Stretansky Concert Hall.
Listeners were treated to a stroll down memory lane courtesy of the department of music's "100 Years of Faculty Recitals" memory recital held Wednesday, April 14.
The recital, which took place in Stretansky Concert Hall, featured pieces performed by faculty members over the past 100 years.
Department head and associate professor of music Nina Tober said she had been thinking of doing a memory recital before the University Theme of memory.
"It came about because a number of years ago, I went into the archives in the basement of the library and I started looking at the collection of programs that the archives had," Tober said. "I got interested in trying to recreate some of these programs as a tribute to the faculty from the past. I think that this school has a tradition--a well-known tradition-- for teaching music and so I think it's great to look back. I think it's wonderful that the library has these programs, and I wish we had more of them."
Tober said she and David Steinau, associate professor of music, went into the archives last year together and photocopied several of the faculty programs, narrowing the period to 50 years ago to 100 years ago.
Programs were distributed to music faculty members who then selected their pieces. Tober said, "We wanted to represent all of the periods and we wanted to give everyone an equal number of pieces to do, so we put the program together based on what they selected."
Through looking at the programs, Tober said she could see how much the music program at Susquehanna has grown over the years from when it was in its first stages as a music school.
Also interesting to Tober was seeing that some of the past faculty members had performed in New York in places such as Town Hall. "That just shows you the background of some of the people who had taught here. They were not only teaching here at Susquehanna, but they were also performing as professionals in New York," she said.
Joining the faculty were emeritus professors Galen Deibler and Susan Hegberg. Hegberg, who accompanied some of the singers, retired two years ago and was the university organist, Tober said.
Deibler has been active in the department of music since he retired and often accompanies students with recitals, said Tober. For the recital, Deibler was given the opportunity to perform a piece that he had performed 50 years ago when he was a professor at the university.
Tober said many of the pieces performed would sound dated, old or passé to some audience members. "They're not cutting edge anymore. They're pieces that were popular at the time, almost like a popular song. If you go back 65 years or more, sometimes popular song and art were not so different as they are now. There's quite a disparity now between popular music and classical music, and 50 or 100 years ago, that was not the case," she said.
Tober said that by having this tribute recital, the Susque-hanna music department was trying to reach into the past and see what the faculty, "were thinking about, what they thought was valuable music, what the faculty were performing."
Tober said, "It's just a look back to recall the tradition and to recognize that we're part of that tradition and that we're carrying that tradition forward."
The recital gave the faculty members a chance to feel the connection to the past, Tober said, and it made the performance more about a tribute to the past and not about them. "It's about the tradition we're involved in, so it's more fun," she said.


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