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April 16, 2010
Vol. 51 No. 20

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Groups combine to honor former director and patron

The Susquehanna University Chamber Singers and the Susquehanna University Choir performed in a concert dedicated to former director of choral activities and university patron Cyril Stretansky.

The concert took place Tuesday, April 13 at 8 p.m. in Stretansky Concert Hall.
The chamber singers performed five songs and the choir three songs under the conduction of Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities Rodney Caldwell.

Caldwell assumed the position of director in the fall of 2008, once Stretansky retired after 35 years with the university music department.

To honor Stretansky, University President L. Jay Lemons took the stage before the final song of the evening to offer a few remarks.

"[Tonight is] an opportunity to think of the baton pass that has taken place" from Stretansky to Caldwell, Lemons said.

He said Stretansky once told him that the music programs at this university are "a wonderful window into the excellence of Susquehanna."

In addition to the concert, Stretansky was honored with a portrait painted of him by Jeff Martin '75 media assistant and adjunct faculty of film.

"Cy didn't want or have the time to pose for the portrait," Lemons said, so Martin instead worked from a photograph of Stretansky that brought "the energy, love and passion [Stretansky had] for the SU choral program to life."

The portrait is now hung in the lobby of Stretansky Con-cert Hall.

Before leaving the stage, Lemons also thanked Caldwell for his efforts toward the evening's concert and the university's choral program overall. Lemons mentioned the strong foundation Stretansky formed for the music department and encouraged Cald-well to continue to build the department "on the shoulders of a giant."

The concert began with the chamber singers in two arcs on the stage, with the women in front and the men behind for an a cappella piece by Hugo Distler called "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty."

After rearranging so that the women were on one side of the stage and the men on the other, the group sang another a cappella piece, slower and quieter than the first, called "The Lamb" by John Tavener.

The men then took the back arc and the women the front for a piece called "The Road Not Taken," which is the first of a seven-movement suite by Randall Thompson, based on the poetry of Robert Frost. Adjunct Faculty of Music Diane Scott accompanied on the piano for this and the next two songs.

The women and men again split down the middle for "Die Nachtigall: Op. 59, no. 4" by Felix Mendelssohn, throughout which rounds and parts of the following lyrics were sung: "The nightingale was far away, but springtime is drawing her back again. Hasn't she learned anything new? She still sings the old cherished songs."

Scott moved to the positive organ and junior Zachary Alley joined on the cello for the final piece performed by the chamber singers, "Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden: BWV 230" by J.S. Bach.

The choir then took the stage for the a cappella piece "At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners" by William-etta Spencer.

Scott rejoined the choir to accompany "Sure On This Shining Night" by Morten Lauridsen.

Lemons then made his remarks for the evening before the choir sang its final piece, "He Never Failed Me Yet" by Robert Ray, featuring soloist junior Kelsey Zimmerman.

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